Dec. 16, 2009: Questions why doctor is departing

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To The Editor:
I just found out that our beloved Dr. Jaikumar Ravunniarath, known to all of his patients as Dr. J, is leaving our area. It is my understanding that his contract was expiring and that the hospital administration was unwilling or unable to negotiate an agreement with Dr. J.
Dr. J is an excellent doctor who recently made a long term commitment to serve his patients by purchasing a home in the area. He is patient, kind and attentive no matter how busy or packed his schedule is. A large portion of his patients are seniors who have grown comfortable with him, but more importantly, trust him. In a community as small as ours it is difficult to get a doctor to remain serving our area for any longer than a few years. Why on earth would the administration not do everything within reason to support a physician who is committed to remaining?
It was my understanding that the reason for MMH merging with Kingston Hospital was to expand resources to the communities they serve as well as being able to capitalize on certain economies of scale that a medical facility as small as MMH would not normally have available to them. I find it hard to believe that the expanse of resources available by the merger were of no use in negotiating with Dr. J, whether those resources were administrative (arbitration) or financial. Regardless, if money was an issue, why couldn’t a reasonable agreement be reached by all parties involved? If money was not an issue, then please explain to me and all of the other patients of Dr. J what condition or term was so out of the realm of reason as to not even warrant negotiations?
Our community deserves an explanation as to why a doctor whom we love and respect, who treats each patient with care and kindness, who has committed himself to a rural, underserved area, is leaving.
Shame on MMH for allowing Dr. J to join the countless other physicians before him who gave their hearts to our community only to leave after a few short years and shame on us as a community if we don’t stand together and make our dissatisfaction known to the administration of MMH.
If you or someone you love is being affected by Dr. J’s departure don’t sit idly by. Make your voices known by calling, faxing or e-mailing Ed Morache, CEO of MMH or David Lundquist, CEO of Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley, the company overseeing MMH, Benedictine and Kingston Hospitals and let them know you don’t want Dr. J to leave.

Carol Curran,
Arkville