UW-Madison orthopedic head steps down after proposed ASC denied

Thomas Zdeblick, MD, who was chair of orthopedics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, resigned after his plan for a majority physician-owned ASC was denied, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Sept. 12.

Dr. Zdeblick's proposed ASC would be in the Madison, Wis., area, and 62 percent of it would be owned by UW physicians. The ASC would be 7,000 square feet and have two operating rooms.

Dr. Zdeblick, who has been orthopedics chair since 2000, told the State Journal the proposed ASC would help solve staffing-related capacity issues in UW Health's operating rooms.

Robert Golden, MD, dean of UW School of Medicine and Public Health, did not endorse the plan, and Dr. Zdeblick stepped down as chair of orthopedics June 27. According to letters the newspaper received in open records requests, Dr. Golden told Dr. Zdeblick the ASC would "deprive" the health system of "potential revenue," the report said.

Dr. Golden also argued that Dr. Zdeblick's plan to have UW physicians own the ASC would violate state law and UW-Madison's policies against using school positions for personal gain.

Dr. Zdeblick remains an orthopedics professor and director of the UW Spine Center. He told the State Journal he plans to retire in 2022 and is no longer pursuing the ASC. In 2011, his relationship with Medtronic and physician payments from the company were the subject of scrutiny.

Tammy Scerpella, MD, is interim chair of orthopedics.

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