Officials of the Gundersen Lutheran Health Plan have decided not to sign a yearly contract with Winneshiek Medical Center for MRI imaging. Instead, the health plan will have a month-by-month contract for the services.
The change follows a meeting last month between Winneshiek Medical Center officials and Gundersen Lutheran officials. At that meeting, WMC Chief Operating Officer David Jordahl bluntly told Gundersen Lutheran Senior Vice President Jerry Arendt "We own a medical clinic that's in competition with your clinic." Arendt then raised the possibility of Gundersen Lutheran Health Plan taking its MRI business away from the hospital.
There are 1,500 people in Northeast Iowa who get their health insurance through the Gundersen Lutheran Health Plan. Those people can go to the hospitals in Cresco, Guttenberg, Waukon and West Union. But if they go to Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, they will have to pay a higher deductible because the hospital is not an "in-network provider." Contract talks between the two sides to make Winneshiek Medical Center an "in-network provider" have broken down.