Idaho ASC files lawsuit against AmSurg, cites mismanagement: 7 things to know

A Twin Falls, Idaho-based ASC filed a lawsuit against Nashville, Tenn.-based AmSurg and Twin Falls NSC, complaining of "gross mismanagement" and alleging the companies did not support strategic planning after competitor Twin Falls-based St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center opened an outpatient surgery center, among other issues, according to a Magic report.

Here are seven things to know:

1. In 1998, physicians opened Sawtooth Surgery Center and reported successful growth and development in the Twin Falls community for eight years before bringing on National Surgical Corp. to acquire 51 percent ownership in 2007. According to the report, the ASC remained largely successful until NSC sold a majority of its ownership in the center to AmSurg in 2011.

2. The lawsuit alleges Sawtooth's performance "deteriorated" between 2011 and 2017, when AmSurg and Twin Falls NSC were "superimposing generic corporate resources on a surgery center that was uniquely situated and uniquely affected by market conditions." Included in those market conditions was a local hospital, St. Luke's Magic Valley, opening a new outpatient surgery center where physicians began taking cases.

3. In the lawsuit, Sawtooth reported physician satisfaction dropped from 70 percent in 2012 to 25 percent in 2013, citing issues with scheduling, on-time starts, patient wait times and property management issues. The ASC also stated that physicians were dissatisfied with the building maintenance and a lack of support for strategic planning.

4. According to the lawsuit, patient charges significantly increased after AmSurg acquired a portion of the center, leading to patient complaints. Although the suit states AmSurg reduced the charges, Sawtooth alleges the company "looked to other means of squeezing profitability."

5. As a result of the center's challenges, the lawsuit states ophthalmologists considered leaving the center in 2013, and ultimately reduced case load and then left the center in 2017. Sawtooth alleges in the lawsuit that the management companies did not provide support for the center during discussions to maintain a relationship with the ophthalmology group.

6. In 2017, Twin Falls NSC did not renew the ASC's option to lease its property without notice.

7. The ASC has filed a lawsuit against Twin Falls ASC and AmSurg seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

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