Health Care

Co-founding doctor suing Kansas spine hospital, saying he’s being forced to sell share

A physician and founding member of Kansas Spine and Specialty Hospital is suing the hospital, saying he is being forced to sell his stake.

Anesthesiologist Gregory Meister said in the suit that he owns 17.1 percent of the hospital at 3333 N. Webb Road.

He is seeking more than $15 million, an amount he says represents more than a decade of lost profits from the hospital.

He said he was informed by hospital officials in early October that he had failed to return a packet of documents seeking reappointment to the hospital’s medical staff by Oct. 1. He was told that failure to return the papers triggered a clause in the operating agreement that allowed the other owners to buy Meister out. No amount was specified in the lawsuit.

But Meister says in the suit, filed late last month in Sedgwick County District Court, that the hospital and its owners acted improperly in an attempt to force him to sell.

“If KSH is successful in its attempts to impose a buy-sell event agreement on Dr. Meister, it will deny Dr. Meister potentially millions of dollars for his share of KSH’s profits,” the suit says. “The profits denied to Dr. Meister would then be redistributed amongst the remaining owners.”

Meister says in the suit that the hospital failed to notify him of the deadline, as is required in the bylaws and as it had many times previously.

After he was told he missed the deadline, Meister did fill out the papers. He says that his action fulfilled the requirements under the bylaws.

Meister’s attorney, Jay Fowler of Foulston Siefkin, said there has been some conflict between Meister and the owners of the remainder of the shares in the hospital.

“The spine hospital treated him extremely unfairly, and they did so to give themselves an advantage,” Fowler said. “It’s not right.”

Attorney Charles Milsap of Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch, who represents the hospital, said disputes between business partners are common, and they all eventually get settled one way or another.

“It’s a business dispute that these two will work out,” Milsap said.

The spine hospital, owned by a group of physicians, was founded in 2003 by neurosurgeon Eustaquio Abay. It focuses on spinal care, orthopedic surgery, radiology, pain management and physical and occupational therapy.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

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