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LMH completes deal to buy one of the largest doctor groups in Lawrence; talk of more health care shakeups continues


There is a new trend in the Lawrence medical industry, and thankfully this one doesn’t involve a doctor trying to convince me that Doritos — hello, they’re corn — aren’t part of the vegetable group. Instead, it involves independently owned doctors’ offices being bought by hospitals. The latest deal involves one of the largest primary care practices in the city being bought by Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

LMH and The Reed Medical Group have finalized a deal in which five of the doctors at Reed have become employees at LMH. The hospital took ownership of the practice on July 1, and the name changed to Reed Internal Medicine. The practice continues to be located in its longtime building at Fourth and Maine, which is essentially across the street from the hospital.

Janice Early, vice president of communications for LMH, said the transition for patients should be relatively seamless. The doctors involved in the deal are Donald Hatton, Joan Brunfeldt, Lida Osbern, Philip Hoffmann and Walter Farrell. Drs. Elaine Kennedy and Eric Huerter will be affiliated with the group but won’t be LMH employees. As we have reported, those two doctors have been operating under a different business model. They offer “concierge” service, which confused me because I thought I had found a doctor who not only would endorse my Dorito intake but actually deliver them to me on my couch. Instead, the service refers to more of a membership model for health care. The doctors take on a limited number of patients, and each patient pays an annual fee to have extended access to the physician and to receive more in-depth treatment and preventive services. Huerter and Kennedy will continue to operate out of the Reed building and will continue to have privileges at LMH. They’ll operate their practice separately, though, under the name Reed Medical Group MDVIP Affiliates.

Early said the other doctors in the Reed Group approached LMH about taking over their practices. She said that is becoming a more common scenario as regulations, information technology demands and other such items become more demanding for independent practices.

“I think they look to the hospital as a potential partner because we have the infrastructure in place to handle those issues, and they can focus on practicing medicine instead of the business side of medicine,” Early said.

Reed becomes the eighth primary care practice owned by LMH. In addition, the hospital owns 13 specialty care practices. The deal comes on the heels of news that LMH is in negotiations with OrthoKansas to form a partnership to build a new state-of-the-art orthopedic facility in Lawrence. We reported in March that the two sides were in serious negotiations to build a multimillion-dollar facility that provides services in hand, shoulder, elbow, foot, ankle, hip and knee replacements and other such services.

Early confirmed that those discussions are still underway, and the hospital remains confident that a deal will be struck with OrthoKansas, perhaps by the end of the summer.

Talk of an OrthoKansas partnership came after KU hospital reached a deal with Dr. Jeffrey Randall — a sports medicine doctor who previously was with OrthoKansas — to open a new orthopedic practice in Lawrence. Randall’s practice, which is part of the University of Kansas Health Systems Sports Medicine and Performance Center, has moved into its new facilities at the Corporate Centre off of Wakarusa Drive. The practice represented the first time KU medical system set up operations in Lawrence, but it may not be the last such partnership. KU medical system officials have said they “are working with other health care organizations in Lawrence to identify collaborative practice opportunities.”

KU’s move into the market may spur a host of strategic moves in the Lawrence health care market. Russ Johnson, the relatively new CEO at LMH, has made exploring partnership opportunities an important part of LMH’s strategic plan. Early said the deal with Reed was a significant one because of Reed’s long history in the community and its standing as one of the largest primary care practices in the city. Primary care practices are particularly valued because those doctors often are a patient’s first point of contact with the health care system.

All the talk of strategic partnerships has created questions about whether LMH is looking to create its own deal with another larger, metro hospital. The KU hospital certainly could be a player on that front. The KU medical system has reached deals with hospitals in Hays and Topeka recently to expand services there. But there could be other players as well. The Kansas City market includes large hospitals, including Overland Park Regional Medical Center, the St. Luke’s System, the Olathe Medical Center and others. In Topeka, Stormont Vail is a large player.

Johnson, who previously was a health care administrator in the Denver area, came from an environment where partnerships were common. Early confirmed the hospital engages in a variety of discussions with other area hospitals, but stopped short of saying there were any current talks of a merger.

“Literally from day one, Russ has reached out and been open to talking to other hospitals and other providers, both east and west,” Early said. “It is a discussion. I don’t know what the future will hold. Are we in active discussions about joining another hospital? No. But we are talking with other hospitals about how we can work together. That door is open and we will keep that door open.”

Lawrence Memorial Hospital

Lawrence Memorial Hospital


Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 months, 1 week ago

This concept actually works quite well. Almost all of my doctors, including specialists, are part of the Cotton O'Neil clinic, which is owned by Stormont Vail in Topeka. They have built new state of the art buildings for many medical specialties. From a consumers (patient's) point of view this is great, in my opinion. I continue with the physicians I have known and trusted for many years, and they get the latest equipment to use to treat me. They have over 200 doctors and are growing.

Steve Jacob 11 months, 1 week ago

I remember when my parents found out their doctor went the “concierge” route. $1800 a year for the right to see your doctor. They just couldn't justify that.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 11 months, 1 week ago

I have been a patient of Reed for my sleep apnea. But I have not seen Dr. Osbern for a while and need to get back to her. Maybe this will help me to get an appointment and consultation.

Evan Taylor 11 months, 1 week ago

Chad, your self-deprecating fat-jokes are about as stale as I assume your Doritos stockpile must be... Please, find a new angle.

Brett McCabe 11 months, 1 week ago

Equalled only by Matt Tait's "only time will tell" qualifiers. My goodness, just write.

Evan Taylor 11 months, 1 week ago

Who is Pete and why should I care about his (apparently) delicate sensibilities? If Pete considers chicken-fried "journalism" a vital part of his daily media diet, that's his prerogative. Personally, Chad's formulaic fat jokes give me an indigestion that can only be soothed by stories from real newspapers. The New York Times serves as a veritable print-Pepto, if you will. I hope my wordplay lightened up the mood for you a bit, Dorothy, but now for a serious note: his reliance on fat jokes in almost every column is the mark of a hack. They add very little to his articles--are often tangential, at best--and stopped being charming quite some time ago.

Richard Heckler 11 months, 1 week ago

Put forth three choices which would allow for consumers aka voters to pick which insurance package seems more practical for their needs.

=== ObamaCare which retains the health insurance industry for those who fear the word Medicare or phrase Single Payer after all it is their dollar. This needs stiff federal regulations that cannot be superseded by the states. Offer a tax dollar rebate at the end of every year that would equal about what families would “payout” through taxes.

Sooner or later the lions share of this group will most likely enroll in single payer.

=== Single Payer Medicare for ALL = excellent coverage for those who wish to enroll. The absolute best choice on planet earth. This group does not need tax rebates because our taxes are working for with taxpayer.


IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL would cover every person for all necessary medical care 24/7 to include:

  • Wellness
  • prescription drugs • hospital • surgical, • outpatient services • primary and preventive care • emergency services, • dental • mental health • home health
    • physical th erapy • rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), • vision care, • hearing services including hearing aids
    • chiropractic • durable medical equipment • palliative care • long term care



=== LAST BUT NOT LEAST ALLOW self financed health care for those able to do so BECAUSE this group does not want to spend tax dollars. Paying out of pocket is more efficient for this group. Offer a tax dollar rebate at the end of every year that would equal about what families would “payout” through taxes.

Bob Smith 11 months, 1 week ago

You're posting pure fiction, Richard.

Richard Heckler 11 months, 1 week ago

Members of the house and senate have not put forth a fair or affordable health insurance plan in 60 years.

Members of the house and senate instead allow the insurance industry to design whatever then kick back to elected officials billions of campaign dollars over time ….those are health care dollars btw.

Paying back like a busted slot machine.

Why are conservatives throwing republicans, democrats, women, tea party thinkers, green party thinkers and children under the bus?

Taxpayers realize that the medical insurance industry is as corrupt as the mafia, President Trump, ALEC, too many in the house and senate and our election system.

There is only one way to satisfy the demand for ethical medical insurance coverage. Yes let the consumers decide for it is impossible for elected officials to make the best decisions.

Brandon Devlin 11 months, 1 week ago

"Members of the house and senate have not put forth a fair or affordable health insurance plan in 60 years."

Wait. Richard. . .are you admitting that the ACA is neither fair nor affordable?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 months, 1 week ago

It has it's problems which could have been fixed a long time ago, if it wasn't for the hatred that the GOP had and still have for Obama.

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