New orthopedic program should be a success

The Oracle has written many editorials questioning the wisdom of decisions made by administrators over the years. Campus policy decisions, campus business decisions and anything else that affects students is within the purview of the Oracle’s editorial board. However, it isn’t always bad news the editors at this newspaper have an opinion on. Sometimes it’s a wise decision to correct a previous error.

According to the Tampa Tribune, the USF orthopedic program lost 13 of its physicians in 1989 due to a disagreement over whether the program should have a clinic on campus. The dispute, as well as the loss of the 13 physicians, led to the termination of the orthopedic residency program at USF. Not only that, the University spent millions of dollars in litigation to settle the conflict. One can imagine that after a multi-year, multimillion-dollar legal battle, orthopedics on campus might be considered somewhat of a faux pas. Managerially, such a conflict is a big, expensive disaster.

USF is swallowing its pride, however, and starting anew. The Tribune reported Thursday that Stephen Klasko, vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Medicine, hired Robert Pedowitz, a leading surgeon in San Diego and a consultant for the National Football League. What’s best is they got Pedowitz for a $475,000 per year salary.

It’s true that $475,000 seems like a lot of money, but for a distinguished surgeon who could easily make millions of dollars a year, $475,000 is a bargain.

Just take a look at what happened to the 13 physicians who left the orthopedic program in 1989. They started the Florida Orthopedic Institute, a well-known Florida business that serviced more than 113,000 patients in 2002, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

In addition, the new orthopedic program could attract medical corporations and recruiters to the University. Pedowitz has said his first project will be to get the new program accredited – an excellent starting point – and will work to take advantage of grants and other forms of benevolent funds.

With USF being classified as a Research I institution, an orthopedic program makes sense. USF is making a good decision to attract new talent to head the program, and it is choosing the best talent available, it would seem. It will, no doubt, be a great success provided history doesn’t repeat itself.