Medical Society again calls for Wernick resignation -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Medical Society again calls for Wernick resignation

Phoebe Putney CEO Joel Wernick Phoebe Putney CEO Joel Wernick

September 30, 2004

Albany -- For the second time, Albany doctors call for Phoebe Putney CEO Joel Wernick to resign. The Dougherty County Medical Society voted overwhelmingly to back last month's resolution asking Wernick to leave his job.

The Doctors say Phoebe should not have sued a man who helped gather information on the hospital for a class action lawsuit.

At this week's Dougherty Medical Society meeting, Doctors voted more than two to one to re-affirm their call for Phoebe Putney C.E.O. Joel Wernick's resignation. Last month Phoebe Chief of Surgery, Dr. John Bagnato, proposed the resolution. It passed, but few Doctors were at the August meeting. Over 100 Doctors were at this week's.

Medical Society President Dr. Daniel Rhoads said "The vote is merely to send a message. The message is that Doctors of the community are concerned that things are not being run properly."

In August Phoebe filed suit against Charles Rehberg, who works for Dr. Bagnato's Albany Surgical P-C practice. Rehberg sent out whistle blowing faxes on Phoebe's finances, and off shore accounts. Dr. Bagnato says this week's 55 to 22 vote again calling for Wernick to step down sends a message to Phoebe's board. Dr. Bagnato said "It wasn't bringing physicians together. And when Physicians become divided, health care becomes fragmented and the lack of cohesion is ultimately harmful."

Phoebe's administrator since 1988, Wernick faxed a response to the Doctors vote. Wernick says Phoebe "respects the Society....and that they will continually strive to achieve complete satisfaction from every physician..."

But neither Doctor thinks Wernick will satisfy them by resigning. Dr. Rhoads said "I doubt it." Dr. Bagnato said "I hope Mr. Wernick will do what's in the best interest of the community and medical staff."

Rehberg helped gather information for Mississippi lawyers who have included Phoebe Putney in a class action lawsuit against not-for-profit hospitals, claiming they overcharge uninsured patients.

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