St. Paul Heart Clinic to Close

The clinic will be divided and integrated into the Allina and HealthEast hospital systems, and most of its staff members will be employed by one of the two systems starting January 1.

The St. Paul Heart Clinic announced Thursday that it will dissolve on January 1 and be integrated into the Allina and HealthEast hospital systems-a move that many similar organizations have already made.

The clinic said in a news release that it is the last large, independent cardiology practice in the Twin Cities to integrate with hospital systems-a move that was prompted by changes in reimbursement and certain cardiology services that can no longer be contracted.

Nineteen of the clinic's cardiologists will integrate into the Allina system and will remain in the clinic's existing location, which is connected to United Hospital. The remaining 12 will move to a new clinic that will be opened in HealthEast's St. Joseph's Hospital. In addition, the HealthEast cardiologists will continue seeing patients at the clinic at St. John's Hospital campus in Maplewood.

David Rothschiller, executive director of the clinic, told Twin Cities Business on Friday that the integration of independent clinics into hospital systems has become common in the last couple of years.

According to Rothschiller, only 10 to 15 percent of independent clinics were operating within larger hospital systems about two years ago. Now, more than 70 percent of similar-sized independent cardiology groups have integrated or are moving in that direction.

Rothschiller also said that “all but a handful” of the clinic's 220 staff members have found positions with Allina and HealthEast. He said that the clinic will work with the remaining employees to help them find work.

“It is important to remember that while the St. Paul Heart Clinic will go away in name, we will stay in our community and look forward to meeting our patients' needs,” Thomas Johnson, president of the St. Paul Heart Clinic, said in a statement.

The St. Paul Heart Clinic opened in 1974. Its cardiologists provide specialty heart care in Minnesota and focus on noninvasive cardiology, interventional cardiology, and electrophysiology.