St. Joseph has put its problems in the past

February 12, 2011

Much attention has been dedicated to the issues that confronted St. Joseph Medical Center because of the federal investigation into the use of stents by a cardiologist there and related patient care issues. The process of dealing with the patient care issues will take time. However, in the interim it is in the best interest of our community that St. Joseph's re-establishes its position as an asset to the health care system in the Baltimore area.

Over the past six months, I have visited St. Joseph Medical Center twice and have had the opportunity to discuss the circumstances surrounding prior events and the changes made with the new leadership team. I would like to share with you what I have found:

St. Joseph's new CEO, Jeffery Norman, is committed to fairly compensating aggrieved patients and implementing systemic change to ensure that events of the past are not repeated. He has moved forward with extensive oversight of all cardiac cases. In addition, St. Joseph's has enhanced the physician peer review process, revised the physician contract review and approval process, and strengthened its quality management program. St. Joseph Medical Center has also created a state of the art chemotherapy facility and has improved the efficiency of its emergency room by posting wait times online, thus drastically reducing wait times to be seen by a physician.

Those of us who live in Towson are lucky. St. Joseph's and GBMC serve a broad constituency with each facility focusing on specialties that complement each other and the medical needs of the people in Towson and Baltimore County.

Our residents need both facilities to thrive. For years, St. Joseph's Medical Center has improved the health of our citizens, and we must work with them to move forward so they can continue their mission. Anything short of this would jeopardize the outstanding healthcare system we have all come to expect.

James Brochin, Towson

The writer, a Democrat, is a state senator from Baltimore County.

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