Letters: MWHC and Moss Free Clinic

Your February 25th Guest Editorial, Mary Washington Healthcare on the state of the region’s healthcare safety network and the Moss Free Clinic, signed by MWHC CEO Michael McDermott, MD, makes me wonder why Dr. McDermott would enlist 28 respected community members to explain away his most recent self-inflicted public relations error.

These 28 unsuspecting people seem to have fallen under the spell of a local Pied Piper, the CEO of MWHC.  I urge each of the 28 to ask the CEO to consult with and listen to competent public relations people ­before he launches his announcements impacting MWH staff and the community.  A competent public relations person should have a feel for the pulse of MWH staff and the community, something Michael McDermott obviously does not have.  A competent PR person might be able to reduce or eliminate the blow-back from MWH staff and the community, which McDermott tried to minimize or excuse in his Guest Editorial. 

After more than 33 years of reading MWHC press releases, I wonder whether management is aware or concerned about the impact of their releases.  It seems that when the public or staff is impacted the most, the press releases are ticking time bombs, usually leading MWHC to retract them once they experience blow-back of this magnitude.    

Does anyone among MWHC’s senior executive possess enough foresight to prevent the morale damaging decision that was made?  Do they care what the public thinks about how they treat their staff and the public?

Respected and successful corporate leaders manage by walking, asking questions and listening to answers. The MWHC CEO created the culture of how MWHC treats staff and the public.  It’s time for the CEO to walk among staff and the public to learn what they have to say and to prevent similar self-inflicted PR gaffes.

Ronald N. Fiske