“The future of the American health system must be based on a “new playbook” in which physicians and hospitals focus on improving the patient experience. Striving for superior clinical outcomes and focusing on the human element of care must be the fundamental drivers of all solutions. Creating collaborative models that focus on the needs of the patient is more than an idealistic goal. Major employers and government are forcing providers to respond with a better health care product at a lower price. Moreover, both physicians and hospitals must find ways to reestablish long-term relationships with their customers.”


Nicole Paul and Edward Hindin,  “Bridging the Gap: New Rules for Working with Physicians” Healthcare Forum Journal, May/June, 2000, p. 40.


Finally, a healthcare delivery model designed, owned and directed by physicians… Not by government, hospitals or Wall Street.


As Nicole Paul and Edward Hindin make clear, doctors need a “new playbook” which focuses on improving the patient experience and outcomes of care. Healthcare in America has traditionally been centered on the physician-patient relationship… a relationship that has been proven over time and has not been completely eroded by managed care or government regulations.


What we understand from 2000 physician interviews


The key players in today’s healthcare delivery environment are all struggling for control, at the expense of better patient care and to the detriment of the physician-patient relationship. Conflicting priorities of hospitals, payers, physicians, and government have systematically eroded the physician-patient relationship built on trust and caring. The “business of medicine” has replaced the “art of medicine.” Health outcomes have been impacted adversely, as demonstrated by the recent reports by the Institute of Medicine on patient safety and medical errors. In over 2,000 interviews with physicians, we understand:


·         A desire for greater autonomy in their medical practice – clinical and financial

·         Doctors are seeing more patients, working longer hours and making less money 

·         Administrative costs associated with managed care, billing and information management have drastically increased 

·         The promised solutions offered by hospital buyouts or practice management organizations have not materialized 

·         Doctors want to refocus on their patients 


Many models for organizing physicians and hospitals are failed or failing…


Under the banner of “integration,” there have been numerous attempts to reduce healthcare costs and improve medical outcomes. But none of the proposed solutions has correctly aligned the interests of the many players involved in delivering healthcare. The current models of “integrated systems” and physician practice management organizations respond to investors and government regulation, not patients’ interests. They are focused on reducing costs and controlling physician behavior. Because physicians could not or would not invest in these solutions, they became employees of the system. Where physicians do not own or direct, they are not committed to making the models successful. The result has been for some physicians to be treated as technicians, not owners.


When physicians own and direct the enterprise, they have more control over healthcare delivery, provide consumers with options which patients prefer, gain autonomy in their medical practice, increase their fee-for-service revenue, and can participate in the financial rewards from services they use every day in the practice of medicine.


Physician-owned and directed healthcare delivery does work.  When we look at the most successful healthcare delivery systems today, the common thread is physician ownership. The Texas Orthopedic Hospital and Texas Woman’s Hospital in Houston, TX, are two examples of specialty hospitals owned and directed by physicians. Both of these institutions were created by physicians who were experiencing the same frustrations facing most doctors today.


The Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, examples of multi-specialty clinics directed by physicians, are the “gold standard” in clinical quality and patient-centered care. Their physician founders knew there was a better way. They designed their system to provide comprehensive and collaborative patient care with the consumer at the center of the care model. The systems work and patient satisfaction is world-renowned.


The HealthCare Village®: Physician-Designed, Owned and Directed


The HealthCare Village® is an innovative model of ambulatory healthcare set in a “village” design concept that will be a magnet for healthcare consumers in the new Millennium. The HealthCare Village® is a one-stop destination to meet families’ health needs and lifestyle. Each HCV is custom-designed and programmed to meet the specific needs of the community it serves. It offers a comprehensive array of primary and secondary care, with physician-based centers of excellence and a short-stay hospital. The HCV will also incorporate health-related retail and allied services for its patients, including daycare, healthy kitchen, fitness centers, and a healthcare resource for both physicians and their patients.


The HCV short-stay “ambulatory hospital” will be programmed and custom-designed to meet local and community needs. The services offered will be those that can be successfully supported by the physicians of the HCV, and the surrounding medical community. This Stark-compliant, non-tertiary facility is modeled on successful physician-owned hospitals. Unlike most traditional hospitals, services will be performed where they are needed most, Imaging and laboratory services will be located on the HCV campus, not a twenty-minute drive to the “medical center.” 


Before the hospital is even built, the planning and research process will identify who will use the hospital, what services and procedures will be provided, what equipment will be needed, and how it will be owned and directed. The hospital will only be built if it can provide its physician owners with control, autonomy and return on investment.



The HealthCare Village® Design


To achieve its Mission and Vision, the HealthCare Village® is a unique and inspiring environment in which primary and secondary medical care are provided, wellness and related educational services are offered, and health-related ancillary, retail, and community centers are featured. 

The HealthCare Village® is the easy-to-access ambulatory care campus with the “village” feeling, which combines specialized clinics, physician offices, ambulatory surgery and a wealth of health-related amenities which will be a magnet for the fussiest medical care consumers in America – women and Baby Boomers – and please every segment of tomorrow’s demanding patients.


Achieving these goals requires a physical environment that is neither commercial nor institutional, as we currently understand those terms.  Rather, it requires an entirely new concept and sense of place.


Depending on the needs of its host community, the HealthCare Village® hosts 40 to 100 highly skilled physicians and other allied health professionals who treat all but the most intensive healthcare needs.  Just as important, these caregivers operate in a setting ensuring seamless integration of all of the services offered within the Village, thereby making patients' visits more effective and efficient. 

To meet the healthcare and wellness needs of its visitors, the Village features a number of state-of-the-art facilities, including:


·         Ambulatory Primary and Secondary Care Short-stay Hospital

·         Women’s Center

·         Men’s Center

·         Children’s Center

·         Primary Care Center

·         Heart and Lung Center

·         Cancer Care Center

·         Orthopedic Center

·         Rehabilitation Center

·         Specialty Care Center

·         Complementary Medicine Centers



In addition to industry-leading health and wellness services, HealthCare Village® consumers will also enjoy access to the Village’s many other amenities.  These include a pharmacy, medical library, Internet stations, child daycare center, restaurants and cafes, healthy-lifestyle bookstore, fitness facilities, salon and spas, and other related consumer conveniences. 


The HealthCare Village® also offers educational and community outreach programs to patients covering such topics as first-time parenting classes, care for aging parents, smoking cessation courses, healthy cooking classes, and many other valuable healthcare programs for all ages.


How does the HealthCare Village® help doctors?


The HealthCare Village® is a better business environment for physician practice:

·         Reduce overhead through shared common spaces and resources

·         Additional revenue streams through Stark-compliant ownership of real estate, lab, imaging, hospital, retail and other ancillary health services

·         Increase referral opportunities through closer association of primary care and specialty physicians in one location, all with common goals

·         Create leverage with payers by offering patients a preferred, consumer-friendly environment

·         Access to increased group purchasing power

·         Gain a competitive advantage through local community marketing and branding  


The HCV is a better business model and better practice site for its physician owners. It’s all about location, location and location… Practice income will be maximized by improving the payer mix of patients, increasing collections, and reducing uncollectible accounts. There will be more opportunities for fee-for-service business. Overall operating efficiencies will increase with scheduling hospital resources at the direction of its owners – the physicians – not some corporate entity. Priorities and values will be aligned. Net practice income will increase.


  HealthCare Village® Organization   |  Physicians Partners   |  Hospital/Provider Partners   |  Corporate/Retail   |  HealthCare Consumers  

1999 The Ward Group  |  5300 Hollister, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77040  |  Ph: (713) 690-1000