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Dozens Protest After Doctor is Fired

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FLORENCE, Ore. — Dozens of people took to the streets Thursday, rallying together to support a Florence doctor they believe was wrongfully fired.

“I found out when I returned to work after a week vacation, at 8 o’clock on Thursday, April 24th, that I was being terminated with no cause,” said Doctor John Egar. “There was no prior hearing, no disciplinary question, and no issue of patient care involved.”

Doctor Egar had been a PeaceHealth employee since 2009, working as a primary care physician at Peace Harbor Medical Center. He says when he pressed hospital executives about the reasoning behind his termination, they told him, “We cannot tell you to not write letters to the editor, but the forum was not right.” Doctor Egar says the hospital was referring to three letters he wrote to the local paper, The Siuslaw News, in March.

“It was public concern issues, it wasn’t anything about PeaceHealth internally,” said Dr. Egar.

He said the letters addressed health care issues like high deductible insurance rates, dwindling access to primary care, and price transparency.

“I haven’t heard a lot of controversy about those opinions, or ideas, in the general public, but it’s very controversial among PeaceHealth executives,” said Dr. Egar.

It was clear at the protest, many people are upset.

“I can’t believe this.” said Kathy Shamey, a resident of Florence. “This is a rural community, we’ve not replaced some of the previous doctors who’ve left, it’s hard to get doctors here, and they’re firing a beloved doctor? For posting public information in the newspaper that they should have posted in their hospital?”

So far, more than 60 people have signed a petition regarding not only Dr. Egar’s termination, but also, what sort of retaliation can happen for any medical professional who publicly discusses their opinion about health care issues and health care costs.

Those protesting are asking that the hospital give Dr. Egar his job back. We reached out to the hospital, but they say they can’t comment on personnel issues.

10 comments

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  1. Dennis Pease says:

    Shame on PeaceHealth, Dr. Egar was my doctor and a very good one at that. Their reason for terminating him sets a terrible precedent and a continued erosion of our basic constitutional right of freedom of speech.
    In addition to losing a good doctor that this small town needs.
    Shame, shame, shame on those responsible at PeaceHealth!

  2. Betty Morse says:

    Letter to the Editor

    RE: Dr John Egar, In my mind he is a very caring person. I have been wanting for a long time to make a statement like his. I am a patient at Peace Health and get so frustrated every time I go into my doctor which isn’t very often because I can never get an appointment. When I finally get into him I get a whole five minutes. They tell you to go to the walk in clinic, where they know nothing about you, so you get no where or help.
    In my estimation Peace Health is almost practicing genocide. Most of the people in Florence are elderly and need the time with their doctors to stay alive.

  3. Tom Payn says:

    Dr. Egar was my MD, he spoke about the issues that will surface as a result the changing way health care insurance is provided and the issues with the delivery of health care, and finally the way in which costs are not disclosed. In a community with high retiree population, heavily dependent on Medicare, and low income people have high deductable costs when health care is provided, the right offs can be high, and reimbursements are lowered thanks to Obamacare, The health system charges paying patients to cover costs and reinvestment, but the divergence of costs can vary drastically across the state.. What John is exposing is the soft underbelly of a broken system, and what we will be facing as we move thru a revamping of our countries health care delivery that we apparently aren’t ready to address at a corporate level, rather wait and it will be addressed, or controlled by the federal govt.. His purposes for the letters were truthful, however in our “at will” employment state, his platform was unfortunately held in contempt.

  4. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    If so many people supposedly love this doctor so much, he shouldn’t need to get his job back.

    He should be able to open up a private practice in Florence and have a huge customer base that he can handle himself, without PeaceHealth’s red tape.

    Of course, that may require some of his customers to pay in cash, and bypass the corrupt insurance system entirely. What’s that? They don’t love him THAT much? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

    1. Melanie says:

      Dude, We do love him that much! We cannot afford our deductibles much less the cost without the help of the insurance companies. If I was not paying $700.00 for health insurance, I could afford to pay in cash for most services. I will go to him if he is in another location in Florence. I do love him and trust that he has my health as a priority.

      Melanie

  5. Kurt Clay says:

    Another example of a heath care practitioner who bucks the system on behalf of consumers, and then is punished by it. The administrators and their mercenary policies must come under the public spotlight NOW, so his efforts are not wasted, and as a society we must keep moving toward a single payer system. Retired RN.

  6. Sue Sierralupe says:

    Opening a private practice is much trickier than opening any other business. It’s a tough way to make a living for any family practice doc. Just getting the clearance for insurance company approval is a nightmare. There are docs that get paid in cash but they are few and far between for a reason. Don’t judge.

  7. Paul Gorman says:

    This is corporate medicine at its worst and its most dangerous. Shame on PeaceHealth. As physicians, it is our professional duty and moral obligation to advocate for our patients and their healthcare. If PeaceHealth will fire a doctor for speaking up about the problems with the healthcare system, to improve access and lower cost for patients, what else will they silence nurses and doctors about? Must PeaceHealth employees live in fear that if they speak up on behalf of patients they will lose their jobs? Shame on you PeaceHealth, shame on you.

  8. SandyMook says:

    Makes me absolutely ashamed to work for PH. They tell employees to speak up if something is wrong. What they mean is they only want us to speak up if it is going to save them money.

    PeaceHealth talks about the ‘healing mission of Jesus Christ’ but it has nothing to do with how they run their hospitals. It is a myth sold to overworked, underpaid employees so the help keep ‘putting out’ on the cheap.

    Work harder and get paid less for Jesus. While the CEO gets a quarter million dollar bonus.

    Fire doctors and have 15 patients per CNA; the only way you justify this as appropriate patient care is by drinking the Kool Aid.

    I must face facts: I work for an unethical, corrupt organization run by fat, self serving businessmen.

    The Sisters of St. Joes should remove themselves from any association with this hospital. They have no influcence, and they are lending credibility to a medical cartel.

  9. dcguy says:

    Matt, your solution is more than a little idealistic. If this were 1970, yes, he could easily do that. However, today it’s not so simple. For one thing, he would have to obtain hospital admitting privileges. Remember who just fired him: the hospital.

    This is just another example of a problem in this area. One does not question any of the institutions in this area. If you do, there is always a disproportionate response–and this is what it looks like. Whether it’s the county, the city, the school district, or the medical establishment, no one is ever supposed to bring up problems and look for solutions. Residents of this area are simply supposed to accept that those running these institutions are all-knowing and always correct.

    That’s one of the reasons why the economy is terrible around here, and why our local public and quasi-public bodies perform so poorly.

    And, incidentally, Matt, your freedom is wherever you want it to be. You have plenty. There is no evil “big government” taking it away from you.

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