In the Matter of St. Cloud Medical Group/ Centra Care Health # 00010

Submission Number:
00010
Commenter:
Kim Schaap
Organization:
St. Cloud Orthopedics
State:
Minnesota
Initiative Name:
In the Matter of St. Cloud Medical Group/ Centra Care Health
Matter Number:

1610096

To Whom It May Concern - I have practiced Orthopedic Surgery in St. Cloud, MN for over 17 years, as a member of the private group of orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists, DBA St. Cloud Orthopedics. I have served as Chief of Staff for the St. Cloud Hospital, which is the largest and anchor hospital for Centracare Health System. I have also served as the physician champion for 5 years in the process of partnering with St. Cloud Hospital to achieve Joint Commission certification for knee and hip replacement. I have served on the St. Cloud Hospital Credentials committee and Leadership council for over 7 years. There has been a consistent message from the partners at St. Cloud Orthopedics of our intent to partner with St. Cloud Hospital and Centracare Health System to provide the highest quality, lowest cost and local care for our patient population. The current decision to allow the acquisition of St. Cloud Medical Group by Centracare Health System poses a clear and credible threat to the availability to the people of Central Minnesota to low cost, high quality care with a choice. Within hours of the announcement of the decision by the FTC to allow this deal to move forward based on "hardship" status, our group was contacted to participate in an urgent meeting with Centracare Administration. The message was clear - "We will now control 79,000 primary care "lives", so if you want to remain viable, you will either agree to negotiate with us or we will hire our own orthopedists and compete with you directly." Also, as the physicians of the St. Cloud Medical Group began to review their anticipated employment contracts, they were told that they should now be scheduling all cases at a Centracare facility, and not at the St. Cloud Surgical Center - the only free-standing ASC and non-Centracare surgical entity within 30 miles of St. Cloud. Both of these actions, indicate the intent of Centracare to direct patient care away for an established value center, and also limit the ability of medical practitioners to compete against an entity the size of, and with the scope of influence, the size of Centracare Health System. I believe the completion of this deal with leave Centracare Health System in an unacceptable position of power, with no local or even regional competition, not only in the primary care market, but also in the specialty arena where they will have sole control of almost all referral patterns within a 60 mile radius of St. Cloud. I encourage you to review the information as presented, and consider rescinding the plan to allow this acquisition to proceed. Sincerely - Kim S. Schaap, MD St. Cloud Orthopedics