St. Peter’s Health Committed to Continued Cancer Care in Helena

November 24, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I would like to acknowledge the outpouring of feedback we’ve received following the recent announcement that Dr. Weiner is no longer employed by St. Peter’s Health and will not be returning to our Cancer Treatment Center. 

The St. Peter’s Health Cancer Treatment Center will continue to be staffed by board-certified medical oncologists working in partnership with our nurses, nurse navigators, social worker, pharmacist, patient access specialists, radiation therapists, dosimetrist, radiation oncologist, volunteers and support staff. Never has our commitment to high quality, compassionate care been stronger than it is today. 
    
While we understand change can be difficult, we have a plan that is centered on what is best for our patients and we are systematically working through that plan. Our team has been working diligently to individually assess each patient’s condition and treatment plan and ensure there is no disruption to medically necessary, time-sensitive care. We are in the process of reaching out to patients to go over next steps and what they can expect, based on their individual circumstance. 

Patients who require continued care from an oncologist will see a board-certified medical oncologist at their next scheduled appointment. During these appointments, the oncologist is thoroughly assessing each patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan to ensure they are receiving the most appropriate and effective care. Patients without a current cancer or acute hematology diagnosis, or who are not in immediate cancer surveillance, are being referred to primary care physicians who can most effectively manage their ongoing health care needs and help coordinate future referrals to oncology if needed. This is a standard and recommended health care practice. If a patient prefers, we are facilitating a referral to the hospital or provider of their choice. 

Our first priority is to verify that patients are receiving appropriate, safe and timely care, and to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible. Moving forward, we are focused on building an even stronger and better oncology program at St. Peter’s that delivers on our gold standard promise. We are actively recruiting full-time, permanent board-certified oncologists and hematologists to ensure our community has access to top-notch cancer care for years to come.

We will continue to share information and updates as we are able to do so. We understand this is an emotional and challenging time, and we are asking for your grace and patience as we work through this. 

Respectfully,

Wade Johnson, FACHE
CEO, St. Peter’s Health

 

An Important Update on Oncology Services at St. Peter's Health

November 17, 2020

Below, you will find a letter that CEO Wade Johnson shared with the St. Peter's Health team. As part of our commitment to updating the community, we want to share it with you as well:

Dear St. Peter’s Health team members,

The circumstances that led to Dr. Weiner’s absence are ongoing and remain a confidential matter. However, in the weeks following his departure, information has come to light that requires us to make some difficult decisions in the Cancer Treatment Center. Effective today, Dr. Tom Weiner is no longer employed by St. Peter’s Health and will not care for patients in our Cancer Treatment Center.

The St. Peter’s Health Cancer Treatment Center is operating with three board-certified medical oncologists onsite who are serving the community’s cancer care needs, as we aggressively recruit new oncologists to join our permanent medical staff.

The quality and safety of the care we provide to all patients is our highest priority. In fact, it is because of our increased focus on quality and safety that we identified and are addressing these issues. As we move forward, oncologists at St. Peter’s are closely reviewing each patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan to ensure they are receiving the most appropriate and effective treatments. Patients who require the care of an oncologist will have the opportunity to discuss their treatment plan with an oncologist at their next appointment. We strongly recommend patients thoroughly discuss their overall care plan with a primary care provider, since many health care needs can be more effectively managed by a primary care provider.

I would like to express my appreciation for the St. Peter’s Health medical staff and board members for their ongoing collaboration and mutual support in facing this unexpected and challenging issue. I also would like to thank our Cancer Treatment Center staff for their continued cooperation and dedication to caring for our patients. 

We are confident this decision is in the best interests of our patients, and we can assure you we are committed to working through this matter as quickly as possible.

Thank you for everything you do.

Wade C. Johnson, FACHE

 

Update on Oncology Services at St. Peter's Health

November 16, 2020

St. Peter’s Health thanks the organizers of this evening’s community meeting for inviting us to attend. While we understand the community would like more information, the circumstances around Dr. Weiner’s leave of absence remain private and confidential. Because St. Peter’s is not legally allowed to provide more information, we will not be attending the meeting.

As we’ve shared, patient care remains our highest priority and our Cancer Treatment Center continues to care for patients. Three board-certified oncologists are closely evaluating each patient’s care to ensure they are receiving the most effective treatments. While patients with the most urgent needs are being given priority, all patients will soon receive appointments for these evaluations.

We also want to assure our community that rumors of St. Peter’s Health selling to or becoming part of a larger health system are simply not true. We have served this community for over 100 years and we’re committed to remaining an independent, not-for-profit health care system. Partnerships like our affiliations with the University of Utah Health and Bozeman Health allow us to remain independent while collaborating with others to bring specialty care closer to home.

St. Peter’s will continue to provide more information as we are able. In the meantime, thank you for trusting that every decision we make is in the best interests of our patients.

 

St. Peter's Health Oncology Services: A message to the community from CEO Wade Johnson

October 23, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We recently shared that Medical Oncologist Dr. Tom Weiner is out of the office and not currently treating patients. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us with a tremendous outpouring of feedback and concern. We completely understand why this is worrisome and that you have questions.

The circumstances around Dr. Weiner’s absence are private and confidential, therefore, St. Peter’s is not legally allowed to provide more information. Unfortunately, this means we cannot answer the question many of you have, which is “why?”

In the absence of information, rumors are flying and there is a lot of misinformation being shared. Some are saying St. Peter’s is just out to get Dr. Weiner. I assure you, this is not the case. I also realize I’m asking you to have faith that our administrative and medical staff leadership are making decisions in the best interests of our patients and community.

The relationship between administration and medical staff is better today than it has been for a very long time. Everyone has been willing to acknowledge their mistakes of the past in the hopes of building a mutually supportive and respectful relationship for which the community will benefit greatly. My team and I stand in strong support of every member of our medical staff. The role they play in providing life-saving medical care for our community is second to none.

Please understand, our primary obligation is to ensure St. Peter’s is consistently providing high quality care. Upholding this promise and making sure we always have the resources to care for you is sacred and personal to us. Our Cancer Treatment Center team, which includes several board-certified oncologists, stands ready and is continuing to provide exceptional care for our cancer patients.

I realize how unsettling this is for those who have been treated by Dr. Weiner in the past, or who are currently undergoing cancer treatment. We know our Cancer Treatment Center team becomes family when you or a loved one are battling cancer. It is a grueling and humbling experience, and in more ways than just physically and emotionally. Please know that our amazing team of caregivers is here for you today just like yesterday, and tomorrow will be no different.

Respectfully,

Wade C. Johnson, FACHE
CEO, St. Peter’s Health