AcuityHealthcare, a privately held long-term acute-care operator, has made the unusual move of giving its employees 100% ownership of the company.
The Austin, Texas-based provider has implemented an employee stock ownership plan
, and believes it is the first LTAC company to do so.
The ESOP recognizes that growth for Acuity has come from employees and physicians, CEO Ed Cooper said in a news release. “We believe the ESOP fits within our company's culture of giving back to our communities and recognizing our staff for their commitment to excellence in patient care,” he added.
Cooper founded Acuity in 2001 without outside investors. The company now has either its own acute-care hospitals or affiliated hospitals in New Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas and Arizona.
An ESOP is a form of retirement plan where staff members receive an ownership stake in the company through shares of company stock deposited in their retirement accounts. The program remains uncommon in healthcare, though it had some traction among for-profit chains about two decades ago.
One of the more recent examples in the acute-care space was for-profit Delta Medical Center
in Memphis, Tenn., which transitioned to an ESOP in 2006. Acadia Healthcare, another for-profit chain, acquired Delta
in February 2013.Follow Beth Kutscher on Twitter: @MHbkutscher