Sound Physicians vows an update of its operations

Sound Physicians officials have promised to make a formal presentation on March 15 that includes data collected since the for-profit business took over operation of the Olympic Medical Center emergency department.

“We are really looking forward to the upcoming meeting and giving you a more formal executive summary of where we are at,” Stephanie Perry, regional vice president for Sound Physicians, told hospital commissioners on Feb. 15.

“This will be the almost six-month mark of us being partners so we are really excited to be able to show some actual data on what we have been seeing and where we are heading into the rest of this year,” Perry said.

Accompanying her at the meeting were Regional Medical Director Dr. Krishna Nimamagadda and Interim Medical Director Dr. Frank Klanduch.

Sound Physicians, based in the Seattle area, officially took over the emergency department at OMC in October following the hospital suddenly ending its contract at the end of June with longtime partner Peninsula Emergency Services Inc., which was formed to provide emergency room physicians to OMC.

The sudden change created myriad objections from physicians and patients and led to reports of extremely long waits in the emergency department.

OMC board member Philip Giuntoli asked if things are getting any easier in the emergency department.

“From an operational standpoint, yes,” Perry said. “We are all about building something new and something sustainable for this community, and I do feel it’s getting better since we first started.”

Klanduch added: “I think we have a great working relationship with the OMC staff.”

But staffing remains a problem, according to Perry.

“We are looking for a full complement of permanent providers here,” Perry said, “nine of which will be physicians. Three would be advanced practice providers, nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).”

Perry said that, as of last Wednesday, the emergency department had five of 12 positions filled with eight more interviews scheduled through the end of the month.

“Many of those will be making decisions about final contracts towards the end of the month. So progress is ramping up, and we are excited about the team we are building,” Perry said.

In the meantime, staffing using travel and locums contracted physicians, NPs and PAs has been built out through June.