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Doctors Fired From Clinic Protest Publicly

March 23, 1994|KAY SAILLANT

Two doctors fired from a clinic that serves the county's poor said Tuesday that they were unfairly targeted because they challenged the clinic's management over patient care issues.

Martha Gonzalez and Victor Pulido stood outside Clinicas del Camino Real in Oxnard near a florescent green sign that read, "We were forced to abandon our patients."

The doctors also handed out balloons with sad faces drawn on them to children entering the clinic with their families. It was their second day of public protest over the job action, Gonzalez said.

"This clinic purports to champion the cause of the Hispanic community and here are two excellent Hispanic doctors who are fired," Gonzalez said.

Pulido said Clinicas' patients will face longer waits for appointments and lose continuity in their care because he and Gonzalez were terminated.

The doctors clashed with management when they protested a policy stating that Clinicas' physicians would not be paid if they left the clinic during a shift to care for indigent patients in the hospital, Pulido said.

"We get docked for our time lost serving in the clinic," Pulido said.

But Clinicas' Executive Director Robert Juarez said that is not true.

"That is a total falsehood," he said. "They have been paid for all amounts due to them."

Juarez said he cannot comment on why Pulido and Gonzalez were dismissed earlier this month because it is a personnel issue. But he said there was no unfair treatment.

He also contested the doctors' assertion that patient care will suffer as a result of their termination.

"All of our patients have access to other physicians that we have on staff," he said.

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