UCI to cut ties with office over dispute

Times Staff Writer

UC Irvine is pulling out of a satellite orthopedics office in Mission Viejo that school officials say has cost it more than $1 million in lost revenue in 3 1/2 years and closing the residency program at Mission Hospital that the office runs.

Dr. Ranjan Gupta, chairman of the UCI orthopedics department, said the university would end its contract with Mission Orthopedic Medical Associates on April 12, about five months early. UCI will shut down the residency program at year’s end.

“The consensus decision was that the business arrangement should be terminated because it was not successful,” Gupta said.

Dawn Reimer, who ran the Mission Orthopedic office until last year, blamed UCI’s business operations for the money losses. Her husband, Dr. Bernard Reimer, founded the practice.

“We are their scapegoats,” Dawn Reimer said. “They were losing money because they didn’t know how to bill for their patients.”


UCI recruited Dr. Reimer in 2003 to join the faculty to help the school build a presence in southern Orange County and to improve its residency program at Mission. UCI’s four residents help staff Mission’s trauma center.

“The decision on the value of the residency program is being made based on a poor business decision on the administrative side,” Peter Bastone, Mission’s CEO, said.

UCI expects to notify about 1,000 Mission Orthopedic patients that they can continue seeing UCI doctors elsewhere.

Three UCI doctors who practiced at Mission have quit, Gupta said. UCI has told Reimer he would be put on leave without pay in two weeks because he hadn’t agreed to work in a different UCI office. Reimer, who has battled cancer since 2000, said he thought UCI should put him on medical leave.

“I made a deal with the devil by going to work at UCI,” Reimer said, adding that he worked 20 years to build a successful private practice in Mission Viejo. The orthopedic residents named him the top clinical faculty member in 2006.

“Now I don’t even have an office to go to,” Reimer said.