Hospital defends decision to replace Southern Tier Anesthesiologists despite community support — 5 insights

The Olean, N.Y., community is standing with recently dismissed anesthesia group Olean-based Southern Tier Anesthesiologists, the Olean Times Herald reports.

Here's what you should know:

1. Olean General Hospital recently made the decision to sever ties with Southern Tier Anesthesiologists after 24 years. The hospital is partnering with Buffalo, N.Y.-based Great Lakes Anesthesiology, who submitted a lower bid to provide anesthesia services.

2. Olean resident Gregory Eaton started a Facebook group called "I Support Southern Tier Anesthesiologists" Aug. 18. It now has more than 2,200 members and more than 130 posts from Olean community members. The stories relay the many ways the group's anesthesiologists supported the Olean community.

3. Supporters are considering several actions, including circulating an online petition, purchasing a billboard and picketing in front of the hospital.

4. No one from Southern Tier Anesthesiologists is affiliated with the Facebook group, but STA President Stephen Carlson, MD, said he and other physicians were aware of its existence. Dr. Carlson told the Olean Times Herald, "We're honored and we're flabbergasted by the support. We feel like we're blessed to have that, and w'’re just sort of stunned and honored by that."

5. Despite the community support behind STA, the hospital moving forward with its plans to switch providers. Olean-based Upper Allegheny Health System President and CEO Tim Finan said in a statement, "Making these types of decisions is not popular, but they are vital to the stability of the hospital."

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