Health Care

Galichia Heart acquisition includes a dozen physicians

Wesley Medical Center officials finally celebrated their parent company’s acquisition of Galichia Heart Hospital — 412 days after HCA first announced the deal.

And officials of the city’s second-largest hospital did so by inviting nearly 100 employees to sit in on the news conference Wednesday at the Cessna Conference Center at Wesley.

Wesley CEO Hugh Tappan started off the conference with a plug about the hospital’s 100th anniversary as well as its support of the American Heart Association’s Go Red campaign, aimed at increasing prevention of heart disease in women.

He said the acquisition – first announced in December 2010 – gives Wesley an expanded presence in Wichita. Between Wesley, Galichia Heart and Wesley West Emergency and Diagnostic Center, the three emergency departments combined saw nearly 100,000 patients in 2011, he said. The addition of Galichia Heart also means nine heart catheterization labs between it, Wesley and Surgicare, also an HCA venture.

Tappan gave a reason why the acquisition took longer than the standard 60 to 90 days to complete. He said changes in federal health regulations that happened about the same time HCA and Galichia reached agreement on a deal caught HCA by “surprise” and “that delayed everything.”

The acquisition also gives Wesley – through HCA Physician Services – about a dozen more doctors to employ, including a cardiovascular surgeon, internal medicine specialists, a pulmonologist and an electrophysiologist. HCA acquired those physicians from Kansas Physicians Group, a medical practice that employed those physicians at Galichia Heart and was part of the acquisition.

But the employee-doctors don’t include the founder of Galichia Heart, cardiologist Joseph Galichia, nor his Galichia Medical Group, which shares the building with Galichia Heart at 2610 N. Woodlawn. Galichia Medical remains an independent practice, its namesake said.

“I have not been traded,” said Galichia, one of several baseball references he made during the news conference.

Galichia praised Wesley and HCA management teams and said he was confident in their ability to operate and manage Galichia Heart.

“That’s a privilege for me to be part of this team going forward,” Galichia said.

Steve Harris will remain CEO of Galichia Heart, though he will now report to Tappan and other Wesley executives. And long-time Wesley controller Greg Gawlik will become chief financial officer of the 82-bed hospital, Tappan said.

Tappan said that no Galichia Heart employees lost their jobs because of the acquisition, and the services it offers will not change anytime soon. But he said there would be opportunities to make Wesley and Galichia Heart more efficient, and “we think there will be departments we align for synergies.”