After years of entertaining potential buyers, Western Kentucky Diagnostic Imaging owners have reached an agreement with The Medical Center for the clinic’s sale.
“The medical environment has some uncertainties now ... and that affected our decision to approach several different buyers,” partner physician Rodney Veitschegger said. “After a lengthy process, we narrowed down the field ... and The Medical Center was the winner.”
Veitschegger said he and his partner, physician Sean Willgruber, aren’t part of the deal. But the office’s 37 employees will be able to apply for jobs with Commonwealth Health Corp., The Medical Center’s parent company.
“I don’t know if they will be doing the exact same jobs, but they will most likely need all of the employees to continue operating the services here,” Veitschegger said.
Employees were informed of the sale in meetings Friday.
Veitschegger said he’s aware that rumors of the impending sale had been flying for months. “But we had to keep this thing under wraps while all the details were worked out because nothing is really final until it’s signed,” he said.
The details included having the physician-owned practice apply with the state for a certificate of need to become a licensed medical facility. That licensure was required before it could be acquired by a hospital.
Willgruber said it’s not the first time that the facility has been in talks for a potential sale. But for whatever reasons, earlier efforts dating back to 2001 weren’t finalized.
Clerk Allison Thomas, who has been in the office for two years, said she thinks the move to CHC will be a good thing for her. Thomas said she’s not sure if she will be doing the same job or not.
“They said they would let us know,” she said.
Eddie Scott, director of radiological services at The Medical Center, said the operation of WKDI will pretty much remain the same, with the exception of the physicians.
“Our goal is to employ all of their staff members and maintain status quo as far as operations,” Scott said. “We don’t anticipate any shuffling of staff. They have done a good job at operating this facility, and we want them to continue doing so in this acquisition.”
The Medical Center’s radiological group – Imaging Consultants of Kentucky, directed by physician Jeffrey Brannick – will have one physician in the facility during all operating hours.
Willgruber said he thinks the acquisition will be good for both the community and The Medical Center.
Western Kentucky Diagnostic Imaging performs about 38,000 diagnostic imaging procedures a year, Willgruber said. Those services include high field MRI, open MRI, digital mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, ultrasound, bone density evaluation, fluoroscopy, CT scan, nuclear medicine and X-ray services.
A comprehensive number of services will be maintained, Scott said.
“The Medical Center had been looking to enhance our outpatient imaging services, so when the owners (of WKDI) approached us several months ago, we began the negotiations,” he said.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Details of any cost changes for patients are still to be worked out, Scott said.
“This is still in its early stages,” he said.
The transfer of ownership is scheduled to take place Oct. 1. Veitschegger said WKDI first opened its doors in March 1996, after more than a year of planning.
“So it’s really hard to let go of something that has been your baby for that long,” he said.
Veitschegger and Willgruber will continue the relationship they have had for several years with Graves-Gilbert Clinic.
“We are already down there pretty regularly,” Willgruber said.
No longer owning a facility will free Veitschegger and Willgruber from some of their administrative duties.
“We will be able to focus more (on patients),” Willgruber said.