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Former cardiologist sues Great Plains Health, administrators

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Former Great Plains Health cardiologist Richard Markiewicz is suing Great Plains Health and three of the hospital’s executives.

Among the claims in the suit, Markiewicz says outgoing CEO Mel McNea, incoming and current CEO Ivan Mitchell and Ned Mack, head of GPH’s Governance Committee, “made false and defamatory statements” about him after his firing and as he searched for future employment.

In the Sept. 12 filing, Markiewicz is seeking damages for lost wages and has asked for retractions of statements made by administration.

Markiewicz was fired from the hospital on Dec. 7, 2021. In the suit, Markiewicz said he was escorted out of the building that day and his “without cause” termination resulted in the hospital paying him for a 90-day notice period. His formal termination from the hospital was in March 2022.

In the suit, Markiewicz claims “GPH administration repeatedly dismissed, ignored, or refused Dr. Markiewicz’s requests for better trained staff to care for his patients. GPH Administration also dismissed the concerns Dr. Markiewicz raised about the standard of care being provided by other cardiologists in the practice.”

Markiewicz also claims that he raised alarms about patient care provided by other cardiologists at the hospital, and that GPH administration ignored those concerns.

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In Nov. 10, 2021, text and phone messages to administration, Markiewicz said, he asked for interventional cardiologists at the hospital “be empowered to create policies and procedures to improve the functioning of the cardiology department and more importantly, improve the quality of patient care being offered at GPH.”

The suit claims that McNea responded “that if he proceeded with pushing to establish specific policies and procedures for the cardiology group, he would be fired.”

According to the suit, Markiewicz met with McNea and a member of the GPH human resources department on Dec. 7, when he was terminated.

In a letter to The North Platte Telegraph after the firing, published Dec. 16, 2021, Mack and McNea wrote, “When it’s necessary, we terminate employees when they don’t meet our standards of professionalism and quality of care.”

A day later, McNea said at a press conference, “And if you have somebody that’s not willing to work in a collaborative environment, for the safety of the patient they’re not part of here.”

In the suit, Markiewicz says that those statements are false, and that hospital administration repeated those statements as Markiewicz attempted to find future employment.

Specifically, the suit says Markiewicz had found employment with a facility in Salina, Kansas, in April 2022 before the facility backed out of the agreement. Markiewicz claims that occurred because of statements made by GPH administration to the unnamed Salina facility’s administration.

Markiewicz also claims that pattern continued as he searched for employment.

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