Riverside Health System bought a full-page ad in Sunday's newspaper and several advertising positions at dailypress.com to try to allay community concerns that erupted over its switching anesthesia contracts.
Riverside Regional Medical Center ended a long-standing relationship with Virginia Anesthesia and Perioperative Care Specialists when the contract expired April 7. On Friday, Riverside broke ties with the company it chose as a replacement, Soma Health Partners, and Riverside Medical Group assumed management of anesthesia services.
Riverside had been led to believe that Soma was affiliated with an established anesthesia management company, Compass Healthcare Partners.
The ad comes in the form of a letter addressed to "our community and patients" and signed by hospital administrator Patrick Parcells, M.D.; James R. Dudley, M.D., chairman of the Riverside Medical Group board; and Jerold W. Allen, chairman of the hospital board.
The changeover left a gap on Riverside's ability to perform emergency open-heart surgery but "full capabilities" have been restored, the ad says.
"Our medical staff's stringent standards for credentialing and privileging physicians have not been modified or compromised at all during this transitional situation," the ad reads.
The change in anesthesia management did not stem from complaints about Virginia Anesthesia services. Instead, it was the result of "management shortcomings so severe that they undermined the services we delivered," the ad says.
Virginia Anesthesia president Paul Rein disagreed.
"It's being reviewed by our attorney because there are many things in there that couldn't be further from the truth," he said.
"Not once has Riverside ever communicated in writing that we are not delivering a service they would like."
Rein said the company's contract with Riverside included a provision that requires Riverside to notify Virginia Anesthesia in writing if the hospital believes the company was violating the contract and offer a "cure period."
Riverside has never done that, Rein said.
"This certainly flies in the face of overwhelming support" from surgeons and staff at Riverside, Rein said.
Riverside's ad says hospital management does not regret its decision to part ways with Virginia Anesthesia.
"We do, however, regret any concern or anxiety that has been created by this situation. Please know that everything we do at Riverside is with quality patient care as our primary goal."
Watch for continuing coverage of the dispute between Riverside Medical Center and Virginia Anesthesia in the Daily Press and at dailypress.com.Copyright © 2015, CT Now