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Former safety leaders concerned about Summa Health System change in emergency room doctors

Leaders worried about longer ER wait times
Posted at 11:04 PM, Jan 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-02 23:14:45-05

The sudden switch in emergency room doctors at five Summa Heath System hospitals have some concerned about longer ER wait times for patients and EMS crews in the coming weeks.

Sixty-five ER doctors with Summa Emergency Associates at Summa Hospitals in Akron, Green, Wadsworth, Medina and Barberton were replaced on New Year's Day with doctors from US Acute Care Solutions after contract talks broke down.

Dr. Jeff Wright, President with Summa Emergency Associates told News 5 he was stunned talks were cut off so suddenly.

Former Chippewa Township Fire Chief Ron Browning believes the sudden swap in Summa ER doctors are likely to cause ER delays for patients and EMS crews from multiple fire departments in Summit, Medina and Wayne counties.

"Well I'm sure it's going to delay treatment, and it's going to cause a back-up," said Browning.

"That's got to slow down the turnover in the ER. As busy as Summa hospitals are, we need to come in, get our patient off and get back in service."

Former Akron Police Chief Craig Gilbride agreed, and told News 5 the new Summa ER doctors will need some time to learn the ropes.

"If I had to bring in 60 or 70 new officers tomorrow, what would they do," said Gilbride.

"People are coming into the ER and they're having to wait and wait and wait.  That could be the case in this situation."

Summa Health System responded to our story and issued the following statement:

"The situation with our Emergency Department physicians was a contractual dispute. We’ve moved to a new provider for emergency services. The transition has been seamless with no impact on patient care."

Wright told News 5 contract talks stalled when he said Summa failed to offer the contract length and job security the doctors believed they deserved.