Even though its called Doctors Hospital, the 100,000-square-foot structure opening in Bridgeport, Texas, later this summer is not another example of physician ownership in a state thats noted for it.
Instead, the 36-bed facilitya $59.3 million project that has taken six years to completeis a not-for-profit community hospital that has been funded by tax-exempt hospital revenue bonds, credit from local banks, federal, state and local grants, and charitable donations. Some of those donations came from physicians who wanted the community to have a not-for-profit hospital, according to Paul Owens, the facilitys chief executive officer. Owens credits much of the idea for the hospital to David Ray, a family-practice physician who will practice at the hospital and serve as its board president.
There was another hospital from the late 1940s until the early 1990s, when it closed, Owens said, referring to Bridgeport Hospital, which was sold in 1988 and closed in 1991. They wanted to protect this from happening againall of the funds that are generated by the hospital are reinvested in the hospital.
Banking and financial advisory firm InnoVative Capital has worked on this project since late 2005. Alan Richman, president and CEO of the Springfield, Pa.-based firm, said that some physicians made charitable donations, while others offered loans to support the new venture. Their equity contribution ended after the tax-exempt bond deal was completed, according to Richman, who said two local banks offered lines of credit for additional reserves.
The city of Bridgeport provided $3 million for one of the lines of credit, Richman said. For the other $3 million in collateral, some of the doctors who got their money back at closing (said), Well keep that money in the bank as collateral so the hospital can get another $3 million line of credit. That collateral is not a financial ownership in the hospital.
Doctors Hospital will have a five-bed emergency department, three general surgery suites, two labor and delivery rooms, and a four-bed intensive-care unit. Once we start growing and see what service lines take off, well concentrate on expanding that, Owens said, adding that the hospital expects to hire a total of 150 full-time employees by late August. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 30.
I definitely think it will be a model, Owens said of the way Doctors was established. Its a free-standing facility controlled by the community, with input from physicians but they dont have any financial incentive, he added. Being a startup, we can design for future growth. Well be a paperless hospital. That will translate to better patient care and a more efficient place to work.