Live Free Or Die: Village Health Partners Plots an Independent Course

Illustration by Rob Wilson
Illustration by Rob Wilson

One morning last December, Dr. Christopher Crow leaned forward in a plush chair and jammed a finger down at the crowd seated below him. Crow was onstage in a room at Union Station for a Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce healthcare meeting, and he had the ears of representatives from banks as large as Comerica ($69.2 billion in assets) and Frost ($28.6 billion), consulting shops like Accenture (more than 370,000 employees and clients in 120 countries), and law firms like Jackson Walker (350 attorneys in six cities). ϒ “The act of understanding how healthcare costs work in America, and certainly in Dallas-Fort Worth, our level is an F. And that’s you,” he said, gazing at the 200 or so businesspeople in front of him. “I’m going to give you an F, I’m going to give our doctors mostly an F, I’m going to give our staffs an F.” 

They’d gathered that morning for a panel on how healthcare organizations in North Texas are helping dial back medical spending. Baylor Scott & White’s chief quality officer told a story about how the state’s largest nonprofit hospital system has whacked away at medically unnecessary imaging services. Dr. David Hayes was in town from the Mayo Clinic’s Minnesota headquarters to talk about partnering with the Methodist Health System to share best practices and identify cost savings. 

But Crow was the only person onstage who put the onus back on the people watching him. Wearing a tailored navy suit with no tie, he casually hung his right leg over his left knee and kindly implicated everyone. 

“Has anyone seen the ridiculous proliferation of 24-hour, on-the-corner ERs? Why? You ask the question: Why is that happening? It’s because they’re making a hell of a lot of money. Now how do we connect that to us? Have anybody’s rates gone up over the last couple years?” The crowd sighed affirmatively. “That’s one example. I’m going to give you 10.” 

After the panel ended, the Plano-based physician and entrepreneur had a line of about 20 people waiting to speak to him. 

For the past decade, Crow and a cohort of fiercely independent men and women have been quietly building a healthcare ecosystem in Collin County and North Texas for like-minded doctors in private practice. Their ultimate goals haven’t changed—“helping communities thrive” by improving value and access to care—but the scale certainly has. What started as a midsize independent practice has grown into three brick-and-mortar locations, a physician services company, and a network of more than 300 primary care providers. 

This is a portion of a story that appears in the April issue of D Magazine. You can read the rest by heading to this link

Posted in News, Physicians.