Three veteran pediatricians have filed suit against their former employer, Hackensack Meridian Health, for firing them in what was supposed to be a cost-cutting move, in favor of younger and less experienced pediatricians. Hackensack Meridian Health is one of the largest hospital and health care chains in New Jersey and operates a dozen acute care hospitals.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in New Jersey Superior Court in Essex County last week, the three pediatricians, all board-certified in pediatric emergency medicine, worked at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack and were the oldest pediatricians at the hospital when they were fired in February. Hospital executives said at the time that this was the result of severely reduced patient volume due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The suit states that the hospital received $98 million in pandemic relief from the federal government and kept on five pediatric emergency room physicians, all hired in 2019 and 2020. All the pediatricians kept on the hospital staff during the cost-cutting time were under the age of 40 and none of them were board-certified in pediatric emergency medicine.
The fired pediatricians recounted being escorted from the hospital by security and not allowed the time to say goodbye to their colleagues, and told they needed to leave due to hospital finances forcing the reduction of staff. All three of the doctors filing suits had earned $20,000 bonuses in 2020 and had renewed their contracts for three years in August, the lawsuit said.
Part of their severance package was three months wages totaling $210,000 and continued health benefits. Part-time and per-diem physicians remain on the staff, some of whom are earning more per hour than full-time doctors, the lawsuit states.
Philadelphia physician employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C., are knowledgeable and experienced advocates for health care professionals. For over 35 years, firm founder Sidney L. Gold has worked closely with medical professionals to protect and defend their legal rights. Call 215-569-1999 or complete an online form to schedule a consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, the firm serves clients in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania