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IU Health fights Franciscan over family doc

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In a sign of the times, Indiana University Health is fighting Franciscan St. Francis Health in court over a single primary care physician in Martinsville.

IU Health Morgan Hospital sued Dr. Dianna Boyer on Aug. 3 in Morgan Superior Court to stop her from moving her practice to a facility Franciscan is building in Martinsville, according to an Aug. 11 article in the Martinsville Reporter-Times.

On Tuesday, a judge will consider IU Health’s request for a preliminary injunction.

IU Health contends Boyer signed a non-compete agreement with Morgan Hospital back in 2002—long before its acquisition by IU Health this year. The agreement says that if she leaves Morgan Hospital, she cannot set up a competing practice within 30 miles of Martinsville for two years.

Furthermore, IU Health contends, Boyer has been asking her patients to consider transferring their records to her new location.

Boyer is supposed to end her job with IU Health on Aug. 29 and start with Franciscan on Sept. 1. Boyer declined to comment to the Reporter-Times, as did Franciscan spokesman Joe Stuteville.

Franciscan is not a party in the lawsuit. But there has been bad blood between Franciscan and IU Health for months.

Franciscan St. Francis CEO Bob Brody said in May that his hospital had made offers to hire “a number of” family physicians in Martinsville, which sparked an angry response from IU Health Morgan CEO Tom Laux.

“For a faith-based system to ‘raid’ the medical staff of our community-sponsored [hospital] also appears to violate basic principles of fairness, respect and professional ethics, with absolutely no added community benefit or tax-exempt, charitable purpose,” Laux wrote in a May 5 letter to employees obtained by the Reporter-Times. “We are exploring legal remedies that may be available to us.”

But Brody defended Franciscan’s moves, saying his hospital had worked for years with physicians practicing in Martinsville. He also noted that it’s common for physicians to work with multiple hospitals.

But that last statement is anachronistic. Every hospital system in Indianapolis is madly trying to lock up physicians—especially family doctors—because health plans now want to pay them for how well they keep a specific population of patients healthy over time.

Hospitals know family doctors and other primary care providers are critical to getting patients into their hospital systems and generating referrals to the rest of their operations.

The average primary care physician gets paid about $170,000 per year, according to the latest survey by Texas-based recruitment firm Merritt Hawkins. But a primary care doctor generates 10 times as much money for a hospital by referring patients for high-dollar surgeries and other services.

Franciscan is feeling particularly threatened right now as IU Health and Indianapolis-based Community Health Network have expanded in Franciscan’s territory in the southern suburbs of Indianapolis.

Community expanded its hospital on County Line Road near Greenwood and formed a partnership with Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin. IU Health acquired Morgan Hospital and still has land near Bargersville on which it could build a facility.

Franciscan has countered with the facility in Martinsville and a new $20 million emergency room and medical office complex near Greenwood. Also, Franciscan acquired a medical office building in Carmel—its first foray into the northern suburbs.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

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  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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