When it comes to partnering with hospitals and private investors, physicians consider 51% to be the magic number--most of the time.
"We absolutely needed to have 51% (ownership) so the physicians have control over patient care," says Robert Goodwill, CEO of the Green Clinic, Ruston, La., about the surgical hospital the multispecialty group developed in tandem with Christus Schumpert Health System of Lafayette, La.
Others care more about operational control than ownership.
"Doctors are always concerned with the 51% issue," says G. William Woods, M.D., CEO and president of Fondren Orthopedic Group in Houston, which has a 40% stake in Texas Orthopedic Hospital, a joint venture with HCA. "The secret is in how the agreement is structured."
In this case, the 41-physician practice negotiated the right to call all the shots medically.
"We have total say-so over all aspects of the hospital," Woods says. "You don?t need majority ownership to have control."