A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been filed by a local physician against Bon Secours Mercy Health Inc, Mercy Health Physicians Cincinnati LLC, and three of their employees including the Chief Operating Officer of Mercy Health Physicians- Cincinnati, Courtney Seitz.
Dr. Cory Gaiser, the Plaintiff in the suit and former employee of Mercy Health, alleges in the 23-page lawsuit filed on Wednesday by his legal team, 7 counts of illegal acts that transpired over the course of his employment as a Mercy physician and continued after his termination in September of this year.
According to the lawsuit, Dr. Gaiser received a letter of separation from Mercy Health, on June 11, 2020, with the reason cited from his employer for termination as, “without cause.” The suit goes on to state that an exit interview was requested by Dr. Gaiser before his official termination date. The Cheviot Gazette reached out to Mercy Health for clarification about Dr. Gaiser’s termination, but our request for comment was declined.
Page 5 of the lawsuit states, “Early on June 11, 2020, it was announced in the Cincinnati Business Courier that Dr. Gaiser had been awarded the 2020 Health Care Hero Award for Internal Medicine based on his unwavering dedication to his patients as a physician at Mercy Health.” A mere few hours later after winning the award, he was informed by management that he was being terminated not-for-cause, out of business necessity, and that his contract would not be renewed.
During that meeting, Dr. Gaiser was informed that he would be staying on as an employee for an additional 90 days. However, he was also instructed at the time of his termination that he would not be given access to see or treat patients during this period.
The day following the meeting, a letter dated June 12, 2020, and signed by Chief Operating Officer, Courtney Seitz, was sent to all 1,346 of Dr. Gaiser’s patients.
The letter explained Dr. Gaiser would no longer be providing care at Mercy Health. Conspicuously absent was any contact information for Dr. Gaiser, instead contending that, “Currently, we do not have information on Dr. Gaiser’s future plans.” The letter went on to say patients could transfer to another Primary Care provider within Mercy Health (their addresses were included) or establish with a new provider.
Adding confusion to the fire, Mercy Health allegedly withheld Dr. Gaiser’s contact information from his former patients who were inquiring about his whereabouts. Gaiser’s legal team, represented by Martini Legal LLC, concludes that Mercy Health’s actions caused a delay of several months for these patients to obtain care. The lawsuit states, “Out of desperation, some of these patients managed to locate Dr. Gaiser, via a Google search on their own, to get much-needed treatment. Dr. Gaiser even arranged to see them at his home, including a patient who was very ill, on a Saturday evening.
In addition to Courtney Sietz, Chief Operating Officer, being individually named in the suit, Michael Rinck, Practice Manager, and Nikki Bonhaus, M.D., a Mercy Health Physician, both Mercy employees, are named in the lawsuit.
The 7 counts filed against the defendants range from Deceptive Trade Practices and Unfair Competition to Defamation, Tortious Interference with Business Relationships, and Wrongful Termination.
A trial date has not yet been set for this case.