Opinion: Quality of Porter board questioned

After all of the discord and dysfunction created by the Porter Hospital board through their choice of and support of a CEO and her management team, I am deeply disappointed at their lack of accountability as reported by the press and at the annual meeting on March 30.
I am not well acquainted with many of the board members but their introduction at the beginning of the meeting made it clear that they represent the business community, college and people who “have been on lots of boards.” I didn’t see anyone from the mental health sector, our public schools, farming, clergy or really any significant contribution from the wide breadth and depth of people in our community.
Ms. Boggs was asked to restructure our hospital and outpatient clinics. She was not from this area, didn’t understand the degree of caring and commitment of the people in the Middlebury area and had little or no respect for nurses, doctors, patients or community members. Rather than a careful plan to decrease primary care providers employed by Porter she just made everyone miserable and people left randomly. There was no plan for those patients left without a provider.
Similar impulsive actions were noted with staffing within the hospital and a bizarre contract structure for physicians. She used ruthless, secretive and wholly unnecessary business techniques to squeeze out people who have spent their lives dedicated to caring for the people of Addison County.
The Porter Hospital board hired her, defended her in spite of complaints from all sectors and supported her until the medical staff gave a vote of no confidence, nurses began to tell stories of safety issues and there was a public outcry. It was not the board that terminated her, it was all of us.
I am profoundly disturbed by this board. They have yet to apologize in a meaningful way for the pain they have inflicted and continue to inflict on their neighbors. There have been no offers to change their membership or make amends. Their actions and lack of response to the wreckage the rest of us will have to deal with make it abundantly clear that they are not equipped to follow through with this job. The expensive consultants cannot be held responsible.
In spite of the obvious concern of medical staff, community members and nurses, as well as a promise for more transparency and honesty, two new board members from the business community, nominated by the board, were added at the annual meeting. There was no time to question them on the part they played, no time for comments. There was only a yea vote, never even a chance to vote for change.
Sadly, this is the same group, functioning in the same way, that is going to choose the next CEO and chart the future course of health care in Addison County.
Lucy McKeon, M.D.

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