Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Baffling Phone Conversation with OSF's Ethicist Joe Piccione

I had another phone conversation with OSF's Corporate Ethicist Joe Piccione on August 6, 2009.

Joe called me as a follow up to our conversation in mid-July.

In July, Joe told me that he did not know if the physicians at OSF Medical Group--College Avenue in Bloomington would be OSF employees. And when I asked him other questions regarding OSF's new purchase of this Carle Clinic practice, he said he did not know most of the answers. Amazingly, when I spoke with this OSF office in Bloomington, they seemed to know all of the answers to my questions. Why Joe Piccione at OSF Corporate was allegedly kept in the dark remains a mystery to me.

However, during the August 6 phone call Joe seemed to know all of the answers. He had done his homework. But he spoke in fragmented sentences and seemed quite hesitant and sad.

Joe started out the conversation about "limited private practice" at OSF Medical Group in Bloomington.

He said that when he was hired by OSF in the mid 90's he did not know that he would be a major player in creating this policy which he referred to as "regretable" and even said "we mourn this practice" (limited private practice). This policy allows OSF physicians to prescribe oral contraceptives.

Joe said there are a declining number of OSF physicians using the limited private practice option which implied that fewer OSF physicians in the OSF HealthCare System are prescribing birth contol pills. However he did not provide me with any numbers to prove this.

He then quickly moved on to the OB-GYN department in the OSF Medical Group in Bloomington and said that the OB-GYN doctors would be "partial employees" of OSF. I don't understand what "partial employees" means but I do understand why he described them that way. He called OB-GYN doctors "moving targets" and implied that OSF may not be able to control what these physicans do for about 6 months.

Joe stated that he had not met with the OB-GYN docs at this new facility but he sure seemed focused on them. I think he is quite afraid of what they may intend to do in OSF's facility.

My take is that Joe and OSF are cobbling together a new set of ethical loopholes. OSF Medical Group OB-GYN doctors who will be labeled "partial employees" of OSF is just another "ethical firewall" created by Joe to separate the OSF Sisters from "cooperation" with "evil acts" most likely to occur by these physicians at OSF Medical Group in Bloomington.

Joe continued and said that tubal ligation would not be part of limited private practice in Bloomington. He said that sterilization could not be scheduled at this new facility and a separate phone number would need to be used. I didn't understand Joe's "separate phone number" statement at all...

I was really getting confused at this point with my talk with Joe. So a few days later I called the clinic in Bloomington to see what they had to say about tubal ligations.

I talked to Jan in the OB/GYN department and she told me very clearly and directly that a decision had not been made regarding tubal ligations (sterilization for females) and that this topic was still being discussed. This of course is not good because it should have been settled by now and Jan seemed to know much more about all of this than OSF's Corporate Ethicist.

My take on all of this as I attempt to sort out Joe's speech is that tubal ligations will be scheduled at OSF Medical Group in least for the first six months. If someone knows different please let Joe and me know.

When I asked Joe if the remaining 40 doctors at the new OSF facility would be OSF employees, he knew the answer now. Yes, they would be OSF employees and all 40 physicians would be able to write for oral contraceptives using OSF's "regretable" limited private practice policy.

Interestingly, Joe said that OSF would rent the building in Bloomington, they would not own it. I think he said this to act as another "ethical firewall" other words, anything that goes on inside OSF-Medical Group College Avenue is not really happening in an OSF building because OSF is just renting the building. Maybe the phones are being rented too.

Joe ended his disjointed dialogue by saying something like he wanted us all to "be proud of our Catholicism"...

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