Nearly a year after it closed its doors, Woodland Park Hospital in Portland, Ore., is scheduled to reopen in November with new owners, a new name and a new approach to patient care.
A quartet of former Woodland staffers-three physicians and a chiropractor-paid nearly $5 million last month to purchase the lease and building out of bankruptcy from its owner, privately held Symphony Healthcare, Nashville.
Re-christened as Physicians' Hospital, the 77-bed facility will focus on integrative or complementary care, providing traditional services along with everything from chiropractic to acupuncture and naturopathy, said Bryce Milam, a Portland chiropractor and investor in the venture.
"These will be supportive, ancillary services available in conjunction with the care patients receive at the hospital," Milam said.
In Portland, unlike most other markets, almost every major health plan covers a wide range of integrative and complementary procedures, he said.
Milam and his partners, who failed in a previous attempt to purchase Woodland Park out of an earlier bankruptcy about four years ago, put up 10% of the purchase price and received a $500,000 deferred loan from the Portland Development Commission to underwrite safety improvements. The bulk of the deal involves about $4 million in financing from G.E. Healthcare Financial Services, said Dianne Dankowski-Smith, a spokeswoman for the physician investors.
Woodland Park is one of two Portland hospitals purchased about two years ago by Symphony, which declared bankruptcy in May. The other facility, Eastmoreland Hospital, was sold for about $5.2 million earlier this year to Reed College in Portland. They were the only for-profit hospitals in the Portland market.
Milam said Physicians' Hospital will continue as a for-profit, adding anywhere from a dozen to 30 physicians as equity partners but is expected eventually to be converted to an employee stock-ownership plan.
Woodland Park and Eastmoreland, owned by a string of five for-profit hospital companies since 1985, suffered because Symphony was unable to land contracts with two big managed-care players in the Portland market, Regence Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oregon and Providence Health Plans.
Milam said landing a contract with at least one of those two insurers would be a top priority. He suggested that the hospital's demise was because of the problems of out-of-state ownership rather than bottom-line economics or patient volume.
Kenneth Perry, who served as president and chief executive officer of Symphony, disputed those claims. He said Medicaid cuts and a reduction in the number of people who qualified for the federal-state health plan led to a ballooning of bad debt in 2003 and a loss for the year of about $4 million.
"We tried everything possible," Perry said.