Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Jay Woody.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Dr. Woody. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
While working a successful career as a board-certified ER physician in some of Dallas’s busiest and most prestigious emergency rooms, I began to notice a disturbing trend – many of the people I treated on a daily basis did not need emergency level care. These people did not have many options at the time, so they went to the hospital which leads to overcrowding, long waits and large bills for those non-emergent cases.
In 2007, we came up with a concept for a full-service emergency room and urgent care all in a retail setting. At this time the concept of free-standing community-based emergency rooms or urgent cares was not an industry, and there were no rules or regulations surrounding this concept. Many believed this to be a very risky endeavor because gaining patients’ trust to receive care in a retail setting would be a challenge. This would also be the first and only Emergency Room and Urgent Care under one roof ever created. This would allow us to provide all the services of an emergency room but bill patients that did not need ER level care at urgent care rates. At the time, we did not know how this would work, but it absolutely resulted in cost savings! We saw 85,000 patients in 2017 with 84% being billed at the urgent care level thus saving over $20,000,000 in unnecessary ER charges for North Texans and their employers.
We opened our first location in the bustling suburb of Frisco Texas in 2008. At the time our location was surrounded by open fields and the promise of new retail locations to come. Our close proximity to the rapid housing developments was our greatest asset. We set out to gain patients’ trust by caring for the people of Frisco one by one and introducing them to this unique model. By not being affiliated with any hospital or health system and knowing the only referral patients will typically receive to come in would be friends and family, customer service and loyalty was our main marketing. We knew we could create a new standard for the level of service in healthcare. Patients were used to long waits, confusing billing, and most of all a less than stellar level of service. We hatched a novel plan to train all of our staff in customer service and eliminating all of the typical healthcare stereotypes – for instance, there is no glass partitions in any of our locations, but rather a concierge type open concept. We invite patients to come in, ask questions and to always get a smile.
The next complete change in patient perception would be the expectations of the time. We created a proprietary process that alleviates the typical long waits and door to door times by keeping patients moving. Most of our Urgent Care level patients are getting back into their cars within 35 minutes. Even on our busiest days, patients will only be in our reception area for less than 5 minutes. In these busy North Texas communities, time and money are the biggest factors for customer loyalty and this dual model and attention to customer service have created a recipe for success.
Has it been a smooth road?
Starting Legacy ER & Urgent Care came with many of the same entrepreneurial challenges as starting any business, combined with the massive government regulations and hurdles of healthcare. In healthcare, there are multiple state and federal government oversight committees for everything from insurance to oversight of care. There are loopholes and opportunities to take advantage of that could bypass some of these initiatives, but we set out to be 100% transparent and by the book as we were in this for the long haul. Even to this day we are under constant review and are required to abide by the many laborious and sometimes, in my opinion, unnecessary rules required by various State and Federal agencies. The biggest issue being many of these rules disrupt our model of efficient and fair billing.
As a disrupter, we knew many of our processes would come under scrutiny but as insurance companies began to see the benefits of the dual billing model we gained key allies in the insurance companies. Saving patients and communities millions in unnecessary ER charges benefits everyone, and we have continued to gain acceptance and even have advocates from the third party payors.
Another challenge for us was the rapid growth of competition that started with the passage of legislation in 2009 allowing free-standing emergency rooms to be built without an affiliation to a hospital. This lead to fast and furious growth in this new healthcare sector. Consumers being confused by the rapid growth of the free-standing ER industry and our unique model has been a real challenge to overcome. Patients quickly realized a Freestanding ER is the same as an ER and would cost them the same regardless of the level of care they required. Negative consumer reactions quickly followed and a warranted backlash followed from the press. Legacy was lumped in this Freestanding ER category and even though we are the complete opposite of that and have an in-network strategy we have to continue to educate our patients and the media about our highly efficient model.
As of 2018, many of these competitors, including the nation’s largest private ER Company, have gone out of business thanks to consumers becoming more educated. Meanwhile, we are in our 10th year with continued year over year growth and expansion nationally underway.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Legacy ER & Urgent Care – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Legacy ER & Urgent Care is the largest provider of both Emergency Room and Urgent Care services under one roof in the country. Our mission is to set a new standard of care, service, and honesty in health care. Changing the way families receive and pay for healthcare is at the core of everything we do and it is a part of our company’s culture. Also, a part of the culture we practice is servant leadership. The executive team sits on the bottom of the paradigm supporting the patient experience and providing all of the tools necessary to continue our mission. This dedication to service has put Legacy in the top 1% of global retailers with a Net Promoter Score of 82. Over 30k patients a year provide detailed feedback on where we did well or where we need to improve via a short survey. Patients are either detractors (rating the service 0-6) Passive (7-8) or promoters (9-10). Over 87% of our responses are promoters. To put this in perspective Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, and Apple are in the 60s and 70s. This has helped us retain and promote some of the best healthcare talents in Texas and we are proud to have them on our team. This has been instrumental in our growth outside of Texas as well.
Legacy is a full-service emergency room and urgent care under one roof. This means, we can treat everything from allergies to a heart attack in the same facility. Our value and difference are that the patient will only get billed for the level of service they received. We staff with an ER trained physician, ER trained Nurse, Paramedic techs, nurses, radiology professionals, and administrative staff at all of our facilities. Every patient regardless of the level of care needed will see our full line up including an ER physician which gives people a piece of mind.
The future is bright for Legacy ER & Urgent Care and leads us to create INtuitive Health (INtuitiveHealthERUC.com) as our expansion brand. INtuitive brings our concept of retail health to health systems nationwide. In 2019, we will be opening several new facilities around the country as an extension of the health systems hospital outpatient services. We recently announced a relationship with Riverview Health in Indianapolis with our first facility to open in Money Magazine’s #1 Place to Live, Fishers Indiana. We will open an additional 3 locations in the Indianapolis area and will soon be announcing several more new relationships throughout the US. Patients are demanding better service, better billing, and better access – and Legacy ER & UC is providing this in one of the most competitive healthcare markets in the country. I am excited that we are bringing all of this to several other states in the very near future.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Dallas is full of opportunity – probably considered the ‘land of opportunity’ right now. Jobs, good weather, great housing all come with the package. Those same things have made for challenges as well – low cost of entry has created overcrowding, an exceptional amount of competition and created difficulty recruiting.