Part 2: Aspen Valley Hospital candidates talk acquisitions, qualifications | AspenTimes.com

Part 2: Aspen Valley Hospital candidates talk acquisitions, qualifications

Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a three-part series featuring questions for the candidates for Aspen Valley Hospital’s board of directors. The final part runs Friday.

Today’s two questions regard the hospital’s acquisitions of private practices and the candidates’ qualifications for the board.

Seven candidates are vying for two seats on the board of directors, one of which is held by incumbent Mindy Nagle. Ballots have been mailed to residents within the hospital district and must be returned by 7 p.m. May 3. They can either be mailed or dropped off at Aspen Valley Hospital, located at 401 Castle Creek Road.

Are you in support of the hospital’s recent acquisition of private practices, namely Aspen Orthopedics?

Candidate: Greg Balko

Yes, I was in support. To set the record straight, there were not many other options available. Aspen Orthopaedic Associates approached the hospital as they needed assistance to keep their practice viable. The hospital in turn spent a considerable amount of time negotiating with the physicians, which ultimately has led to OrthoAspen. I will admit that the transition has had its ups and downs, but I think the end result where the individual doctor’s sub-specializing will, in the long run, serve the patients, doctors and hospital well.

Candidate: Peter Hershberger

As I understand the matter, the hospital did what it had to do to keep world-class orthopedic surgeons here in the valley. The surgeons have a long history with the people of Aspen, and I believe it was very wise to facilitate keeping them in the valley. If you were a patient of the orthopedic practice, you know the transition to a hospital-based group was a bit rough but not unexpected with the simultaneous departure of half the administrative team.

Candidate: Michael Lyons

The full story of Aspen Orthopaedics has not been made public. I believe there may be factors, other than just the hospital wishing to acquire the practice at play. Patient care needs to be the No. 1 consideration in deciding whether to incorporate any further practices into the hospital. The hospital is here to serve the community and its citizens, and we need to do what’s best of the community. I imagine this needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. I do stand with doctors being able to make the best decisions for their patients and would not want hospital administration to interfere in that relationship.

Candidate: Mindy Nagle

The hiring of the orthopedic surgeons was done to maintain stability in that service for our patients. With the group coming to the hospital with financial issues within their practice, the hiring of the physicians was the most appropriate course to continue the excellence of orthopedic care provided by those physicians.

Candidate: Joseph Nedlin

I do not have the necessary information to provide a good answer. However, this is becoming more and more prevalent in hospitals across the country. What I have experienced is that assimilation by a hospital of a practice must be followed up by the hospitals full planned support. Bringing a specialty practice (any practice) needs guidance of a strong CEO and board.

Candidate: Rudi Scheidt

I do support the AVH’s most recent acquisition of Aspen Orthopaedic Associates. This has been a trend throughout the hospital industry in the United States. Acquiring private practices, hospitals are able to streamline insurance and administrative costs, provide steady income for doctors and increase profitability.

Candidate: Eric Willsky

It is possible for larger hospitals to acquire practices and make it work. In this case, I think the community and physicians would have been much better served if a more collaborative arrangement had been reached, e.g. a professional services agreement. It is extremely difficult for a small hospital to have the resources to manage physician practices.

What can you bring to the board that your challengers cannot?

Candidate: Greg Balko

Experience and perspective. Ever since I joined the medical staff 17 years ago, I have been actively involved in hospital, medical staff and board committees. Of all my prior experiences, the most notable is that I served on the hospital board in 2004 to 2008. During that time, we took the hospital from a period of financial uncertainty to stability. As an emergency physician, I have the unique opportunity of providing care to all segments of our population: the rich, the indigent and everyone in between, including throngs of visitors. This gives me the opportunity to have my finger on the pulse of the hospital and community.

Candidate: Peter Hershberger

I’m an insider that interacts with all the departments in the hospital. I take after-hours call such that I see the hospital all hours of the day and night. I receive care at the hospital as well as participate in others’ care. As I previously mentioned, I have been the president of my HOA for 10 years and have brought 100 homeowners together to solve the problems we face living in our very small valley.

Candidate: Michael Lyons

Several candidates running for the board derive much of their income directly from the hospital. I believe there needs to be more separation between the board and those financially benefiting from its decisions. I also bring a longtime local’s perspective to the board and have extensive relationships in the community, having lived here nearly all my life. I believe I am best positioned to bridge the growing gap between AVH and the community it serves.

Candidate: Mindy Nagle

I feel my strength on the board previously and going forward is my background as a practicing physician at AVH for the last 15 years. The challenges of health care are many, and having the knowledge from a patient-care standpoint, I believe, is very important to balance the board. My experience on the board over the last eight years and involvement in the many initiatives that we are involved in also allows a continuation of those goals including moving forward with the CEO search, The completion of Electronic Health Information initiative as well as completion of the Master Facility Plan.

Candidate: Joseph Nedlin

Twenty years of experience, access to professionals that could and would guide the hospital forward if necessary and a firm understanding of what has worked, what does not work and the need to understand that the health care system is not good and will get worse before it gets better.

Candidate: Rudi Scheidt

I am the only candidate whose background is not rooted or associated with the Aspen Valley Hospital. By having an “outside looking in” viewpoint, I will provide an unbiased and new perspective when planning for the Aspen Valley Hospital’s future.

Candidate: Eric Willsky

Expertise in CEO search, selection and evaluation. Bring back a much more collaborative environment between the management, the hospital staff and the physicians.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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