The American Medical Association Litigation Center is joining TMA to support a group of South Texas physicians in their ongoing legal battle with Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco. TMA and AMA are preparing to file an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief urging an appeals court to uphold a lower court ruling in the physicians' favor.
Thanks in part to TMA's legal arguments, State District Judge Israel Ramon Jr., ordered Knapp to release balance sheets; cash flow statements; management letters from the external auditor; compensation documentation for all employees; documentation of deferred executive compensation; Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Forms 990 for the years 2008-10; and other financial records.
Twenty-six physicians, who created the Trust of Weslaco, are concerned about financial decisions at the medical center and have reported quality-of-care concerns such as inadequate coverage by specialists, an insufficient number of nurses and support staff, and a high turnover of nurses and support staff. TMA's involvement in the case involves the physicians' efforts to obtain financial records from the hospital.
Once again taking a stand for patient safety and financial transparency, TMA attorneys argued in their brief to Judge Ramon that "transparency promotes quality patient care and accountability. Every employee of and patient treated at a hospital is affected by the financial decisions made by those in charge. Financial mismanagement by hospital leadership [is] paid for by patients and employees. Patient safety is compromised when hospitals do not use their financial resources to further quality of care."
See the March issue of Texas Medicine for more information on the case.
Action, March 1, 2012