Opinion

One physician’s gone from Whidbey, don’t lose another | Sound Off

By Kathleen S. Itter

This letter is in response to your article, “Doctor Quits Whidbey General Hospital Over Web Furor” published Jan. 11. I would like your readers to understand that the Whidbey General Reformers (WGR) website is full of misleading and inaccurate information shedding an undeserved bad light on a physician that deserves more respect.

The website states that Dr. Marquart graduated from a one-star medical school. It is a well-known fact in the medical field that star rating websites are not credible. They are full of misinformation and bad data. Some websites have ratings based on just three criteria: GPA, MCAT, and acceptance rates. This information is used to determine acceptance into medical school, not the training outcomes.

Even more credible rating systems in general are not dependable because medical school missions and outcomes differ so significantly and are never taken into account. Some ratings focus on National Institutes of Health funded research, or on a school’s reputation. These rankings favor large academic medical centers. Others, such as U.S. News and World report, rank on the production of primary care physicians. Their 2011 rankings had 11 osteopathic medical schools in the top 20.

The medical school referred to by the WGR website, was ranked 14th while the University of Washington was ranked 18th.

Regardless of whether they become primary care practitioners or pursue another medical specialty, the osteopathic medical profession believes that graduates of osteopathic medical colleges are better physicians because of the strong primary care foundation they received while in medical school. A larger percentage of osteopathic physicians practice in rural and medically underserved areas.

Dr. Marquart’s guaranteed salary is not out of the ordinary. It is in the middle range of salaries for orthopedic surgeons. It is common practice for hospitals to provide a guaranteed salary for a physician that is new to the area and has no established patients. The amount is usually based on the projected income to be brought in by the physician. Specialty surgeons have higher risks and overhead costs which is why their income is higher.

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Marquart completed a one-year internship followed by four years of residency training in a program affiliated with Michigan State University. To become board certified, he must complete and pass three exams: written, oral and clinical, and must complete at least 200 procedures over 12 months. He has five years from completion of his residency training to obtain certification. Dr. Marquart graduated from medical school in 2006 and completed his residency training a few months ago, which means he is not yet eligible to take the certification exams.

(Michael Picco, DO, another osteopathic orthopedic surgeon hired by the hospital, is board certified – another error on the ratings website.)

I understand that it is too late for Dr. Marquart, but I hope this information will enable your community to appreciate and support the next physician hired.

 

Kathleen S. Itter is executive director of the Washington Osteopathic Medical Association.

 

 

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