A free market minded physician in St. Louis sent me this.  Nothing brings the healthcare corporate low lifes out to a city council meeting like a little competition.  This entrepreneurial orthopedic surgeon was able to obtain a zoning ruling allowing him to keep his patients up to three nights after their surgery without being classified as a hospital.  This will allow him to perform total joint replacements and all manner of cases much too complex to be performed on a simple outpatient basis.  

SSM health care says, “it’s not fair,” essentially.  Arguing that this new facility doesn’t have to maintain an emergency room that “takes all comers” is the old worn out argument they used.  St. Anthony hospital here in Oklahoma City, belonging to the SSM system, not satisfied with all of the “red ink” generated by their emergency room, has built free-standing emergency rooms here in the Oklahoma City area.  They just can’t get enough of this bad business, I guess!  

Hats off to Dr. Paletta, St. Louis orthopedist.  He has looked the dragon in the eye and he prevailed.  I’ll be watching to see if he posts his prices.  Imagine the reaction of the big box hospitals then.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.