Mar 252016

Harry Bethel image

Editor’s Note:  After receiving former City Commissioner Harry Bethel’s open letter to Governor Scott [below] we reached out to the Lower Keys Medical Center for comment.  The following is the statement we subsequently received from LKMC spokesperson Randy Detrick:

“Lower Keys Medical Center is committed to providing our patients with the medical services and care they need. We encourage any patient who has concerns to contact us directly so that we can investigate and take action as needed for resolution.

Any identified issues in Mr. Bethel’s letter will be addressed in consultation with the hospital’s community Board of Trustees and the Medical Executive Committee in accordance with hospital by-laws. We have reached out to Mr. Bethel and the patients named in his correspondence seeking an opportunity to visit with them in person about their concerns.

 Our hospital is committed to complying with all federal, state and local laws, rules, regulations and requirements.”

Dear Governor Scott,

Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter which I prepared about my concerns over our healthcare in southern Monroe County. When I wrote this letter I was not aware of other possible more troubling matters within the medical community but I will talk about those in a minute.

To make certain that my letter was addressed by the Lower Keys Hospital District Board which you appoint, I attended a meeting on March 14th held by that Board. I was not prepared for the disrespect and confrontational tone in which I, physicians, and members of the community would be attacked. At that meeting Administrator Nickki Will, Dr. Lockwood, Dr. Atilla and Dr. Herrera came in and tried to belittle and embarrass members of the public who came to address your Board about our experiences. Dr. Atilla and Dr. Herrera actually called the public “liars” about incidents [that occurred while] the public members or their family were present but [which were] event[s] at which neither Dr. Atilla or Dr. Herrera were present.

I stand by my letter and still do not feel my questions have been answered. Instead we were all told that the proper way to complain about the hospital is to contact their patient advocate or the administrator’s office. However every person who attended that meeting on March 14th stated their calls to both of these advocates had never been answered.

Very upsetting was the intention that Dr. Atilla declared that his ER doctor contractors plan to bring charges before the medical committee against a local doctor to shut down his license. The incident that caused this was totally laid out in the meeting. Yet the story Dr. Atilla told, completely differs from what the Boegofff family told and they were present for the entire event because their mother was the patient. I have now discovered that Dr. Atilla put together the emergency room doctor contract and he is scheduled to become the next president of the local medical committee. So Dr. Atilla will have the decision making power to actually charge any doctor who questions his emergency room doctors or the hospital doctors who he apparently has instructed to not call the patients primary doctors. He may also be controlling who gets referrals for the follow-up care on patients who go to the hospital. Is any of this even legal?

With this position as medical president Dr. Atilla will automatically sit on the private hospital board. Then in that capacity he gets to charge a doctor as the president and then by sitting on the hospital administration board he will be able to make the ultimate decision on a doctor’s discipline. To top things off, Dr. Atilla and Dr. Herrera have not even spoken with the patients, their family members or even the nurses who witnessed the incident to get a complete understanding of what supposedly happened before accusing a doctor of wrong doing.

At the meeting Dr. Atilla tried to gloss over the fact that the emergency room doctors had not been accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance for 11 months. He blames it on credentials. Well then why did he bring doctors into our community who did not have the right credentials and how was it that all of a sudden all the problems with Blue Cross Blue Shield are suddenly resolved the same day Dr. Atilla attends the hospital board meeting.

The entire meeting was the biggest display of disrespect and complete disregard for the public that I have ever witnessed. Thinking back on how ugly that meeting became my only explanation is that there is absolutely no oversight of the operations of our community hospital. Also there is clearly no communications between doctors, administration, the public and the Board that you appoint to represent the community’s best interest.

Governor Scott, what is being allowed to occur within this community is very troubling. I ask you to have it investigated and appoint a moderator to work through all these items.


Harry Bethel

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 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 1:04 am * Featured Story *, Issue #159, Letter to the Editor  Add comments

  2 Responses to “Harry Bethel’s Open Letter to Governor Scott”

  1. Thank you Harry for your letter but sadly the problem with this local hospital that Key West residents and tourists are dependent on in matters of life and death is MUCH BIGGER than Mr. Bethel relates in his letter to the Governor. Though most staff seem very competent and kind from my and friends experience, the Administration and oversight of this hospital needs serious attention and a complete overhaul.
    Talking with these few people in Harry’s letter is only a start. There needs to be a community held meeting for past patients to voice their concerns and problems so they can be addressed. The City of Key West should be very concerned for their citizens well-being and the millions of tourists who come to KW (medically and financially). Let’s have the Hospital Administration and Board hold a community meeting. If LKMC is seriously “committed to providing our patients with the medical services and care they need” they have nothing to fear, but let’s not fail to address financial concerns – the LKMC never addresses this in their statement. It is their business practices and unscrupulous billing and collection practices that concern us all. Come out into the light LKMC and face those you have billed unfairly and bankrupted.
    I would ask the seeker of justice, The Blue Paper to delve into a through research based story on the Lower Keys Medical Center. Include stories of our friends and neighbors who have suffered, not at the hands of medical staff, but rather the hospital billing and collection procedures. One visit to this hospital can wipe out your financial future – it sadly just happened to a friend of mine.

  2. I’d be more than glad to help you with the horrible medical practice of Dr. Attila. The guy nearly killed me prescribing heart medication over the ones cardiologist Dr. Michael McIvor had tediously prescribed and adjusted over years. Despite my reason for being there in a hospital room for 11 days while getting intravenous super powerful antibiotics to try to stem a really bad MRSA infection in my legs, Attila showed up suddenly out of the blue, said he was writing me new prescriptions, and that I had to leave. I informed him that the emergency room doctors are the ones who had been attending to me, and McIvor visited a few times too. He was adamant I had to leave. I then said I was on full coverage Medicaid who was paying the entire bill, and had paid that god damn hospital over $2,000,000 for me already. Why was he kicking me out I asked? He just huffed and puffed, and said I had to go as he left the room.

    I didn’t know at the time that he and the emergency room doctors worked on different contracts apparently and didn’t get along. I do now. And a fully disabled heart patient with a deadly infection was booted to appease this jackass and his way out of control ego. He is a smelly piece of shit and I don’t have a problem telling him that to his face.

    Now, it has also come down to any time I am in the cafeteria or entrance his “security” guards are in my face kicking me off the property. For waiting on a bus that stops there 25 feet away. The same me that medicaid has paid over $2,000,000 to that god damn hospital isn’t allowed to get something from the cafeteria or stand by the doors waiting for a damn bus. But, they will let me call an ambulance, get placed in the emergency room, assigned a stay upstairs, be subject to numerous tests and drugs, and wait for Attila to come around and boot my ass right out. That didn’t stop Attila or that for-profit company running the administration from collecting over $100,000 for that stay and treatment.

    Maybe those city/county folks that let the “for profit” hospital administration lease property that restricts them from being allowed to do so should boot their ass because I am about to shut them down for not taking care of me, just treating me, a public person, like I am in a private clinic that they alone decide who can or can not enter. Boy, when you enter with a Medicaid platinum card and whatever injury they roll out a $2,000,000+ red carpet. They need to be cut loose and sued.

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