Orthopedic surgeons who left SSM Health file suit against medical group 

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the group of 11 orthopedic surgeons who left SSM Health Dean Medical Group to start a competing practice last year are now suing SSM Health. Two members of this group, Dr. Jason Sansone and Dr. Brian Keyes, have been sued by SSM Health previously.   

SSM Health has alleged that the doctors breached a clause in their former employment contracts stating for two years after leaving SSM Health, they cannot treat or solicit patients they saw there in the last three years. The doctors have asked Dane County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Ehlke to block the clause or, if it is found to be valid, rule that they have not violated it. 

The doctors, who opened Orthopedic and Spine Centers of Wisconsin in Madison this past February, have stated the clause prevents the type of competition for patients in which strangers could engage. They have stated that since leaving last year, they have taken reasonable steps to abide by the clause.  

Their suit also argues, however, that the clause is too broad, as it could include patients who have no significant or cognizable prior relationship with the surgeons. At SSM Health, the doctors provided consultations for other doctors about some patients and saw other patients in the emergency room or urgent care, in addition to clinic visits and surgeries.   

SSM Health has also flagged medical charts of patients who may fall under the clause to prevent schedulers from connecting them with the doctors in their new practice, but as the flag does not specify which doctor each patient saw previously, it could wrongfully prevent them from being scheduled with any of the doctors in the group.