Retired Washington surgeons urge hospital to sever ties with health system due to concerns about access to care

Practice Management

A retired orthopedic surgeon and a retired cardiologist are calling for Virginia Mason Memorial in Yakima, Wash., to split from Virginia Mason Health System due to concerns over access to care, the Yakima Herald reports.

In July, the Seattle-based health system announced plans to merge with Tacoma, Wash.-based CHI Franciscan.

Jim Haven, MD, a retired surgeon, and Richard Twiss, MD, a former cardiology specialist, object to the deal, arguing that it will decrease access to specialty services and lead to fewer specialized physicians and lower-quality care.

Virginia Mason Memorial affiliated with Virginia Mason Health System in 2016. It is now the only hospital in Yakima after Astria Regional Medical Center closed in January, as part of bankruptcy proceedings. 

Members of the retired medical community in Yakima met Oct. 22 to discuss terminating the proposed merger.

The health system said it plans to "maintain and expand access points for patients" in the community, according to the Yakima Herald.

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