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HomeCommunityConcerned Citizens for Cook County Healthcare Raises New Petition to NSH Board-

Concerned Citizens for Cook County Healthcare Raises New Petition to NSH Board-

County Healthcare (CCCCH), a non-profit advocate for transparent and effective leadership from the North Shore Health (NSH) Board of Directors, posted a new online petition on March 13th. The petition seeks an independent review of Dr. Bruce Dahlman’s termination last fall by the hospital-chosen contract employee provider, Wapiti Medical Staffing.

Wapiti is a for-profit agency that provides NSH with ER doctors and other professionals. Dr. Dahlman, a long-time resident of Cook County, has served NSH for 40 years.

In a review of Dahlman’s termi­nation by NSH staff, made pub­lic by the NSH board of directors this winter, Dahlman was cited for a dozen so-called violations, each occurring between July 2023 and the renewal date of his contract, No­vember 1, 2023. Dahlman says nei­ther Wapiti nor NSH notified him of those violations until November 1, 2023, when Wapiti terminated his contract, and he was offered no opportunity to defend his record. His contract with Wapiti contained language that prevented him from working directly for any facility where he worked as a Wapiti con­tractor. Thus, he could not be hired directly by NSH going forward.

CCCCH arose after some of its leadership withdrew a petition it had started online in November, calling for the board to terminate hospital CEO Kimber Wralstad and reinstate Dr. Dahlman. The petition had more than 700 signers with­in days of going live online when the hospital board called a “closed-door” meeting to discuss possible legal action for defamation, not naming who or what was consid­ered defamatory. Petition organiz­ers were intimidated and withdrew the petition.

Specifically, the current petition, which is at www.change.org,  is ask­ing “that the NSH Board of Direc­tors engage an impartial third party to conduct an independent investi­gation into Dr. Dahlman’s dismiss­al to include an assessment of how a negative workplace culture may have contributed to a concerning number of locally based profession­als leaving NSH over the past five to six years.”

CCCCH rejects the board’s inter­nal review of those issues, finding it inadequate and incomplete. The pe­tition asks that the inquiry’s results be reported to the public.

Petitioners end with this state­ment, “We believe such an inves­tigation could go a long way in restoring trust and confidence in North Shore Health.”

Dr. Dahlman has accepted an as­signment with a staffing firm that provides ER doctors to the Inter­national Falls, MN, hospital. The Dahlmans have rented their Grand Marais house to a young pastor and his family, recently called to the Grand Marais Evangelical Free Church. They’ve taken an apart­ment in the Twin Cities to be near and care for the doctor’s 95-year-old father, who is in assisted living. Dr. Dahlman will also be in Nige­ria and Kenya for medical missions this spring.

“We have always considered Grand Marais our home,” Dr. Dahlman said. “We’d be back in a heartbeat.”

Dr. Dahlman supports CCCCH and its petition for an independent review of his termination.

He’s very concerned about the sit­uation at NSH, which has led to the departure of medical professionals and other staff. He describes man­agement’s philosophy as “Kick out rather than listen to us, which is to the detriment of patient care.”

In a March 17 report to its mem­bers, the CCCCH steering commit­tee states, “Our group’s focus is necessarily on the actions and inac­tions of the board members. It’s the only reasonable portal for commu­nity members to attempt to address how the hospital is managed.”

The report reiterates the group’s primary purpose: “We want an in­dependent investigation into Dr. Dahlman’s termination and the workplace culture at NSH, and we want improved accessibility at board meetings and better access to our elected representatives when we have questions.”

Members of CCCCH have be­come regular attendees at NSH’s monthly board meetings and appear to have had some success in getting the board to provide amplification devices that allow hard-of-hearing citizens to participate in discus­sions.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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