San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital Transfer Information
February 16, 2017
Below are letters published in the
Record Gazette on 2/17/17.
Our Patients Are Always Our Top Priority
Letter to Our Patients & The Banning/Beaumont Community:
Representatives of San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital (“SGMH”) have recently
questioned Beaver Medical Group’s (“Beaver”) implementation of a
pre-authorization process with respect to visits to SGMH’s emergency room.
While this process may result in the transfer of some emergency room patients,
this is standard practice for managed care patients and is designed to ensure
quality, access and value by connecting Beaver patients with their contracted
hospital, where possible, or otherwise ensuring that the treatment is consistent
with what is needed under the circumstances.
Under this process:
- Patients living in the Banning/Beaumont area remain encouraged to
visit the SGMH emergency room if they have an emergency.
- If an Emergency Room physician at SGMH determines a patient needs Intensive
Care Unit (ICU) services, he or she would most likely be considered unstable for
transport and be admitted to SGMH’s ICU.
- A patient may be transferred from the SGMH emergency room only if he or she
is in stable condition and, in that event, may well be transferred to Redlands
Community Hospital (“RCH”) which is the contracted hospital for most of the
affected patients and where Beaver believes that inpatient care can be more
effectively handled. Notably, RCH is the only community hospital in our area
with a 4 star rating from Medicare (CMS) and an A grade in patient
- Patients will not be charged any fees or co-pays for medical transport from
SGMH to RCH or other facilities.
Under this process, close to half of Beaver patients visiting the SGMH
emergency room are still admitted to SGMH. Indeed, Beaver physicians have a
history of transferring patients from San Gorgonio to other hospital facilities
given the current level of available services and patient care at SGMH.
At Beaver Medical Group, our mission is to deliver the highest
quality patient care, value and service. All of our physicians strive to be
proactive in determining the best options for our patients. This
pre-authorization process, in use throughout the Inland Empire, is consistent
with our mission.
We understand that healthcare is very personal. If you have questions or need
additional information about this process and its potential impact on your care,
we will gladly address them. Feel free to call (951) 845-0313 and ask for a
Banning area Site Manager or Administrator.
Richard Hill, MD
Below is the op-ed letter that was
also published in the Record Gazette on 2/17/17
For the past 23 years, Beaver Medical Group (“Beaver”) doctors have served
the communities of Banning and Beaumont and, during that time, brought
specialists and enhanced services to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital (SGMH). Our
goal has always been to provide the best medical care, service and value to our
patients, and, it is with that goal in mind, that Beaver implemented a process
that gives its doctors greater decision making over treatment of patients who
visit SGMH’s emergency room. Rather than admitting every patient who visits the
SGMH emergency room, Beaver’s new process allows patients, when able, to receive
their long-term care at better rated facilities that work in closer
collaboration with Beaver doctors, provide more doctors, more support and higher
levels of patient care.
This decision has only become a source of controversy because SGMH has tried
to scare Beaver patients by suggesting something wrong or improper is happening.
It is not. Beaver’s process improves patient care, is lawful and consistent with
industry practice and no Beaver patient has experienced complications as a
result. SGMH’s objections derive from concerns about its own financial interest
in potentially losing patients to another hospital. That cannot be and is not
Beaver’s prime consideration.
Indeed, while we have valued our relationship with SGMH, the relationship
with hospital leadership has often been strained and lacks the kind of important
collaboration necessary to affect high quality patient care. The recent
controversy is a prime example. Contrary to SGMH’s suggestions, Beaver notified
SGMH of its process change in advance and worked with SGMH leadership to develop
and implement a smooth transition. SGMH, however, has engaged in improper
tactics designed to frustrate Beaver’s ability to implement its process. In
addition to trying to scare our patients with its negative publicity campaign,
doctors report that SGMH staff refuse to provide basic administrative resources
to fulfill orders that our doctors issue, have eliminated access to
administrative resources typically available in affecting a transfer and have
even gone as far as intimidating doctors and threatening peer review if they
authorize the transfer of Beaver patients. SGMH’s actions are the only actions
that threaten patient care and need to be stopped immediately.
This entire debacle played out at SGMH’s District Board meeting on Feb. 7,
2017. More than 20 Beaver physicians and other supporters attended the public
meeting to highlight Beaver’s serious concerns about the treatment of its
physicians and the effects on patient care. My colleague, a local Beaver
doctor, described how actions of hospital administrators were interfering with
his ability to treat his patients and implored the Board to do something about
it. Beaver’s leadership also strongly recommended that the Hospital District
Board look closer into what is happening and reiterated its strong desire to
resolve these issues in an amicable and collaborative fashion.
We hope and desire that SGMH will continue to be an important part of
Beaver’s network throughout the Inland Empire. However, Beaver’s focus remains
on our patients. As such, we will continue to explore ways to improve the value,
care and level of service for our patients. That mission is why we implemented a
pre-authorization process, and it’s why we will never cease advocating for our
doctors – who work on the front lines, helping patients and their families each
and every day.
Dr. Richard Hill is president of Beaver Medical