Shame on Reporter for reckless journalism | Letter
October 18, 2012 · 2:40 PM
Shame on you ... for reckless, irresponsible and inaccurate journalism. Is this how you support small businesses in your community?
I was appalled when I read the article about the opening of the midwife center at EvergreenHealth. The feature should have celebrated that opening. It should have showcased the incredible, personalized, state-of-the art obstetrical and gynecological care provided at EvergreenHealth by the midwives, the five private OB-Gyn practices and the amazing high risk OB maternal fetal medicine office.
Instead, this article chose to print completely wrong, libelous misinformation about the Center for Women’s Health at Evergreen. You have offended me and my fellow providers and our staff, our patients, our colleagues, our hospital and the midwives.
We have not “closed.” We have not “flopped” after the midwives left. We are not “hospital owned.” We are a thriving private practice of six physicians and three mid-level providers.
We were the first practice to hire a midwife in 1997 and, as a private practice, we supported them and backed them up for 15 years until we came to the hard fact that their production revenue (which is based upon a fair amount on uncompensated care such as bedside labor support) could no longer support their salary expectations (compared to hospital-based midwife salaries). We were actually financially subsidizing their practice for a number of years.
If you keep up with health care news, you would know that reimbursements, particularly for midlevel providers (such as Certified Nurse Midwives) are decreasing. All medical practices in these current economic times are trying to become as efficient as possible with the health care dollar. Almost two years ago we began hours of discussions and efforts to find a way to transfer the midwife practice to the hospital where we felt patients could receive excellent care and the midwives could earn the salaries we felt they deserved. During this transition time, three of our five midwives found other jobs and two stayed with us. Rather than put our remaining two certified nurse midwives on call every other night - we physicians covered the majority of their nighttime and weekend calls.
(They are both mothers of young children.) Our efforts allowed continuity of care for many patients. We received nothing but appreciation and thanks from those patients. The midwives still managed to deliver 70 percent of their own patients. We hoped those two midwives would stay with us when the midwife center opened, but they chose to be part of the new center and we understood that.
We are proud of our support of midwives and our contribution to their clinical experience. We are also very grateful for the positive influence they had on our practice and the midwife perspective they taught us. It was a beneficial relationship for all.
The very unfortunate embezzlement by our office manager in January 2011 had nothing to do with the midwives and their move to the hospital.
Including that information in the midwife center opening was a cheap, sensationalistic and unnecessary ploy by your reporter to spice up her story. It was a drag through the mud. It was offensive.
We have fully recovered and have been happily moving forward for many, many months.
If this is the way the editorial board and owners inform and support their Kirkland community, they are doing their readership a great disservice. I did a better job when I was the editor of my junior high school newspaper!
I hope if any of our patients are reading this, they will let this newspaper know that they do not support such irresponsible journalism. I think the owners of this paper need to review the credentials of the reporter and editors that allowed such a damaging story to be printed without fact checking.
Karen V. Wells, M.D., OB/Gyn physician at Center for Women’s Health at Evergreen