HCA Houston Healthcare announced in September the completed purchase of North Cypress Medical Center, naming Jim Brown the new CEO. The facility was founded and formerly owned by physicians.
Brown previously served as the chief development officer at HCA Houston Healthcare where his role included mergers and acquisitions. He is also a former CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.
How have your previous roles prepared you to serve as CEO of North Cypress Medical Center?
For the last 19 months, I’ve worked as the chief development officer of HCA Houston Healthcare. What I saw with the North Cypress acquisition was a facility that had the ability to grow that was extremely well-positioned in the market. [It also] had a reputation for quality, and as a result, I decided this would be a great personal opportunity for me to step in and lead this organization.
North Cypress Medical Center has stood alone for 11 years. In my past, I worked for large integrated delivery systems and within HCA. Much of the [management of] clinical services—such as cardiovascular services or neuroscience or orthopedic services—was carried out by me and my team. That is an area in which North Cypress stands to benefit greatly in the shared knowledge that comes with being part of an 18-hospital system.
My background is in hospital operations. Collectively, I have spent 14 years of my career in the hospital, and that is the experience that has been most rewarding in my career. From my hospital experience, I’ve spent the vast majority of my career in moderate-sized community hospitals where I’ve had the opportunity to be intimately involved in the community, and I think that, too, will allow me to provide value to North Cypress.
Now that HCA owns North Cypress, what will the transition from being physician-owned look like?
First of all, we open ourselves to more commercially insured patients than previously had access to North Cypress. We will accept insurance plans that previously were not accepted, expanding access to the community.
Secondarily, in its previous existence, North Cypress was prohibited from expansion because it was a physician-owned hospital [an amendment passed in the Affordable Care Act of 2010]. Now we have the ability to grow the campus, so immediately we will occupy 24 additional hospital beds and multiple new operating rooms that previously the hospital could not utilize. In the future, we will continue to grow our services and continue to grow our campus, which was just not an opportunity as a physician-owned hospital.
This marks our fourth acquisition in the last year on the north side of Houston. Part of my job is making sure that we are working with our hospitals—Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital, Tomball Regional Medical Center and Houston Northwest Medical Center—such that we’re leveraging one another’s abilities.
As the new CEO, what are your short-term and long-term goals for the hospital?
Short-term goals are facility expansion—maximizing what we can be today without major construction. Additionally, we are acclimating our leadership team and staff to HCA Houston Healthcare and what it means to be a part of a larger health system. Much of my own personal energy is being spent getting to know my aligned medical staff as well as our hospital staff.
Moderate-term focus is determining what we desire this hospital to be over the next three to five years and mapping out appropriate investment and hospital expansion plans. Examples of new clinical programs that augment the services we already provide would be comprehensive stroke care, greater cardiovascular services and the expansion of our oncology program.
What are the most significant challenges facing the health care industry today?
I think the No. 1 challenge is operating efficiently such that we can be successful in an environment with declining reimbursement. Additionally, on a broader scale, it’s managing chronic disease and making sure we have a service offering for the Cypress community that allows us to meet their needs near their homes as they age. We all know in the city of Houston, transportation is difficult. As we grow in clinical complexity, my job is to maximize what we should be doing clinically in the Cypress area so patients don’t have to travel.
What are some emerging health care trends, and what is North Cypress doing to keep up?
I think across our area, a popular trend is to expand access points outside of a conventional hospital in areas, such as free-standing emergency departments or the provision of urgent care services. North Cypress operates three freestanding emergency departments, and we will augment what North Cypress is already doing with HCA’s emphasis on growing an urgent care portfolio.
Another trend is in chronic disease management, so you will see us invest in programs here that work to keep people out of a medical crisis and hence avoid hospitalization. An example of that would be actively engaging and monitoring people with congestive heart failure prior to them presenting in one of our emergency rooms.