I was both shocked and saddened when I learned that Dr. John Schultz is being forced to close his practice as a trauma and general surgeon in Aspen.
In the past nine years I have known Dr. Schultz both personally and as a patient. During this time I have had countless opportunities to witness firsthand the care and devotion, not to mention consummate skill, that he dedicates to his patients.
Dr. Schultz is not closing his practice by choice. He is being forced out as a result of the outdated and lucrative “exclusive provider” contracts that Aspen Valley Hospital awards to certain physicians. In Dr. Schultz’s case, these contracts have meant that the community can be deprived of his services purely due to personal disagreements between Dr. Schultz and his former partner.
The AVH board successfully pushed through the hospital expansion plans in the name of patient care, but ultimately, patient care is more about the quality of the physicians, nurses, and other staff that serve our community than the size of the building they work in. If Dr. Schultz is forced to cease practicing in Aspen, this will be a huge loss to the health and well-being of the community. When exclusive provider contracts severely curtail Aspenites’ choices as to the physicians that care for them, a hospital board that cares about the level of care we all receive should end the use of these contracts.
I hope more of Dr. Schultz’s patients, friends, and colleagues will join me in speaking out on his behalf.