Finger Lakes Medical Associates LLP OB-GYN physicians have pulled out of Finger Lakes Health System’s Geneva General Hospital and moved their practice to Newark-Wayne Community Hospital. The move leaves the Geneva hospital bereft of OB-GYN providers.
The move was announced last week by officials of Rochester General Health System, the parent of Newark-Wayne Community Hospital. The statement heralding the move came on the same day Finger Lakes Health Systems released a bulletin warning of an impending crisis over what the Ontario County health system said it understood to be an unofficial notice of the likely pullout of the private practice group’s OB-GYN doctors.
A Finger Lakes Health System spokeswoman on Monday did not immediately return a reporter’s call.
“We want the obstetricians from Finger Lakes Medical Associates to deliver babies at Geneva General Hospital instead of leaving town, and we are very disappointed that our offer of significant financial assistance and help recruiting more doctors has not yet been accepted,” Finger Lakes Health System chairman Dominic Fonte stated in the March 28 bulletin.
The FLMA doctors’ decision to quit Geneva General was made reluctantly after one of four OB-GYN physicians made plans to stop doing deliveries and another decided to leave the group to join an RGHS OB-GYN practice, said FLMA spokeswoman Stephanie Ahmed M.D.
“It was strictly a question of patient safety,” Ahmed said.
While Geneva General’s facilities are adequate, the reductions in FLMA’s OB-GYN staff would leave too few physicians to adequately cover the 500 to 600 deliveries a year the practice group expects to do, she said. And while Ahmed does not doubt the sincerity of Finger Lakes Health System’s intentions in offering to recruit replacement OB-GYN doctors, she doubts it could have made good on the promise.
The extra money FLHS offered would not have made up for the staffing shortfall, she added.
“We have been trying to recruit new doctors ourselves for the past four months and we started talking to (Geneva General) about this in January,” Ahmed said. “It’s just about impossible to find people willing to be on call at a community hospital.”
Newark-Wayne, which shares staff with Rochester General Hospital, would be able to meet the demand and offers an additional plus of having equipment to do robotic obstetric procedures, factors the doctors took into account in deciding to open talks with RGHS, Ahmed added.
Still, Ahmed said, she is not without regrets.
“I live in Geneva,” she said. “I would have liked to continue at Geneva General. It just didn’t seem possible.”
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