It was announced on Monday that Summa Health System will be eliminating 300 positions due to a $60 million operating loss in 2017. The largest employer in Summit County, Summa Health has 8,000 workers across the area.

Interim President and CEO of Summa Health System, Dr. Cliff Deveny, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to address these job losses. Dr. Deveny cites dramatic drops in outpatient volume are due to trust issues, as well as competition from other area health providers, as reasons for the cuts. Most of the positions being cut are at the administrative level, so it will not affect patient care.

Dr. Deveny is confident Summa Health can weather the storm, but in order to do so, the company must continue to grow by being "freestanding and independent.”

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

In a memo sent to Summa Health employees Monday morning, interim President and CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny announced that the health system would be eliminating 300 positions and consolidating or otherwise eliminating some services going forward. 

The Akron Beacon Journal reported earlier Monday that Dr. Deveny cited a $60 Million operating loss for 2017 as the reason for the layoffs and cuts in services. In that memo, Dr. Deveny says Summa will continue to reevaluate the company's ongoing capital needs, and that all new projects must be evaluated against their critical strategic goals. That said, Dr. Deveny acknowledged that the $350 Million West Tower project at the Summa main campus in Akron will continue as planned. During a ceremony in May, the company broke ground just last month on the new West Tower. Construction is scheduled to be finished by Spring of 2019.

Summa Health currently employs 8,000 people throughout the area, making it Akron's largest employer. Of the 300 jobs that will be eliminated, Dr. Deveny mentioned in his memo that about half of them are currently filled within the system.  

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan responded to the news, saying, "A successful, independently-owned Summa Health is key to the ongoing economic and physical wellbeing of our city and the region. Just as our community depends on the care and services Summa provides for its health and welfare; Summa cannot succeed without the support and trust of the community. I have pledged to continue to work with Dr. Deveny and the Summa leadership team to do everything necessary to ensure the organization remains a strong and independent pillar for years to come."

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro also released a statement on the Summa layoffs, saying, "Summa has been an anchor in our community for 125 years, and during that time Summa has provided care at the highest level to hundreds of thousands of Summit County and Northeast Ohio residents. However, the current climate in the health care industry is leading many organizations to re-evaluate their financial and operational models and make difficult decisions to maintain quality care." 

Published in Local
Friday, 05 May 2017 06:16

Another Summa Shakeup

A major leadership shakeup over at Summa Health going on now...with two top positions eliminated, and people filling those posts losing their jobs.

The Beacon Journal reports that the hospital, which has been through months of controversy following the abrupt replacement of their Emergency Room physicians group, and subsequent loss of acreditation for the ER Resident training program---is attempting to "remove layers of management, increase efficiency, and maintain high standards for quality, safety and operations."

That, according to a memo sent out to staff yesterday morning by Summa's Interim CEO, Dr. Cliff Deveny. He tells the newspaper it's "totally inaccurate" to link the controvery surrounding the emergency room earlier this year to the changes that eliminate the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Medical Officer positions.

COO Valerie Gibson was close to former CEO Dr. Thomas Malone, while CMO Dr. Vivian von Guenigen was heavily criticized for a potential conflict of interest because her husand headed U.S. Acute Care Solutions, the company Summa replaced it's existing core of emergency room staff with in January. Neither are expected to remain in other capacities with the hospital system.

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Summa Health System has lost its appeal of the decision to remove the accreditation of the emergency room physician training program at Akron City Hospital. 

The Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education removed the accreditation from Akron City's Emergency Medicine Residency Program back in February; a result of the health system's abrupt decision to swap ER doctor providers over the New Year. The decision had a ripple effect throughout the health system including a vote of "no confidence" in Summa leadership and then President and CEO Dr. Thomas Malone stepping down. The emergency room physician training program will no longer operate at Akron City effective July, 2017. 

The Summa Health System board of directors has since named Dr. Cliff Deveny interim President and CEO while they look for a permanent replacement (Dr. Deveny is reportedly near the top of that short list). 

Last week, Dr. Deveny sent a memo to employees that an accrediting firm doing an audit of Summa found "no cause for concern" regarding the quality of patient care in Summa emergency rooms. 

 

Published in Local
Friday, 24 February 2017 11:33

Summa Names Interim CEO

Amid fallout from Summa's decision to change ER doctor providers at the New Year, and following the resignation of Dr. Thomas Malone, the health system announced Friday that Dr. Cliff Deveny will take over as interim President and CEO, effective March 13, 2017. 

Dr. Deveny is a former senior leader at Summa, and according to a press release is "absolutely expected" to be among those considered to hold the position permanently. 

Most recently, Dr. Deveny comes to Summa from Locus Health in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he served as president. His focus was on software as a means to support population health efforts, according to a report from Crains

Summa Health has been the target of severe backlash and concern for patient care and effectiveness. Efforts are being made locally on behalf of the Summa Health Board of Directors and politicians, including Akron City Councilwoman Tara Mosely-Samples, among others. 

The Summa board says Dr. Deveny will hold the position while they take the next "three to six months" to find a permanent replacement. 

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and City Council President Marilyn Keith released a statement, saying, in part, "As community partners, we must commit to offering Dr. Deveny the support, confidence, and assistance he will need to lead this great institution through this transition and into its next chapter. It is our responsibility to be part of the solution. We have full confidence that if we roll up our sleeves and get to work, we can heal relationships, both internal to Summa and within the larger community. We look forward to working with Dr. Deveny to create new jobs, invest in our City, and improve the overall health and wellbeing of our residents.”

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro also reacting, calling the move "exciting and positive news for our county's largest employer." 

Published in Local
Friday, 27 January 2017 08:16

Summa CEO Resigns, ER Doc Reacts

Less than 30 days after opening a hornet's nest by firing Emergency Room doctors, the head of Summa Health System is leaving. Dr. Thomas Malone submitted his resignation to the board, saying he didn't want to be a "distraction" in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Summa's doctors and widespread criticism of the hospitals actions. Dr. Jeff Wright, who's with the emergency room doctor group whose contract was abruptly terminated over the holidays talked to us on the Ray Horner Show this morning.

Published in News
Monday, 16 January 2017 12:44

Summa Adds "Executive Coach"

A press release Sunday from Summa Health officials states that from now on, no doctor contracts will be terminated without full approval of the entire Summa Health System Board.

The announce comes as the hospital system continues to deal with the abrupt firing of the doctor group that manned the hospitals emergency rooms, prompting a group of roughly 100 doctors voting "no confidence" in Summa management and calling for Dr. Thomas Malone, Summa CEO, to resign. 

The Summa Board, which says they're "troubled" by recent events, is also hiring an "executive coach" to help create a new corporate culture, which, as stated in the release, "values employee and physician engagement."

Additionally, Summa Health is creating a new medical staff panel composed of doctors, to advise them on medical staff issues.

Read the full press release from Summa Health Systems below: 

Summa Health is grounded in the concept of servant leadership, of serving the patient or serving those
who do. The Board of Directors believes that this idea is the backbone of our mission, vision and values,
guiding our organization toward long-term success.


After facing difficult headwinds recently, we think it’s important to remember that our entire Summa
Health team has served one another and accomplished a great deal over the last few years. Together we
have launched a $350 million facilities plan that will form the cornerstone of our vision to drastically
improve the overall health of our community and give us a platform to continue to be a leader on
population health. Our finances are sound, our accountable care organization is a state leader, and the
performance of SummaCare is on the rise.


As pleased as we are by these accomplishments, recent events and the divisions that they have revealed
are very troubling to us. To address the concerns of our physicians and staff, and to build a culture that
aligns our values with our vision, we are: ? Hiring an executive coach who will report directly to the Board and provide guidance on the
establishment of a new culture, one that values employee and physician engagement. The work
of this coach will extend to all members of the Summa Health executive leadership team. ? Creating a medical staff panel of 3-7 physicians (both independent and employed) that will
report directly to the Board and advise on medical staff issues. The Board will work with medical
leadership to gather nominations for physicians to serve on this panel. ? Committing to filling the two physician vacancies on our Board by February 28, 2017. ? Revising our contract renewal process in accordance with best in class standards in order to
avoid a repeat of the recent emergency department transition. ? Providing direct Board oversight for all physician contracts for the remainder of 2017. No
physician contract will be terminated without the full approval of the Board.


All of these steps are intended to provide the foundation for the Summa Health leadership team to build
a culture of engagement and open communication. Our Board will be monitoring this situation closely.
As caretakers of Summa Health, it is our responsibility to provide the tools for management to develop a
way forward that ensures we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. It is also our responsibility to
ensure that our community is served by a high-quality healthcare organization that not only improves
the health and wellness of our region, but also remains a pillar of strength that helps drive Akron
forward. We take each of these responsibilities seriously and are committed to ensuring the execution
of our vision for Summa Health. We remain fortunate to be joined on our journey by the tireless and dedicated Summa Health team, the
physicians, employees, volunteers, donors and leaders who work daily to deliver quality, compassionate
care and strengthen our organization so, that as a vital community partner, we can continue to thrive.

Sincerely,


Summa Health Board of Directors 

Published in Local
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 09:43

Summa CEO Faces Tough Questions

As soon as the calendar turned to 2017, controversy has surrounded the offices of Akron’s Summa Health System. From firings to walkouts to calls for resignation, plenty of questions are on the table.

Dr. Thomas Malone, President and CEO of Summa, faced those tough questions Wednesday on the Ray Horner Morning Show. Dr. Malone addressed the calls for his dismissal, which came a day after he sent an apology memo to his staff.

As for the contract dispute, Dr. Malone initially believed the matter would be resolved and contracts would have been extended, but he believes he needed to protect the hospital.

In other controversial news, though not as grandiose, Malone reacted to a 2015 photo of him smoking a cigar, which has gone viral. Summa instituted a nicotine-free policy for new hires some years back.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 12:22

Summa Swaps ER Doctors At Five Locations

In an abrupt move, Summa Health Systems replaced 65 Emergency Department doctors under Summa Emergency Associates with doctors from US Acute Care Solutions at five different hospitals in Akron, Green, Wadsworth, Medina, and Barberton on New Years Day. The move comes after contract talks between Summa and the doctors union broke down. 

Now, there are concerns that the move is going to affect patient care, ER wait times, EMS response times, and more. 

Summa Health has issued a statement in response to questions about the move: "The situation with our Emergency Department physicians was a contractual dispute. We've moved to a new provider for emergency services. The transition has been seamless with no impact on patient care." 

Still, concerns from local officials and the public are being voiced. 

One report indicates that the contract talks halted when ED doctors were not given contract lengths and job security they felt they deserved. 

 

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It is day four of the Rubber City Radio Group’s platform on the heroin epidemic in the area. The spotlight today is on the treatment of opiate addiction and the various in the area who are there to assist. Summa Health System’s Dr. Alan Shein, MD of Addiction Medicine Services, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss the treatment program an addict will undergo. First off, Dr. Shein touched on how and why a person would make the jump from prescription drugs that include opiates to heroin, which would not only quell the pain, but to illicit a euphoria. The program at Summa is designed to help the victims get off heroin dependency and assist with the withdrawal symptoms. Though the detoxification process is an uncomfortable one, the medical staff will prescribe medication to the patients, which will help flush the opiates out of the body. The timeline is about four to five days, then the patient will transition to the next level of care.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 05:00

Day Three: Overdose Help Inside Hospitals

You don't have to look far to see the impact the heroin epidemic has had on local hospitals.

Dr. Scott Wilber, chair of emergency medicine at Summa Health System, says they had to move some of the hospital's supply of naloxone to the entrance area -- because time is everything and they may need to administer the drug in a car to save a person's life.

But there are still questions as to what happens after the patient is revived from the anti-heroin drug.

Dr. Wilber said the hospital system works with the ADM Board to provide counselors to discuss treatment options that are available in the community, but Wilber does note that the waiting lists are still there.

"We do find that some patients want immediate treatment for their addiction. However, because of the limited resources we have and the long waits, that's generally not feasible ," said Wilber. "We generally have to put people on waiting lists in order to get them addiction treatment."

While the hospital works with the ADM Board to offer treatment options to overdose victims, some refuse the help.

Wilber said the amount of heroin overdose victims the hospital has treated has increased significantly over the past month.

"We also saw that beginning in July, the potency of the heroin that was being used in Akron increased significantly and we've seen that continue. We have seen some slight decrease since then, but really it is significantly higher than it was earlier this year."

 

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With the shoulder injuries sustained by Cleveland Indians Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley, a lot of people are concerned and have questions about shoulder injuries as it relates to baseball.

Dr. Nilesh Shah from Summa Health System joined Brad Russell on Wednesday to talk about the injuries to both players and how they can best work through them, and get back out on the diamond.

With Brantley, he had surgery on his labrum in the offseason, and now his bicep tendon is giving him problems. Shah said in addition to rest,  Brantley's got to attack rehabiliation like a fastball over the plate.

"A lot of it is really agressive rehab to help stabilize the shoulder joint, which he has been doing," Shah said. 

 

With catcher Yan Gomes, who is out 4-6 weeks with a separated shoulder,  Shah says there's many different grades of separations, and it could be a differing timetable on his return.

"It's just a matter of getting his strength back, getting his range of motion back," he said.

Published in Brad Russell
A big announcement was made in the local healthcare marketplace. Over the next decade, Summa Health will be investing $350 million into the community and its facilities.

Dr. Thomas Malone, president and CEO of Summa Health, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about the announcement, which came down on Tuesday. Some of what Summa will be working on is constructing a new patient tower at the main campus, increasing their outpatient capacity, adding private rooms for patients, and improving the services at the Barberton campus.

In addition to the physical changes, Dr. Malone believes this will be great for both the employees and the region. “We’re not only here to stay, but we need to lead the change in healthcare in this community."

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 17:32

Hospital Guard Recovering, Investigation Starts

The St. Thomas Hospital security guard stabbed by a patient at the hospital on Tuesday night is recovering.

Summa Health officials say Art Belcher Jr. is in stable condition, and is expected to make a full recovery.

They say the stabbing was "unprovoked".

Akron police say that 33 year-old Andrew Wallace was arrested and charged with felonious assault. He was taken to the Summit County Jail.

Summa Health says it's conducting a "thorough review" of the incident.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it has also opened an investigation, due to it being an incident of workplace violence.

An OSHA spokesman says they'll try to determine if proper OSHA procedures were in place at St. Thomas when the stabbing happened.

Scott Allen tells WAKR.net that OSHA thinks the incident "could have been prevented had the employer used all precautions they could to protect their workers."

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