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Doctors to buy medical center

Eben Harrell

The Orthopaedic Associates of Aspen and Glenwood will likely purchase the Midvalley Medical Center from Aspen Valley Hospital as part of a larger effort by the center’s doctors to take over the facility.The orthopedic surgeons, who already have offices at the center, will pay AVH $3.6 million for the building in order to match an offer from an unnamed private investor, according to sources within Orthopaedic Associates. The sale will likely go through by the end of the month.After the purchase, Orthopaedic Associates will sell individual office spaces to the building’s current tenants.The Midvalley Medical Center, located off Highway 82 between Basalt and El Jebel, was purchased by AVH in 2000 and provides rental space for the Alpine Medical Group, Roaring Fork Physical Therapy, All-Valley Women’s Care, Aspen Valley Pediatrics, the Midvalley Ambulatory Surgery Center and Orthopaedic Associates.”It was always the plan for the doctors to buy their own space,” Orthopaedic Associates Executive Director George Trantow said. “But this private investor really pushed the timeline, so we’re going to have to front the money for the other doctors. In the end, each doctor will purchase their own discreet office space and then pay shared expenses.”Trantow said the move indicates a commitment among the center’s tenants to stay put and serve the midvalley.The commitment spells good news for AVH, according to hospital CEO David Ressler. The midvalley is an important battleground for AVH, as patients are split geographically between Aspen Valley Hospital and Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. All the physicians at the Midvalley Medical Center have affiliations with AVH.Ressler would not confirm the status of the proposed sale, but he said the agreement, when it goes through, will not hinder AVH’s ability to serve midvalley patients.”Our presence in the midvalley is not affected by this,” Ressler said. “What matters most is what services we provide to patients and the manner in which we facilitate the practice of the physicians. That obviously won’t change.”AVH Chief Financial Officer Terry Collins said the hospital began pursuing the sale of the medical center this year in an effort to free up cash as it recovers from its recent financial crisis.”There’s a belief out there that philosophically hospitals need to own buildings,” Collins said. “But we think it’s the right move to free up this cash. When you have an extra $3.6 million in the bank, you’ve got more options.”Collins added that the $3.6 million price tag was above the building’s recently appraised value.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com