The board of directors of the Decatur Hospital Authority is expected to extend obstetric privileges at Wise Regional Health System to three Family Practice physicians when they meet on Monday.
The move should resolve a long-standing controversy in the county’s medical community, extending back to 2009 when Wise Regional adopted a policy that only OB/Gyn specialists could deliver babies at the Decatur hospital.
That policy followed the opening of North Texas Community Hospital in Bridgeport, where most of the deliveries were done by Family Practice doctors.
NTCH declared bankruptcy last fall and was purchased by Wise Regional, which took over its operation in late March.
As the change in ownership approached, those physicians applied for OB privileges at Wise Regional, but the hospital’s credentialing committee, made up of physicians, at that time declined to change its policy.
At its June meeting, Wise Regional’s board set up an OB Advisory Committee and charged it with specifically addressing the issue. The committee was asked to advise the Medical Executive committee, with the expectation that the MEC would consider its work and make further recommendations to the board with respect to obstetrical privileging within the next 60 days.
It didn’t take that long.
“The committee did their work, and it went to the Medical Ethics Committee and then to the credentialing committee,” Wise Regional CEO Steve Summers said Friday. “It’s my understanding that they will recommend that Family Practice physicians can have obstetric privileges, and setting out the criteria for that.”
Summers said Dr. Jeff Alling, Dr. Shawn White and Dr. Brad Faglie met those criteria and will likely be recommended for OB privileges at Monday’s meeting.
“Of course the board has the final word, but I’m confident it will get passed,” he said.
Since the change in hospital ownership, those doctors have been delivering their patients elsewhere, or their patients have transferred to OB/Gyn specialists on staff here. Now they will be able to care for their patients all the way through maternity, labor and delivery at either Wise Regional in Decatur or Wise Regional’s Bridgeport campus.
Among the other issues on the board’s agenda for Monday are:
- considering development of a financial/operational proposal for Bowie Memorial Hospital;
- approving bylaws, a bank depository contract and annual report for the Wise Regional Health System Auxiliary;
- approving WRHS personnel policies;
- various other equipment purchases and appointments.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the boardroom at Wise Regional in Decatur. It is open to the public.