New Summa Health President Cliff Deveny addresses emergency room concerns

Posted at 5:55 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 18:33:14-05

Summa Health interim President and CEO, Cliff Deveny, doesn't officially start on the job until March 13, but he's already speaking to employees about concerns over "culture and trust" after a rocky couple of months.

"In the last 24 hours, what I'm starting to hear is there are those issue and people, I would say, are being very transparent about it, know they need to own it, even some of the folks that may have created it," Deveny said.

At the beginning of the year, Summa switched ER doctors from Summa Emergency Associates to U.S Acute Care Solutions.

Since the change, some of the emergency room nurses have complained about the new doctors and patient care.

On Thursday, a nurse who did not want to be identified, said in some cases doctors are not activating stroke teams fast enough and are missing possible signs of heart attacks.

"They're (patients) not getting the attention necessary and we are very concerned for their safety," she said. There are times when we go to the doctor and notify them three of four times that this patient needs to be seen immediately and that is not happening."

Deveny said he has not been made aware of mistakes in the ER, but addressed the concerns raised by the nurse in the News 5 report.

"If she has true concerns, she needs to bring them forward. We need to seem. We need to validate them and deal with it," he said.

On Friday, the nurse told us she and other nurses have already lodged complaints with Summa management.

Employees and patients have also complained about long wait times in the Akon ER since the changeover.

Akron City Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples said her mom had to wait about three hours to be seen for the flu.

When asked how many other complaints she has received as councilwoman, Mosley-Samples estimated "10 or 11 per day."

"These are things that are being reported, not only by patients, but by staff, and I just think we need to figure out a way to make sure that this works," she said.

Summa officials said wait times increased in early January. However, the health system reported wait times are now in the acceptable range, about 15 minutes door to doctor.

Deveny said bringing back the SEA emergency room doctors is off the table.

"The board has made it clear that the current contract will stay in place," he said.

Former CEO Thomas Malone received a no confidence and resigned in January after receiving intense criticism.

Deveny said he knows it's important to restore confidence at the county's largest employer.

"I think the issue now is let's look at the facts, and if there are issues, then we need to deal with those and how do we make sure that people aren't being harmed? Our primary goal is to make sure patients in the community are served well."


Summa Health Statement on Cliff Deveny

County of Summit statement on new Summa CEO