New non-profit organization hopes to strengthen the voice of local doctors in the upstate

A new nonprofit aims to increase healthcare opportunities in the upstate and ultimately improve patient-centered care.

Doctors for Law 432 hopes to foster a better doctor-patient relationship through education and engaging local stakeholders.

Dr Bruce Snyder, chairman of the organization’s board, said the disconnect between patients, doctors and administrators has become a national problem and hopes this non-profit can be a local solution.

Snyder and Physicians for Act 432 are concerned about the diminishing role of physicians and that large institutions – such as pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies or large healthcare systems – have had an increasing influence on healthcare. health. They are concerned about the ability of local doctors to freely voice their concerns because of the power these institutions hold.

The Physicians for Act 432 website argues that attempts by physicians to reestablish independent practices are often “thwarted by health care systems through market control, retaliation for leaving employment, and retaliation for attempting. to compete as independent providers “.

They hope to provide a platform for doctors to speak out without fear of retaliation from health systems, according to their website.

Snyder, who is a past president of the South Carolina Medical Association, wants the organization to spark dialogue and increase the contribution of physicians at these large institutions to help restore the physician-patient relationship.

Law 432 doctors say they are not for or against any health care system or institution, however, they want more competition and the public to have more health care options.

Bon Secours declined to comment on the new organization. Prisma Health said they are committed to the health and wellness of the community, and work closely with physicians, providers and community groups who share this common cause.

Snyder welcomes large organizations or outside organizations that can provide expertise or services, but what he doesn’t want is for local communities to cede control of their healthcare decisions.

“The concern is that we will lose the ability here locally to make the best decisions for our community about their health care needs,” Snyder said.

Snyder raised concerns such as Prisma Health’s recent decision to close its emergency room at Travelers Rest, or stopping plans to replace the aging Marshall I. Pickens mental hospital and plans for a new cancer center.

“We are certainly not anti-Prisma in any way,” Snyder said. “But that the decisions that are made may not be the ones we think are the best for the health of all citizens here in the upstate.”

Prisma Health points to the accomplishments he made last year while fighting COVID-19. These include adding 55 new physicians and 341 total providers in the upstate, promoting quality health care, investing nearly $ 190 million in salaries and pensions, and providing over $ 527 million in quantifiable community benefits.

The name of the new nonprofit is linked to Law 432 of 1947, a law that mandated the Greenville Health System to provide health services to all residents of Greenville.

When GHS switched to Prisma Health-Upstate, the Greenville Health Authority was the public entity left behind as Prisma became a private, non-profit organization. GHA is now acting as the owner of Prisma and will conduct its lease review later this year. It also assesses the needs of the community and provides grants to help improve the health of the community.

Physicians for Act 432 hopes to collaborate with GHA and help provide information about healthcare in the upstate and let local clinical experts guide needed services.

The nonprofit argues on its website that while the GHA trustees “may have reasonably been able to meet their lease oversight obligations, many long-time community physicians are of the view that the trustees have failed. have not fulfilled their fiduciary responsibilities with respect to the ideals of Act 432. “

However, GHA hired its own legal counsel to review her duties last October and found it to be outside of her responsibilities, said Stacey Mills, chairman of the board of GHA.

“It is clear from the legal review that Bill 432 does not give the GHA the power to uphold the ideals spelled out on the organization’s website,” Mills said in an email. “GHA will be happy to meet with physicians from this organization at any time.”

Snyder argued that while it is not GHA’s job to tell Prisma what to do, it is their responsibility to influence health outcomes in the region.

He said that if there were any health services that were not being met by regional health systems – be it Prisma, Bon Secours, Spartanburg Regional or AnMed – it is GHA’s duty to help remedy the problem.

Physicians for Act 432 has already spoken with some physicians and elected officials, and will continue to reach out to local health leaders, community leaders and residents to have a transparent and robust discussion about the health care needs in the region.

“We hope to affect the decision-making processes here by having physicians discuss their health care with their patients,” Snyder said. “We are trying to influence [and] educate GHA. “

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