New petition seeks WCCHS answers to Dr. Mason's Ortho Contract Termination
The call and demand for answers regarding the mid-term contract termination of Buffalo Bone & Joint has only gotten stronger.
A group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Wyoming County started a petition Sunday on change.org calling for an investigation of the Wyoming County Community Health System’s Board of Managers and administration. About 500 people had signed it as of Tuesday.
“The support shown for Dr. (Paul) Mason by his patients, colleagues, hospital staff, past administration, and the general medical community speaks for itself,” the petition states. “This motion to prematurely terminate, supposedly initiated by former CEO Joseph McTernan, and carried out by the Board of Managers (BOM) of the Wyoming County Community Hospital (WCCH), has generated much concern regarding significant questionable conduct that has occurred over the past two years within our county owned establishment.
After thousands of citizens signed an initial petition asking for Dr. Mason’s reinstatement, unprecedented attendance at recent BOM and BOS meetings, and significant outpouring of letters, e-mails, and phone calls to authorities involved in such decisions, the community outcry for answers still remains,” the petition continues.
The questions brought up in the petition are the same ones circulating in the community since Mason’s contract was terminated, leading to a widespread outcry.
A capable and popular surgeon, Mason and his practice — Buffalo Bone & Joint — were widely credited as significant factors in Wyoming County Community Hospital’s turnaround.
“Who terminated Dr. Mason and why?” the petition further reads. “Why have four members of the board of managers resigned or been removed since Joe McTernan’s hiring as CEO? Why did the chief financial officer and director of Surgical Services and Maternity Women’s Health resign?
“Our county Board of Supervisors is responsible for our community and WCCHS which is a county asset, provides much needed healthcare to the community and is one of the largest employers in the county. If neither the Board of Managers nor the Board of Supervisors are willing to take the time to talk to the people that resigned, review the materials that were presented, and get true and timely answers behind the recent dismantling of cherished and valuable components of our rural hospital — we need to elect new supervisors,” the petition states.
The petition is one of two now known to be circulating. An earlier petition calling for Mason’s reinstatement was started in mid-February.
The Daily News tried to reach out to Board of Mangers President Rich Kosmerl and Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Becky Ryan for comment. Neither returned a call prior to press time Tuesday evening.
Paul Mason is an orthopaedic surgeon from Buffalo Ortho, a company he helped create 14 years ago that has found success in servicing Western New Yorkers. But now he will continue to serve Western New Yorkers from his full-time gig in Warsaw.
A few years ago, when the Wyoming County Community Health System sought help with orthopaedic services, Mason was contacted and said he’d offer his services, but only three days out of the month.
It didn’t take long for him to realize his interest in the area.
“I loved coming out here,” Mason said, adding that the few days he’d be in Warsaw tended to be “the happiest days of my month.”
Three days a month became four, which eventually became eight days a month, which is what he’s been doing for the past few years for WCCHS.
But now he’s decided to make working in Warsaw his full-time job. He officially starts this December.
“I came out here and totally fell in love with it,” Mason said.
What he likes about the area and working at WCCHS is the hospital itself, the community and the people.
He made some changes pretty early on when he started, too.
He said when he first started, the hospital didn’t have a good perioperative complication rate. But by 2015, it had one of the best.
“We went from the bottom to the top,” he said. “Now we’re a top performing joint center.”
He described WCCHS as a “boutique joint replacement center” because of how personal the experience is. Everyone gets a private room and they’re well taken care of, he said.
He also enjoys driving into Warsaw from his home in Clarence.
“The countryside is absolutely beautiful,” he said.
Mason also described the people he works with and interacts with in Wyoming County as “appreciative” and “hard working.”
He acknowledged that his story might be reverse to what people think — moving from a suburb of a major city to a rural area. But it’s actually in line with his original goals regarding medicine.
He said he always envisioned himself being a rural family doctor until becoming an orthopaedic surgeon called him. Now he’ll get to bring the two together.
“It’s just a beautiful, kind place to work,” he said.
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