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Clinic to Add New Provider

by Phillip Manning ~ July 12th, 2013

Beginning on July 15th, the Sunshine Community Health Center will have a new provider.  Executive Director for the Health Center, David Bryant, says that Dr. Anne Yoshino will be working as a half-time employee, which Bryant says is comparable to the amount of time that former Medical Director Dr. Mary Loeb spent as a healthcare provider.  The remainder of Dr. Loeb’s time was spent on her directorial role.  Bryant says that the Health Center is still searching for a well-qualified candidate for the Medical Director role.

KTNA also recently spoke with Dr. Mary Loeb.  Dr. Loeb says she is currently evaluating how to transition from her position at the Clinic, and she does not currently envision opening a private practice.  She says the Clinic is in a rebuilding process, and that she had hoped that a new Medical Director would have been chosen to step in immediately after her departure from the position.

Dr. Loeb did not offer specifics regarding why her contract was not renewed by Sunshine Community Health Center, but said she felt she had done the best job she could.  She says that this, “is a community with integrity and passion,” and that she believes the Board of Directors represents those values.  Dr. Loeb expresses her gratitude for the opportunity to serve the community.

5 Responses to Clinic to Add New Provider

  1. Kim

    The below excerpt was taken from a Face Book status post in it’s entirety. It is so well thought out and written that it needs to be made public It’s also a relevant comment to the story.

    Thoughts on Sunshine Clinic and recent events:
    As much as we all burn to know what the issues were behind the actions that left our clinics without Dr. Loeb as physician and medical director, and without the ability to be rehired at SCHC as a coup de grace (death blow) by Mr. Bryant, we will probably never know. It is not legal to talk about personnel issues.
    What we can talk about is:
    1) Poor decision making on the way in which it was handled
    2) Lack of due process for Dr. Loeb
    3) Impact on patients, staff, community, and SCHC clinics
    4) Effectiveness of current leader under these circumstances
    5) Current Board policies and actions that allowed an event such as this to occur in such a way.
    6) What the future of SCHC may look like and what we, as its’ communities need it to look like.

    It appears that Mr. Bryant, supported by the Board, took the opportunity of Dr. Loeb’s upcoming contract renewal and annual review to act on concerns that they apparently had with her as medical director and clinician. Did they consult attorneys prior to this action? Probably. Did they use sound or moral judgement in the decision to act? It does not appear that way to most of us. We might like to think that judgments are well-thought out, but research suggests that our moral judgments are often based on intuition and intuition is often driven by emotions. What emotion(s) played a part in labeling Dr. Loeb ineligible for rehire?

    A medical director is a complex position in which it is usual to see patients as a clinician part time and perform administrative duties part time. The medical director oversees quality of health care, patient safety, chronic disease management, operational improvement, information management, enhance clinical skills & development and staff morale and retention. They also serve as as a critical link between clinical staff and management by advocating for their needs. Your clinical staff are currently working without the above.
    Clinical supervision is a cornerstone to quality improvement of care.

    You can usually tell a lot about an organization by the quality of the rapport & relationships between the supervisors/management and staff. Do staff trust the management? Does the management trust the staff? Does the staff respect the leader enough to support change?
    Sound, effective leadership is critical to a healthy clinical operation. Without it, barriers to achieving sustained, positive results are rarely achieved. Directly effected by all of this is financial performance.
    Would a “vote of no confidence” by all the clinical staff and key financial management impact the leadership position? I would think it would and should. A vote of no confidence is submitted for a position of leadership when it is believed that the person holding that position is not deemed fit to meet the skills required. Therefore, the staff does not support changes made by this person and does not trust the leadership journey they have planned for the organization. Does this effect job performance and fertility of the organization? What do you think? It is my understanding that this has most likely occurred.
    The Board of Directors are required to perform an annual review of the executive director. In this case, around September. What type of performance criteria is used to evaluate? Does it include relationship and communication with the Board? Leadership skills and financial responsibility? How do they evaluate leadership skills? Is it based only on what the executive director brings to their table that shows a list of improvements or changes to benefit the organization? Is it all based on data pulled from financial status, movement on filling key positions and plans for staff retention and community services to meet grant requirements? Are any criteria for performance observed or gathered from staff?
    The Board of Directors serves as the grievance committee for staff when the staff member does not agree with the actions of their leader or supervisor. What if the Board does not allow the grievance to be heard? What reasons are valid to deny a staff member to be heard? Can they do that? If so, what is the recourse for the staff member then? How are staff heard?
    Effective, positive leadership includes: constant communication, financial savvy, a personal commitment, practical experience, an intimate understanding of the situation that the organization is formed to serve. And to have a heart for the population it serves.

    Enough said.

  2. mary gunderson

    I have heard that the new (temporary?) M.D. is well like by the clinic staff and a stellar choice as a temporary hire. If this person is a temporary hire, the PR person at the clinic should clarify this to the public. As the article reads it sounds like she is the new M.D. which would be problematic seeing that there are many unresolved issues pertaining to Dr. Loeb’s hasty dismissal.

  3. The Irishman

    According to his latest statement, Mr Bryant would have us believe that Dr Mary saw patients on a half time basis. While that may have been true on paper, anyone who knew Dr Mary would tell you what an absurd statement that is. If you were an early riser, it was not unusual to see Mary’s car at the Clinic at four or five in the morning catching up on administrative work, enabling her to provide more care during normal Clinic hours. She also worked from her home and wasn’t paid for this additional time either, she did it because she was devoted to the Clinic and the community. Dr Mary has in her ten years of service been a dedicated physician and her dismissal by this man is highly suspect.

    Furthermore, there currently seems to be in Talkeetna, a tendency to blame the Board of Directors during this time of turmoil and this is simply wrong. They are hard working members of our community and in hiring Mr Bryant did the best job possible with the information they had at the time. Let us lay the blame for the Clinic’s current problems where it rightfully belongs, on Mr Bryant himself.

  4. Robert Ambrose

    An Open Letter to the SCHC Board and the community
    from Robert Ambrose
    As half of the team that created, over-much blood, sweat and tears,
    the organization that provides comprehensive health care and scores of
    jobs in this community, I feel compelled to offer some context to the current
    state of The Clinic.
    I have been a severe critic of SCHC board mismanagement for many
    years. Today’s lamentable situation derives from a single board member’s
    personal issue with clinic leadership, eight or nine years ago. The goal of
    board leadership then became: Anything, but not the “old clinic.” Even
    before Dr. Mary Loeb’s release and the orchestrated protest that has
    followed, the clinic’s status in the community was mediocre, at best. Once it
    was a community-leading organization, but now it is generally viewed in the
    community as an expensive, impersonal business. There is no longer a
    mission or vision held in common by the board or staff, so most of the
    people that work there do so because “it’s a job.” That ambivalence
    radiates into the community, which as you can imagine, is heartbreaking for
    While I do not know the details of the personnel issues that led to Dr.
    Loeb’s dismissal, I think it is long overdue. In my opinion Dr. Loeb has left a
    path of immeasurable destruction that may be invisible to people whose
    only experience with her is as a patient. These are among the products of
    Dr. Loeb’s conduct:
    • The loss of five employees who were the heart of “the old clinic:”
    Karen Holt, Lauren Champagne, Shelis Jorgensen, Laura Jacobs
    and, most tellingly, Jess. Ask any of those people (who are living) why
    they left the clinic, and they likely will tell you that Mary made it
    intolerable to work at the place they loved.
    • The inability or neglect to hire a Willow Clinic provider in 2007, given
    a year’s notice by Peggy Cargin that she was going to leave.
    Sunshine providers then had to cover both clinics, adding long
    commutes to Willow during the “summer rush,” when after-hours on-
    call responsibilities are most demanding. Jess extended working at the clinic beyond her June 1 resignation date, to help out, and was
    exhausted by the crazy work and on-call schedule when she drove
    back from Willow that fateful June evening.
    • The granting of an unprecedented and unorthodox 5-year contract to
    a CFO who the entire staff felt was incompatible and a major risk,
    immediately after Mary assured the deeply concerned admin staff
    that she would not renew his contract. It was an in-your-face slap,
    precipitating Karen’s departure and alienating the entire admin staff.
    Disregarding the personal and personnel issues involved, the clinic
    certainly wasted many thousands of dollars in legal fees to sever that
    poisonous contract, dollars that in essence were robbed from caring
    for people.
    I know, from being Jess’ partner, a great deal more about Mary’s behavior
    that is more specific than implied in the facts above, yet I do not share the
    details. Jess came to not be able to trust Mary because she thought she
    was dishonest and two-faced, and worked in a passive-aggressive way to
    undermine the leadership team.
    While I do not presume to evaluate Mr. Bryant’s overall performance, I do
    applaud his perception and courage to act on this issue. Combined with the
    surprisingly clear endorsement from the Board, in my opinion this is the first
    hopeful step for SCHC in eight years. I am not sure Humpty Dumpty can be
    put back together again, but this may be a start.
    Yet this action has caused considerable distress among some in the
    community. I would ask the organizers of the planned “clinic appreciation”
    protest: Where have you been during the past eight years? What have you
    done to help bring back “The Clinic,” the one that inspired a folk song?
    Organizing a protest for an individual, based on limited information, rumor
    and supposition, and calling it “appreciation” is cynical and petty. Do you
    really think that helps The Clinic? Some of the nastiness that has circulated
    has nothing, NOTHING, in common with the clinic we struggled to build; but
    given its source, it’s irruption doesn’t really surprise me.

  5. Graham Ferguson

    I sincerely hope that Mr. Ambrose seeks out professional help. Losing Jess was a tragedy, but this amount of unresolved anger is truly unhealthy.

    To correct one piece of information — while the growth of the clinic can be partially attributed to Mr. Ambrose and Jessica, the clinic was actually begun by some neighbors of mine from Trapper Creek.

    I believe Mr. Ambrose has missed the point entirely of the rally.

    I send him my deepest sympathy and hope that he can find some release soon.