Florida plastic surgeon sues HCA over surgery center deal

A group of orthopaedic surgeons sue HCA Healthcare On Wednesday, the health system was accused of engaging in anticompetitive behavior and trying to dominate the market for orthopedic surgery services by weeding out competitors.

More than a dozen physicians at the Kennedy White Orthopaedic Center in Sarasota, Florida, claim that HCA has reduced the “quality, reputation and competence of surgical practice” by prioritizing its wholly-owned hospitals as landowners and managers. complain.

The complaint alleges that HCA and the Kennedy White Orthopaedic Center have had a partnership since 1995, with HCA as the general partner and majority owner of the partnership.

Michael Taaffe, a partner at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick and attorney representing the surgeon, said HCA has made profits from the facility but has not reinvested in its maintenance.

“Kennedy White made this arrangement on the assumption that HCA would do everything to promote the facility, keep it updated, keep it clean, keep it up and running,” Taff said. “And they haven’t done it yet.”

Surgeons claim HCA limits capacity at their centers, moves patients and staff to nearby HCA-owned hospitals, affects their medical equipment and supplier pricing, and doesn’t pay for center maintenance.

The HCA said in an emailed statement that it disagreed with the lawsuit’s allegations.

“We value our partnerships with physicians and are proud of our decades of together delivering high-quality patient care and serving our communities,” HCA said.

Likewise, he said, HCA still does not allow its independent same-day surgery centers to keep patients for up to 23 hours, which is anti-competitive and is standard practice in Florida.

“Nobody wants to go to a hospital where they’re exposed to other illnesses, illnesses, the flu, or COVID-19,” Taff said. “They want to have surgery in an outpatient setting, in a same-day surgery center, where they’re not sick. patients or other diseases with which they may have been in contact.”

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick and Surgery Center Attorney.

HCA owns four of the eight private hospitals in the Sarasota area. It also operates four outpatient surgery centers, including the Physician’s Same-Day Surgery Center.

The Nashville, Tennessee-based organization has 46 health care sites across Florida, with it market share draws attention to its growing presence.

Joe Lupica, chairman of Newpoint Healthcare Advisors, said that when it comes to joint ambulatory surgery centers, there is always an inherent divergence of interests between the hospital and the joint venture that needs to be managed.

“The question is why is HCA putting all its energy into building a surgery center if it’s just going to send patients elsewhere,” Lupica said. “These executives are under pressure to do well, and they are motivated to do well in the ASC business.”

The surgery center spent more than a year trying to resolve the issues listed in the HCA complaint, but was fired by the company, Taaffe said.

If members of the surgical practice say they want to end their partnership with the HCA, Taaffe said they discourage doing so, as the HCA warns physicians of the reduced value of the partnership’s shares and business limitations after the contract is terminated, so they are discouraged from doing so .

Through the lawsuit, the surgeons are seeking to end the partnership between HCA and the Kennedy White Orthopaedic Center and are seeking about $1 million in damages and for HCA to purchase the center’s remaining ownership units.

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