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Controversial hospital plan prompts county leaders to ask NCH to reconsider policy change

Controversial hospital plan prompts county leaders to ask NCH to reconsider policy changes
Posted at 7:50 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 19:50:11-05

NAPLES, Fla. — There's growing outcry for a new plan by NCH Hospital in Naples, which physicians say would limit access to their patients after they are admitted. NCH is rolling out a new patient care program which will put staff hospitalists in charge of a patient's care, rather than personal physicians. Now, Collier County leaders are getting involved in the controversy.

Tuesday, several medical professionals appealed to the Collier County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, saying that personal physicians should have full access to their patients who are hospitalized at NCH.

"The Florida Medical Association recommends medical staff privileges not be limited to only those physicians employed by the hospital," said Corey Howard, MD, president of that association.

NCH President and CEO Dr. Allen Weiss told Fox 4 that while hospitalists will be assigned as primary care providers during a patient's hospital stay, personal physicians are not being left out in the cold.

"I think there is some misunderstanding," Weiss said. "Personal physicians have complete access to the patient, the patient's medical records, and can collaborate and partner with the in-patient hospitalist. It's not an either/or thing."

He said that the new care model is supported by a third-party survey of patients who approved of the changes. He added that NCH wants to be fully transparent about the policy change, and hopes to address the Collier County Board of Commissioners at their next meeting.

"Whatever the results were of the patient surveys, that should be presented publicly," said Commissoiner Andy Solis, before voting with the other four commissioners to write a letter to NCH that would ask them hold off on the admissions policy changes.

Would NCH would consider dialing back on the changes, or eliminate them altogether?

"It's too soon to say," Weiss said.

Last week, the Naples city council also voted to send NCH a letter in opposition of the policy changes.