Curry Health Network CEO Ginny Razo stands by cardiologist Satyendra “Seth” Narendra Giri and the Medical Executive Committee that vets incoming physicians, despite demands from the public to explain why they employ someone who has three disciplinary sanctions for various offenses.

Razo declined to elaborate about Giri’s nurse, Isaac Hodges, except to say he is employed at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach.

Hodges had his sentenced deferred in April 2017 to a year probation and a $400 fine after pleading guilty to stealing oxycodone from a patient. He was ordered to enroll in a drug treatment program and have no contact with that patient, a Brookings man. The probationary period ended March 30, and the charge of third-degree theft was dismissed without prejudice.

At the state nursing level, however, Hodges was placed on 24 months’ probation “for exploiting the nurse-client relationship for personal gain, the unauthorized removal of drugs from the workplace, and possessing unauthorized drugs.”

Giri was reprimanded by the Oregon Medical Board last month for “unprofessional or dishonorable conduct; misrepresentation in applying for a license to practice medicine; gross or repeated acts of negligence; willful violation of any rule adopted by the board; and conduct that violated (state) procedures to obtain informed consent.

The order “reprimands the licensee; revokes his medical license, however the revocation is stayed; assesses a $10,000 civil penalty; places the licensee on probation for 10 years; requires the licensee to complete a pre-approved education plan; subjects the licensee’s practice to no-notice chart audits and office visits by the board’s designee and restricts the licensee from performing invasive or interventional cardiology procedures.”

California also suspended Giri’s license until the investigation was complete, records show; Giri had formerly worked for Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento.

Razo explained last week that Giri had explained throughout the hiring process the circumstances behind the violations and kept the board updated as the investigation continued.

The state also reprimanded him in July 2016, when Giri worked in Coos Bay. The state medical board had Giri enter into an interim stipulated order and “voluntarily cease performing any interventional cardiac procedures on any patient pending the completion of the board’s investigation into his ability to safely and competently practice medicine.”

It also limited the number of cardiology procedures Giri could perform.

According to the report, Giri is not allowed to install temporary or permanent pacemakers or Swan-Ganz catheters, nor conduct arterial punctures, central venous line placements, coronary angiograms including percutaneous coronary interventions and stenting, peripheral angiography including percutaneous interventions and stenting, myocardial biopsies, intra-aortic balloon pumps and right heart catheterizations.

Razo said last week that Curry General Hospital doesn’t perform such surgeries.

“CHN credentials and re-credentials all physicians and providers,” Razo wrote in an email to the Pilot Tuesday afternoon. “Although the CHN board of directors gives final approval for medical staff appointments and granting of privileges, the Medical Executive Committee follows a systematic and standardized process to vet all applicants prior to recommending appointment and the granting of privileges by the board of directors.”

She said the process requires an applicant to complete a comprehensive application, including any pending or previous medical board actions and any necessary explanations from the physician. The Medical Executive Committee (MEC) then reviews the application and gathers verifications prior to granting privileges to practice medicine at CHN.

“If during the application process there are questions or concerns, the MEC is responsible to gather the necessary information to make an informed decision,” Razo continued. “As I stated previously, Dr. Giri was credentialed by the Medical Executive Committee and throughout the investigation, Dr. Giri kept the MEC informed of the medical board’s investigation and or requirements.”

That vetting is ongoing, too, she said.

“All hospital medical staffs are required to perform periodic evaluation and quality assurance review of its members,” Razo explained. “Our Peer Review Committee is required to review a number of charts retrospectively to ensure the standard of care has been met.

“Our Medical Staff Quality Committee reviews concerns related to standard quality metrics, such as readmission rates, infection rates, return to surgery, etc. If either committee has concerns with the care of any physician or provider, that committee can make recommendations to the MEC for consideration. Upon review of the recommendations or additional information obtained, the MEC may take actions, such as requiring addition education, focused monitoring for a period of time, restricting privileges, and if necessary revoking privileges.”

Giri received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Tribhuvan, Kathmandu in Nepal, his graduate degree in public health and epidemiology from the University of Connecticut and his doctorate in medicine from the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, India. He has been practicing cardiology for more than 25 years.