KK: How long have you been with USACS?
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 36 – No 02 – February 2017
DS: I’ve been with US Acute Care and its former self, EMP, since 1995.
KK: We’re talking about the transition of the emergency department services at Summa Health from Summa Emergency Associates to USACS on Dec. 31, 2016. I wanted to have a conversation with you to make sure that we heard directly from US Acute Care about exactly what has happened from your perspective. Can you provide some background about USACS?
DS: USACS is a coalition of physician-owned emergency groups (EMP and eight other independent physician-owned emergency groups) and is now the largest physician-owned emergency medicine group in the country.
KK: I think people may not be aware that you’re located right in Akron-Canton, Ohio, and have had business relationships with Summa before. Could you speak to your history with Summa? It didn’t just start Dec. 31.
DS: Correct. We have staffed three of the five Summa facilities in the past. We staffed two of them for over a decade prior to them becoming part of Summa, and one was a new build, freestanding, that we started staffing when they built it. We staffed them up until about three years ago when the system put out an RFP and consolidated all five sites into one ER contract [awarded to SEA].
KK: Getting into some of the controversial topics, did the hospital contract with you prior to the end of their agreement with SEA? Some have raised the question of whether or not Summa had already contracted with USACS.
DS: No. Let me give you the timeline. Their contract, from what I understand, was never terminated. Their contract expired at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and it sounds like they had been negotiating with the hospital for some time. There was never an RFP or any sense that we were going to be involved in a transition or that there would be a turnover of this group. We fully expected that SEA would renew. Until we got a call on Dec. 24, we knew nothing about this.
KK: Do you think you were contacted as a potential backup plan?
DS: Yes, we were contacted, and I’m told at least one other if not two other national groups were contacted for exactly that reason. They felt they needed a backup plan because they were being told that the doctors were going to walk out at midnight.