Jackson County Supervisor Randy Bosarge called for the resignation of Singing River Health System CEO Kevin Holland on Monday over the way Holland handled patients after ending the hospital’s contract with long-time neurologist Dr. Terry Millette.
He said he is “not happy with the direction the hospital system is going. I’m publicly asking Kevin Holland to resign.”
Holland did not respond, but instead let others in leadership at the hospital affirm his work and decisions.
The Board of Supervisors heard a string of heartbreaking stories from patients who are afraid for their health and angry for being cut off from their doctor without any explanation. Some are being sent long distances to see replacement neurologists and were told they would need to get a re-evaluation before they could be treated.
Millettte had more than 200 multiple sclerosis patients, who appear to be the focus of why SRHS ended its contract with Millette. Some are frail and fear for their lives. They say they didn’t get an opportunity to make choices for themselves. They asked county leaders why the hospital system couldn’t work with Millette for a better transition.
I think it’s the only way we’re going to get this hospital system back on track, a change of management.
Jackson County Supervisor Randy Bosarge
Bosarge and other supervisors said they still do not know the details of why the county hospital system abruptly ended its association with Millette last week and sent letters to patients afterward.
“I don’t like what’s happening to Dr. Millette or any other doctors in the past and if I find out this was done in a reckless manner to Dr. Millette, I will take action, if I have to take action on my own,” Bosarge announced to the crowd at the meeting Monday.
Bosarge told the Sun Herald that with this situation and the problems with the failed employee retirement plan, “I believe we need a change in management.
“I think it’s the only way we’re going to get this hospital system back on track, a change of management,” he said.
In a written statement Monday, the SRHS Board of Trustees said it agrees with and supports Holland’s decisions.
President Jeffrey Belk said, “Over the past few weeks, the Board of Trustees has been briefed extensively about the serious clinical concerns at the Neurology Associates Clinic and has concurred with the decisions and processes of the medical and administrative leadership."
Chief of Staff Dr. Steve Demetropoulos, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Randy Roth and Chief of Staff Elect Dr. John Weldon had a joint statement expressing strong support. They said the hospital system has a process in place to review its doctors and, “We have been very thorough, fair and have followed our medical staff bylaws that govern these situations” and is now focused on the care of Millette’s patients.
Supervisor Troy Ross told the crowd, “It’s a personnel-related issue. What this board needs is an explanation of why they (SRHS) took action on Millette.
“Hopefully, with an issue of this gravity, they had a good reason. ... We need an explanation.”
Board President Melton Harris said, “As a board, we’re concerned about everything at the hospital, but this issue is between Singing River Health System and Dr. Millette.”
Supervisor Ken Taylor said the board was clueless in advance about the SRHS decision with Millette or any plan to manage his patients in the wake of the break up.
But this is an employer-employee relationship and an employer can terminate an employee, Taylor said. He told the audience that it’s the citizens of Jackson County who own the hospital system.
He said, “We will find out what transpired.”