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Sports medicine practice changing partners

An orthopedic practice that has a relationship through sports medicine with area high schools is switching its affiliation from Park Ridge Health to Pardee Hospital.

With the change, Pardee gains a partnership with the practice that includes seven orthopedic surgeons and a physiatrist, a physician who is a specialist in rehabilitation medicine. The practice, Southeastern Sports Medicine, has two locations in Hendersonville and offices in Waynesville and South Asheville at Turtle Creek. Under the new agreement, the practice will add an office at the Mission Pardee Health Campus in Fletcher and consolidate the two Hendersonville offices, Pardee CEO Jay Kirby said.
“My understanding is their contract was coming to term and they were looking at their alternatives,” Kirby said. “And with those alternatives they chose Pardee as their partner for the future.
“Athletic training is something they’ve been very good at for many years,” Kirby added. “They have athletic training contracts and oversight for high schools in Hendersonville, in Buncombe County, in Waynesville and I believe even in Polk. Clearly, they’ve been a leader in sports medicine for some time.”
Kirby sidestepped the question of whether landing the new practice was a coup for Pardee in the robust competition among Western North Carolina providers for paying customers.
“I think it’s a coup for the patients,” he said. “By providing more patients access to the quality and the outcomes associated with Pardee I think our community wins. Clearly, there are financial implications with any transaction, with any partnership, but I think the winner here is the patient.”
Southeastern’s incumbency in many schools, he said, does not mean trainers can steer quarterbacks, cross country runners and point guards to the practice’s surgeons.
“I think No. 1, the athletic trainers are there first and foremost for the student athletes and for the schools — to educate the students, educate coaching staff, educate parents — but clearly it’s the parents’ choice as to where their child needs to and wants to go,” he said. “But I’m not naïve enough to think that relationships aren’t formed between the trainers and the student athletes. Not all sports medicine injuries are orthopedic in nature. We’d like to be able to be the provider of choice but at the end of the day that choice is the parents’.”
Park Ridge said it would adjust to the change.
“Park Ridge operates the largest primary care network in Henderson County,” Communications Director Victoria Dunkle said. “Our primary care providers have partnered with Southeastern Sports Medicine for the orthopedic care of their patients for years. This has been a relationship we have valued for many years and both Park Ridge and Southeastern have grown significantly with this partnership. But as we look toward 2016, Park Ridge is going to be partnering with other leading orthopedic providers in our region and we will be making a series of announcements.”
On the business side, Dunkle pointed out that Park Ridge has the rest of this calendar year to form its own new partnerships.
“This really doesn’t come down to a money issue,” she said. “We’ve just come off one of our best years in his last year and we’re looking toward 2016 being even bigger and better. It’s not about the money. It’s about offering the quality of care to our patients.”
As for which orthopedic practices Park Ridge might recruit, “It’s too soon to be sharing any information along those lines,” Dunkle said. “I can tell you no one here is sweating bullets.”