The recent articles regarding medical staff votes of no confidence in Central Maine Health Care’s president, Jeff Brickman, make for interesting reading. By one informed estimate, more than 25 percent of the medical staff in the system has resigned or been otherwise terminated since Brickman’s tenure began, more than one year ago. A sensible patient must immediately wonder what effect that might have on the continuity and quality of one’s medical care at the affected hospitals.

Another important aspect of the story could be easily overlooked: the power of the medical staff in making important decisions at the hospitals has been virtually eliminated. Not so many years ago, the staff, as an independent group of doctors, served as an important check and balance on hospital administration decisions. Now, the vast majority of “providers” are hospital employees. That makes a vote of no confidence a potentially job terminating decision, so I applaud the courage of all who voted in that direction. Unfortunately, since providers have, basically, been relegated to blue collar status, the vote is, as pointed out in the articles, purely symbolic.

It is up to the public to decide if that development makes their health care any better.

I think not.

Gregory D’Augustine, Greene

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