@aetna – Mark Bertolini – Dear Mr. Bertolini: I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked as a

Dorthea Lynn Crenshaw sent a message to Mark Bertolini that said:

Dear Mr. Bertolini:

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked as a Medical Social Worker in multiple hospital settings, and I am trained in Program Evaluation. I am contacting you to share the disturbing information that I received from the MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Risk Manager, Sarah Shackelford, regarding the quality of patient care that is provided at MedStar Hospitals. In December, I required an emergency hospitalization at Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. Ms. Shackelford’s response has serious financial implications for the insurance providers who make payments to hospitals within the Medstar system. These practices led to serious ongoing complications for me. The message that I received from Ms. Shackelford indicates that the following practices are standard care at Medstar hospitals. These practices resulted in Blue Cross Blue Shield paying well over $100,000.00 for the care that I received.

1. Failure to review imaging completed by MedStar outpatient facilities prior to performing surgical procedures in MedStar Hospitals
2. Delaying surgery on a patient with an internal abscess
3. Failure to obtain comprehensive medical histories regarding prior conditions that may impact impending surgical procedures from the patient’s Primary Care Provider
4. Failure to notify a patient’s Primary Care Provider that the patient has been hospitalized
5. Subjecting patients to unnecessary and excessive radiation by conducting scans that were completed immediately prior to the patient’s hospitalization
6. Failure to notify a patient of the seriousness of his/her condition while in a MedStar Hospital
7. Failure to notify patients of life-threatening symptoms that they have developed while they are hospitalized in MedStar Hospitals:
8. Failure to make appropriate consults to address symptoms that arise when patients receive care in MedStar Hospitals
9. Calling a patient after he or she have been discharged home from a MedStar Hospital to report that he or she have developed symptoms that merit immediate attention
10. Failing to notify a unit Discharge Planners that single patients who reside alone are being discharged and will require follow up in-home nursing care
11. Failure to set up in-home nursing care even when the patients’ insurance providers are offering the service to the patients
12. Failure to alert the patients’ physicians of life-threatening symptoms that the patients developed while they are receiving care from MedStar Visiting Nurses
13. Failing to schedule follow-up Primary Care Appointments with MedStar Providers for patients with serious symptoms who have been discharged from the MedStar Hospitals
14. Directing snide commentary toward patients during scheduled appointments with MedStar Primary Care Providers
15. Contacting patients to schedule appointments and then failing to record the appointments, thus causing patients to leave work for no reason
16. Placing patients on units that treat symptoms that the patients do not have and then conveying that the patient is a burden because they are there
17. Instructing nurses not to continue packing a deep hole in the patient’s side with medicated gauze, thus leading to the wound becoming infected

I learned about the seriousness of my condition, and the fact that I should not have been given a letter to go back to work 4 days after I returned home, when I went to a follow up appointment with a Primary Care Provider at the Medstar Mitchellville Office that is near my home. The appointment was more than a month later, and I only got the appointment because I called the Corporate Office and raised a ruckus. I would respectfully request that and all insurance providers suspend payment to MedStar until these patient safety issues are rectified.

After I filed a complaint against the hospital, I received a call from the Surgeon, Jack Sava, who was the Attending Physician for the team that provided my care. I did not see him during my hospitalization after he informed me that he was too tired to do my surgery and would be handing me over to his partner. Dt. Sava acknowledged that Medstar has done research that confirms that African-American patients do experience significant disparity in the care that we receive. However, he denied that was the reason for the substandard care that I received. I am concerned that the care that I received has serious implications for African-Americans, women and individuals with disabilities who receive care within the MedStar system.

Yours truly,
Dorthea L. Crenshaw, LICSW, LCSW

Comments are closed.