Medical spas are not a new concept considering today's consumer-oriented focus in healthcare, but a group of plastic surgeons in Indianapolis has taken the notion one giant step further. They own the spa.
In addition to writing "orders" for services like massages and relaxation therapy, the physician-owners of Ology-a high-end spa that opened last week at Clarian West Medical Center, Avon, Ind.-will be able to provide consultations for just about every surface need of their patients, opening a steady pipeline of high-margin cash services for their practice.
"It was a pure entrepreneurial adventure for us," says Barry Eppley, a professor of plastic surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the medical director of a facility he says will blend spa services, aesthetics and surgical procedures.
In addition to traditional features such as massages and hydrotherapy, the spa will do everything from removing spider veins to reconstructing body parts. Consultations are available for a wide range of surgical procedures, including cosmetic procedures, which will be performed at the hospital-based surgery center.
The doctor-owners are leasing about 3,200 square feet of space for the spa in the Women's Center at the new 76-bed for-profit hospital, which also opened its doors last week in a fast-growing suburb west of downtown Indianapolis. Officials called it the first such spa in the U.S. built from the ground up in conjunction with a new hospital.
"My understanding is that there are a lot of retail spas opening under the moniker of medical spas," says Cathy Stoll, a spokeswoman for four-hospital Clarian Health Partners, the parent of the new hospital. "What makes this unique is that it's actually supervised by physicians."
Taking no chances
To Lance Armstrong, record-breaking cyclist and a tour de force in cancer marketing, yellow stands for hope, courage and inspiration, not to mention the jersey color he has worn to six Tour de France victories. Unfortunately, at hospitals, where patients often wear Armstrong's fund-raising yellow wristbands, the color signals something else: Do not resuscitate.
BayCare Health Systems, based in Clearwater, Fla., is asking patients at its nine hospitals to remove the bands or cover them with white tape. Although Armstrong's bands look different enough-they're removable and have writing on them-BayCare isn't taking any chances.
When a patient goes through cardiac arrest, it can be a "quite confusing, highly charged environment," says Lisa Johnson, vice president of patient-care services at BayCare's Morton Plant Mease Health Care in Clearwater. In many instances, caregivers must make decisions on the fly.
Armstrong's yellow LiveStrong bracelets, which sell for $1, have been phenomenally popular, raising $30 million just this year for his foundation, which he started after surviving testicular cancer.
Foundation officials declined to comment on the BayCare situation.
A musical spokesman
Richard Wade is best known as the chief spokesman for the American Hospital Association. But at this time of each year for the past quarter century he has donned a tuxedo and shown a different side of himself-his long-running version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol: A Musical Adaptation of the Christmas Classic," plays at the Colonial Theater in Annapolis, Md.
Wade partnered with librettist Dick Gessner to write the lyrics for the production that appears each holiday season at the Colonial. This year's show opened Dec. 9 and ran through Dec. 19. The 27 performances were sold out before Thanksgiving. Wade says he hasn't taken dramatic liberties with the Christmas standard. "You don't mess with success," says Wade, who began writing and performing in theater in high school and has acted in dinner theater.
"A Christmas Carol" isn't Wade's first foray as a playwright. He has authored 12 other plays and musicals, including children's plays. Wade's 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, who wasn't even born when he wrote the play 24 years ago, makes her debut in this year's presentation as Bob Cratchit's daughter.
As Cigna Corp.'s business focus has changed, so has its taste in art. The Philadelphia-based health insurer plans to sell and give away hundreds of millions of dollars worth of paintings and historical artifacts that it amassed over the past century, largely because the enormous collection no longer reflects the company's "streamlined" business model, says Cigna spokesman Wendell Potter.
"We've transformed our company over the years so that we're more focused on healthcare than ever," he says. "Much of the art we're divesting is more relevant to our former property-casualty lines," which were sold in 1999.
Cigna, for example, intends to donate to national museums an extensive collection of ship models and maritime paintings acquired during the decades when one of the company's main businesses was marine insurance. It's also donating a rare collection of early fire-fighting memorabilia-including what is considered the oldest steam fire engine in America-dating back to a time when it sold fire insurance.
Meanwhile, the company's plans to auction about 200 paintings got off to a booming start this month when it sold 29 pieces through Sotheby's for $5.24 million, with many selling for two to three times more than expected.
Although Cigna is in the midst of a financial turnaround, the auctions aren't a fire sale, Potter says, adding that the insurer will use part of the proceeds to buy works of contemporary and emerging artists.