Please Right this Unhealthy Wrong, Governor: RI Appears to Have Simply Washed Its Hands of Skoly’s Ward of State Patients

As is now widely known, the Rhode Island Department of Health, under then-Director Nicole Alexander-Scott and and by Governor Dan McKee’s authority, ordered Dr. Stephen Skoly, Chairman of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, to stop caring for patients in early October. Dr. Alexander-Scott’s order baselessly declared Skoly an “imminent threat to the health of the public” for his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In doing so, she ignored hundreds of years of science and clear evidence about natural immunity. (Dr. Skoly has natural immunity to COVID-19.) Two thousand one hundred patients, including hundreds of ward of state patients, were abruptly deprived of the vital services of their doctor.

As I report on Anchor Rising, I contacted the Rhode Island Department Health last month to ask how the state was providing for the medical needs of Dr. Skoly’s ward of state patients after sidelining their doctor. The DOH spokesman advised,

In terms of Dr. Skoly’s patients, Eleanor Slater Hospital is working to ensure continuity of care for these patients.

Eleanor Slater Hospital did not respond to my inquiries about the status of continuity of care of those hundreds of Dr. Skoly’s ward of state patients. Further, Dr. Skoly advised me that no doctor or provider had contacted his office requesting the files of any of those patients, which would indicate a new provider had taken over care of a patient. There is, accordingly, no indication whether any of those patients are receiving medical care following the state-ordered withdrawal of their doctor.

It is difficult to blame Eleanor Slater Hospital for either their non-response to inquiries or their inaction, if that is the situation. That facility has had its hands full grappling with its own operating and funding problems.

No, the responsibility for this situation rests solely with Governor McKee and then-DOH Director Dr. Alexander-Scott. They made the decision to deprive hundreds of ward of state patients of their doctor, Stephen Skoly, for a reason that has nothing to do with public or patient health and safety; hand their medical needs over to a troubled, non-responsive facility and wash their hands of them.

Mike Stenhouse correctly notes that Governor McKee has a major opportunity to remake the Department of Health and begin setting policy on the basis of science and the best interest of the public health.

I would echo that. In fact, Governor McKee has the perfect confluence of events to kick it off and simultaneously remedy the Skoly situation. The departure of his Director of Health has been followed shortly by the release of a new, indisputable report by the CDC about the strength of natural immunity.

Governor McKee can with a clear conscience now lift the vaccine mandate on healthcare workers. That would enable 1,300 workers to return to a badly shortstaffed healthcare system and allow one oral and maxillofacial specialist, hundreds of whose patients appear to have been left at best in medical limbo by the state’s own indefensible actions, to rightfully resume his practice.

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