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Guest Opinion: Attacks misrepresent quality of care, vision

As a physician who has devoted the past four years to the growth and future of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC), I am shocked beyond belief at the current spectacle of ad hominem attacks and malicious innuendos to intentionally misrepresent ...

As a physician who has devoted the past four years to the growth and future of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC), I am shocked beyond belief at the current spectacle of ad hominem attacks and malicious innuendos to intentionally misrepresent the quality of care and long-term vision of CRMC.

I was going to wait until I can express these sentiments to our board members; however, the events these past two weeks have been incredibly distracting and harmful to the reputation of CRMC. Therefore I am compelled to write to the same newspapers to set the record straight.

When I joined CRMC four years ago, Tom Reek was still our CEO, who had the vision to enhance our surgical services by hiring a board-certified and cardiac fellowship trained anesthesiologist with a prestigious educational background. I have firsthand knowledge and experience under both administrations for approximately equal amount of years. What I can tell you is that the advances we have achieved in the past two years under our current CEO John Solheim, in terms of quality, accountability, and strategic planning, are all unprecedented in scope and vision.

Our ultimate goal is to provide the best quality patient care in a wide range of service lines. This goal demands the best performance from all parties involved, including physicians, nurses, ancillary health care staff, business and support staff, from the entry level employees to the highest level directors. The bar is now set higher than ever before, for all personnel involved. To our patients, I assure you, you will have doctors and providers who are compassionate, friendly, and have the most current knowledge, expertise, and skills to care for you.

Most patients come to the hospital not just to socialize but to get better. In order to help our patients get better, we need all staff involved to provide high quality care in addition to compassion and caring. Crosby Cares; we care about you, and we care for you! I know some long-term employees have left our organization, and other employees' job duties have been shifted. But I can say without equivocation, we have been able to recruit new employees who are outstanding. I am honored to work amongst these new colleagues, not just doctors, but also nurses, allied staff, technicians, etc. They come from esteemed medical centers such as Mayo Clinic, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Emory University, and HCMC, to name a few. These new doctors and allied health staff bring with them broad expertise simply not found nor developed by working in a rural hospital.

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I became the medical director of education at CRMC with the vision to achieve "a culture of learning" for physicians and allied health staff. The commitment to lifelong learning requires dedication and innovation. The majority of our staff have enthusiastically embraced these new concepts. The vast, vast, majority of our staff are proud of being an integral member of a cutting edge team. CRMC is delivering state-of-the-art medical care and surgical services not comparable to other rural hospitals. Our current bench of physicians, nurses, technicians, assistants, and administrators, rival and surpass many large city hospitals and even some academic medical centers. I have provided surgical care to extremely complex patients, and medical care to critically ill patients, who otherwise would not have done well, or would have been transferred to Twin Cities' hospitals. Our patients and their families appreciate the fact that they are able to stay locally, rather than travelling and spending weeks in the large cities. We hope to provide even more of these types of services in the future by recruiting capable and experienced doctors, nurses, and other valued staff members. Quality begets quality, and more and more quality employees will follow.

We are building a bright future of medical and surgical services at CRMC for our local communities. To lose what we have achieved and will continue to achieve is foolishness to the extreme. It is heartbreaking to see our achievements being undermined by the current toxic atmosphere generated by those who are nostalgic for the good old times with minimal accountability and oversight. Those days should not be brought back by a malicious campaign to essentially influence our board members to become their "job security gatekeepers." Our patients and communities deserve better. You deserve progress to quality care.

Dr. Fawn Atchison

Medical director of education

CRMC

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