Hospital Doctor Shares - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/22/07 - Lufkin

Hospital Doctor Shares

Woodland Heights Medical Center, Lufkin Woodland Heights Medical Center, Lufkin
Lance Jones, CEO, Woodland Heights Medical Center, Lufkin Lance Jones, CEO, Woodland Heights Medical Center, Lufkin

by Tashun Chism

Woodland Heights Medical Center recently announced plans for a "Whole Medical Exemption" program that allows doctors to buy shares.

"It's much like a physician would choose to buy stock on the stock market - for example, Amazon or Google. And, in this particular case, the physician chooses to invest in the hospital and, certainly, invest in themselves," said Woodland Heights CEO Lance Jones.

Similar programs are found at hospitals nationwide, but some critics believe this could be an unethical way to attract the best doctors and get more patient referrals. Woodland Heights leaders see it as a way to help improve patient service and working conditions for doctors.

"The biggest focus is absolutely on quality, and quality comes by having physicians in the hospital at the same table, focusing on Mrs. Smith in room 312, and how do we provide the absolute best care for her. And this is absolutely a mechanism by which that can certainly be continued here in Lufkin," Jones added.

Critics also point to Woodland Heights' recent rennovation as a sign the hospital might be in financial trouble and looking to sell to new investors. But Woodland Heights officals tell us they're committed to serving East Texas, and have invested too much to just pick up and leave.

"From both our parent company's persepctive and Woodland Heights', if we had plans on exiting the market, I can assure you we wouldn't have put 20 million dollars as a recent capital investment into Lufkin," said Jones.

Federal law prohibits doctors from referring Medicare and Medicaid patients to a health care provider or facility where they have a financial relationship.

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