From its inception, Lake Health Beachwood Medical Center has been about relationships.
Relationships between the two dozen or so doctors who came together with a single vision of a specialty, for-profit, physician-owned hospital.
A relationship with a private equity partner and another with Walden, a luxury inn and spa in Aurora that collaborated with these docs to help bring to life an intimate, calming hospital setting.
Relationships with Lake Health as a health system partner and, more recently, a relationship with University Hospitals, which joined as a minority partner.
And, beginning the week of April 8, relationships with patients when the full-service, acute-care hospital opens its doors at the corner of Richmond Road and Chagrin Boulevard.
“The relationships are really important, and if you lose that in a small or big organization, you lose sort of everything,” said Dr. Reuben Gobezie, president of the medical staff at Lake Health Beachwood Medical Center.
Gobezie, a local physician and surgeon who’s started various practices and has operated in many of the region’s health systems, is confident this new hospital will be different for patients and for physicians.
Lake Health Beachwood Medical Center will specialize in orthopedics, urology, spine and pain management. It features 24-hour emergency room services, diagnostic services and physical therapy.
The 69,000-square-foot, two-story facility holds 12 exam rooms where physicians will practice and 24 in-patient rooms. Eight operating rooms and two procedure rooms are positioned in a ring around a central core that aims to improve efficiencies.
The facility’s soft opening is set for the week of April 8. Leaders expect the hospital will be fully operational in June, by which point it will have completed the number of cases required for full accreditation by the government.
Lake Health joined the project in late 2017 and developed it in partnership with the physicians and Manna Isle Ohio. As a majority owner, the system will manage the day-to-day operations along with the partner physicians. Leslie Manzo was appointed chief administrative officer.
Bringing Lake Health into the project was “easy,” Gobezie said.
“It made sense for the physicians to look for a partner in the city of Cleveland because you have big hospital systems, as you know, who would not initially welcome competition,” Gobezie said. “And Lake had a reason to be in Cuyahoga County in their expansion and most importantly, again, their culture, their demonstrated culture is they have partnered — in their surgery center, the medical office building there — they partnered with private practice physicians historically.”
Last month, University Hospitals acquired a minority interest in the hospital by purchasing a portion of Manna Isle’s interest, a move that Gobezie said he believes will be “really symbiotic and mutually helpful.”
Although the hospital is now working with two of the region’s health systems, it has the potential to afford physicians a level of independence for which many have been searching. The physicians own the facility itself and the management service organization that handles the administrative functions for the hospital, said Phillip Ciano, a partner in the law firm of Ciano and Goldwasser who represented the vast majority of the physicians involved in this project.
“Many of these came from other systems or they had their own independent practices or still maintain their independent practices,” Ciano said. “But for the first time in their professional existence, they have the opportunity to actually own a $40 million hospital asset and, also for the first time in their physician practice, have the opportunity to actually own the managed service organization that is going to provide services and billing to the hospital. So there’s a tremendous amount of independence that’s still available and investment opportunity for these physicians, which they’ve never had in their prior employment either working independently or working with one of the big systems here in Ohio.”
Gobezie has taken what he’s learned in other hospital systems, as well as what’s worked in systems across the country and abroad, and applied it to Lake Health Beachwood Hospital, such as telemedicine within the building, so he can consult with families in a conference room from the operating suite. He’ll have the ability to not simply send patients home with a stack of papers, but to email them their images and annotate what they’re seeing.
The hospital was designed to minimize patients’ movement from room to room before and after surgery. Radiology will work closely with physicians, so they know quickly when a patient is done with their testing.
With a goal of infection control, OR staff won’t be allowed to wear scrubs outside of the operating suite without first covering them up. Plus, they’ll wear sterile shoes that are washed regularly, rather than the shoes they wear outside the hospital.
Because the hospital sits in an Orthodox Jewish area, leadership worked with local organizations to provide kosher food and offer a dedicated space for patients and families of that community.
In every area of the hospital, Gobezie can point to how Lake Health Beachwood Medical Center is different. Central to all of it will be its relationships.
“You’re only good as the strength of the relationships we have, whether it’s between the hospitals, between the leadership, between the patients, between the staff,” he said.
Leadership hopes that patients will notice the difference.
“The entrepreneurial spirit of this project, I think, is going to permeate through every aspect of the health care delivery system that you’ll see in this hospital, which will make it very unique from the typical institutional delivery of medicine here in Ohio,” Ciano said. “I think you’re really going to see and feel that, which is going to distinguish from what the consumers are used to in Ohio in health care delivery.”