Doctors reveal plan for heart hospital

Doctors reveal plan for heart hospital

Posted In: Uncategorized

Wichita Business Journal by Roz Hutchinson

Date: Sunday, February 23, 1997, 11:00pm CST

Two Wichita physicians this week announced plans to develop and build a $10 million single-specialty cardiovascular hospital near 29th Street North and Webb Road.

Dr. Gregory F. Duick, a cardiologist, and Dr. Badr Idbeis, a cardiothoracic surgeon, said that Via Christi Health System has signed a letter of intent for 40 percent ownership in the Kansas Heart Hospital.

As proposed, however, the other 60 percent -- and therefore majority ownership -- will be held by Duick, Idbeis and approximately 30 other physicians through an S corporation.

The hospital will be the culmination of a two-year dream, said Idbeis and Duick, noting that they know of no similarly owned and structured single-specialty hospital in the country -- or better way to contain health-care costs.

"Physicians write the orders so they determine the cost," Idbeis said. "The difference is (that) when physicians control costs they do it where it does not hurt the patient."

Plans calls for the heart hospital to be built on an 8.5-acre Via Christi-owned site south of the Kansas Surgery & Recovery Center.

Groundbreaking on the 47,000-square-foot facility -- designed by the Wichita architectural firm of McCluggage, Van Sickle & Perry -- is expected to be in June, with completion in fall 1998. A general contractor has not been selected.

LeRoy Rheault, president and chief executive officer for the Via Christi Health System, said that the deal "by no means (indicates that we) will we be out of the heart business."

(Rheault noted that Via Christi Regional Medical Center has continued to do orthopedic surgeries at its acute-care campus, even with the opening of the KS&RC in which it has the majority ownership.)

Initially, the heart hospital will perform lower-risk heart procedures and surgeries -- on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. But Duick and Idbeis said that when fully operational the facility will offer the full range of heart services.

Staff employment -- ranging from clerical to patient care positions -- is expected to be around 100.

Because of Medicare regulations and "Stark" laws regulating physician referrals to health services in which they have ownership, no more than 40 percent of the hospital's ownership will be held by physicians actively practicing at -- or making referrals to -- the heart hospital.

In addition, federal antitrust laws forbid all of area's heart specialists from participating in the hospital's ownership, the physicians said.

Board certified cardiologists and cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons who are not among the hospital's equity owners but who meet staff membership requirements will be allowed practice privileges.

"The intention is to keep the medical staff a closed medical staff model," Idbeis said. That means that once the hospital is staffed to the extent that needed services are covered, membership will be closed until a need arises.

The goal of the specialty hospital is not to squeeze other physicians out of the market place, but rather to put doctors back in the driver's seat, Duick and Idbeis said.

A single-specialty hospital like the one they've proposed will allow for development of clinical pathways and improved data collection, which in turn helps raise outcome standards, they said.

Like a recently formed gynecology group, the Kansas Heart Hospital likely will pursue direct contracts with third-party payers, the physicians said.

Idbeis, who will serve as chief surgery officer at the heart hospital, practices at Wichita Surgical Specialists. Duick, who will serve as its chief cardiology officer, is a partner in Cardiovascular Consultants of Kansas Inc.

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