On January 23, 2020, surgeon Dr. John Hassapis, through his lawyers at Albert Law PLLC, filed a lawsuit in Snohomish County Court against WhidbeyHealth hospital for failure to pay his salary. This is the second lawsuit Albert Law PLLC has filed against the hospital. Last year WhidbeyHealth settled an age discrimination case with the firm for $1.5 million.
The lawsuit alleges WhidbeyHealth agreed to pay Dr. Hassapis 35% of his “gross charges” up to 75% of standard pay for a surgeon, in order to “incentivize his productivity.” It alleges Dr. Hassapis permanently moved his family to WhidbeyHealth and became the hospital’s “most productive surgeon.” It states, “for six years,” WhidbeyHealth “declined to honor its contract while demanding the level of productivity it had come to expect from him.”
When Dr. Hassapis “escalated his demands that WhidbeyHealth honor its contract,” the hospital “prematurely terminated his employment without paying him,” the complaint read. The hospital has been struggling with finances for the last three years and parted ways with former CEO Geryl Forbes after the $1.5m age discrimination suit.
“It’s simple math” said Gregory Albert, attorney at Albert Law PLLC. “They should have paid him 35% of his gross charges like they agreed in the contract. Now they are going to pay legal expenses too. I don’t know where this money is coming from.”
The complaint states that Dr. Hassapis billed more than $3 million in charges in each of the last two fiscal years.
Albert continued, "we all want WhidbeyHealth to succeed. But not without paying its doctors who help them do that." He asked, “how can it attract quality doctors and nurses if they think they might not get paid?”
Unwilling to leave the island that has become his home, Dr. Hassapis set up a new surgical clinic, “Whidbey General Surgery,” in Coupeville WA, which will be up and running later this year.