Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives

At CRMC, a 'Revolving Door' Of Doctors

By Jeanne Sager
HARRIS — December 25, 2007 — The new year will move the game of musical chairs from the Catskill Regional Medical Center’s administrative offices to the medical staff.
A combination of cost-cutting measures and the personal decisions of several doctors have prompted the impending departures of five physicians.
Oncologist Dr. Jennifer Cadiz and cardiologist Dr. Abdollah Sedighi will be exiting the county, taking with them the good wishes of hundreds of patients.
Sedighi’s headed to Manhattan, taking a position on the prestigious Columbia Presbyterian cardiology team.
CRMC CEO Steve Ruwoldt denied rumors that Sedighi’s decision was tied to the hospital’s decision to terminate the contracts of a number of its physicians, renegotiating the figures in exchange for an increase in productivity.
“He’s been looking for awhile,” Ruwoldt said. “It wasn’t a contract issue at all.”
An invasive and non-invasive cardiologist, Sedighi simply couldn’t use some of his more advanced skills in Harris because the local hospital does not have a catheterization lab, Ruwoldt said.
Julia Schwartz, office manager at the Catskill Heart Center, concurred.
“We don’t have the tools to do his job,” she said. “It’s unfortunate for us, because he’s a great, great doctor.”
The office is in the process of re-credentialling, and there are three candidates who are being interviewed.
Her hope is that there will be a new cardiologist in place by the time Sedighi is ready to leave in early spring.
Cadiz, who is currently based in the Seelig division of the hospital in Harris, was expected to go into a private practice locally with fellow CRMC oncologist Dr. Iftikar-Ahmad Chouhdry.
“They approached me the first month I got here about that,” Ruwoldt said.
The plans fell through, Ruwoldt said, with Cadiz deciding to leave the area and Chouhdry remaining in the hospital’s employ.
Cadiz could not be reached regarding her future, but for now administrators are working to find a support person for Chouhdry in the office at the hospital in Harris.
They will not replace Cadiz with another oncologist.
“We were looking at the volumes, and there’s not enough for two oncologists,” Ruwoldt said.
The three other doctors who will be leaving the hospital are all expected to stay in the area – specifically in Monticello.
Hospitalists Dr. Jill Burns and Dr. Jeff Weinstein, who currently focus their efforts on caring for the patients at the hospital itself, will be opening a private practice specializing in care from cradle to grave.
As they build the practice, Ruwoldt said they will remain with the hospital part time as hospitalists.
Dubbing the two doctors “excellent physicians,” Ruwoldt said he expects them to leave the hospital once their practice ramps up.
They will be replaced – but he said it will not be a one-to-one replacement.
“We’ll be doing some consolidation of the hospitalist program,” he noted. “But we will have a hospitalist on duty 24/7.”
The final announced change in staffing is the departure of Dr. Gary Good, who runs the infectious disease department at CRMC.
His department will be shut down, with Good and at least a portion of his staff moving to Hudson River Healthcare, the non-profit in Monticello that focuses primarily on indigent care.
To reduce the cost burden of caring for the county’s large low-income population, the hospital closed its health center this fall.
Low-income patients are being directed to Hudson River, and the Good move is related.
Ruwoldt was not sure how many staff members would be affected and whether they would all find jobs at Hudson River.
The hospital is working with each staffer on their new placement, he said, confirming they will not be employed by the hospital.
In all, the savings of closing the infectious disease department is expected to be small for the hospital – somewhere around $45,000.
Contract renegotiation is still ongoing with several other physicians, but Ruwoldt said he doesn’t foresee other changes in staff.
Instead he said the hospital’s newest plans will bring more advanced equipment to Harris, including a hyperbaric oxygen machine for the wound care division and an expansion of the vascular surgery offerings.

top of page  |  home  |  archives