March 28, 1995 in Idaho

Show On Inept Doctors Has Kmc Phone Ringing Hospital Has No Contract With Firms Targeted By TV Program ‘Donahue’

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A TV talk show about incompetent doctors kept Roger Evans’ phone ringing last Friday.

Evans directs emergency services for Kootenai Medical Center. He reassured callers that no, KMC does not contract with any of the three national companies targeted by “Donahue” for allegedly providing inept physicians to hospital emergency rooms.

“I think it was healthy,” Evans said Monday of the calls. “Hats off to people who challenge the system enough to find out what kind of services are available.”

Pat Montemayor of Post Falls, who was among the callers, said she had a lot of reason for concern. She wasn’t pleased with the care her son got following a motorcycle accident, for one thing.

Plus, she said, “there’s so much in the news now about people dying simply because of the inadequate care they got in the hospital. I think that’s what’s got a lot of people concerned.”

Kootenai Medical Center contracts with a local medical group, Western Medical Associates, for its six emergency room doctors.

The group contracts only with KMC. It screens its member doctors, said Donna Otto, who works for Western Medical Associates.

All six of the doctors are board-certified in emergency care, Otto said. Certification requires continuous training within the specialty. The American College of Emergency Physicians wants all emergency room doctors to be board-certified, Evans said.

KMC also checks the references of the emergency room doctors, said Evans. He is a registered nurse who works primarily with the nurses in the emergency room; 60 percent of them also are board-certified, he said.

Certification is a great goal, Evans said, but not essential for good emergency room professionals.

“The reality is how they do ‘in the pit,”’ he said. “A boardcertified individual also has to be a compassionate, generous person whose knowledge base is very encompassing.”

The companies mentioned on “Donahue” were Spectrum, NES and Coastal. No hospital in North Idaho or Eastern Washington gets doctors through any national firm, Evans said.

“You don’t often see that in the Northwest,” he said.

Deaconess Medical Center spokeswoman Pam Pyrc confirmed that. The hospital, one of several in Spokane, did not get any calls following the show, she said.

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