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Former Hancock health center director now practicing in W.Va.

July 28, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

TRI-STATE -- Three months after losing his job at Tri-State Community Health Center in Hancock, Dr. Matthew Hahn has a new place to practice.

For about a month, he has been with Shenandoah Community Health.

Currently, he is at Shenandoah's center in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Starting the first week of August, he will be at Shenandoah's center in Winchester, Va., called Winchester Family Health Center.

Hahn said he looked at a few possibilities for a new practice in the Tri-State area.

"This just called out to me, for whatever reason," he said.

For Hahn, finding a new location ends a contentious battle with Tri-State Community Health Center over his role in forwarding complaints from other employees.

Hahn was Tri-State's medical director, but was dismissed from his job on April 30, his attorney, Lynne Bernabei, has said.

His unexplained dismissal after eight years led to an uprising by several patients who demanded to know why.

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Tri-State's board held a public meeting in May for people to air their opinions. Board members didn't respond.

Only one person at the meeting, Dennis Fandl of Warfordsburg, Pa., spoke in favor of Hahn's dismissal, compared to about 10 who were opposed.

A few days later, Hahn released a statement saying he lost his job when he tried "to assist a large number of Tri-State's employees to bring significant workplace problems to light."

Bernabei has said the complaints, which mentioned Tri-State Executive Director Leslie Colbrese, were about turnover, inefficiency, leadership and a lack of respect for the staff.

Colbrese and Tri-State board members haven't commented public about Hahn's dismissal, calling it a personnel matter.

A week after Hahn released his statement, Colbrese sent an e-mail from Tri-State saying, in part: "...(W)e will affirm that the information that was provided in several recent articles is unsubstantiated and not fully accurate."

Asked for specific examples, Colbrese declined to give any.

Hahn said this month that he gave up trying to get his job back.

"At a certain point, it was just time for people to move on," he said.

Supporters who lobbied for Hahn to keep his Tri-State job cited, among other things, his 2007 award as Maryland's Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner.

Hahn said he received another recognition last month, this time from the Maryland Academy of Family Physicians for "innovative and award-winning community public health initiatives."

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