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Sheehan Doctors Seek Resignation of Administrators

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Officials of the troubled Sheehan Memorial Hospital are under fire by a group of concerned doctors, staff and lawmakers. The group, led by top medical staff, yesterday said they are demanding the immediate resignation of all hospital administrators and board members.

Sheehan Memorial Hospital has been serving lower and middle income residents of Buffalo's lower east side since 1890. Doctors say many patients refuse to go anywhere else. The doctors and staff at Sheehan are loyal, too. They say they've hung on through years of the hospital's turbulent finances.

Last year Sheehan filed for Chapter eleven bankruptcy protection. But according to Medical Staff President Dr. Michael Cesar, hospital officials are doing nothing to remedy finances or declining patient care.

"It was last week's medical executive conference where the doctors finally blew up, and said we need to ask this board to step down because they're unable to get the necessary supplies, the unable to get the cooperation - we're just unable to work with them," said Cesar. "There seems to be another agenda they're working with."

At that meeting, Cesar presented the board with a resolution on behalf of the doctors and staff, demanding a total re-organization of hospital management. The board rejected that resolution. And, so far, hospital officials have refused comment. William Pike heads the Western New York Healthcare Association. He says, in the current tough, healthcare climate, the board needs to be responsive.

"Certainly you need leadership, community leadership, board leadership, strong governance in any organization these days in order to be successful," said Pike. "The board should be reflective of the community. And, in this case, I guess it shows that the community doesn't think the board is representing their interests."

Pike added that as Buffalo's only stand alone hospital, Sheehan will likely have to find a niche market to survive. He says the hospital had discussed a merger with Millard Filmore in the pre-Kaleida days. But Sheehan doctors and staff say they fear that the board's failure to act on concerns could signal their intention to merge or close the hospital altogether.