HCA's Frist funds China-based hospital venture

HCA co-founder Dr. Thomas Frist Jr. is making what is likely to be a trend-setting move. Dr. Frist is investing in a new venture, China Healthcare Corp., which is focused on bringing U.S. hospital management practices to running Chinese facilities. China Healthcare will kick off its operations by building and operating a 500- to 600-bed hospital in Shanghai. The startup will be run by Dr. Frist's son-in-law, Chuck Elcan, a former executive with a real estate investment trust focused on medical office buildings.

The Shanghai-based general acute care hospital, which still needs approval from the Chinese ministries of health and commerce, will serve private-pay patients and patients whose healthcare costs are paid for by the Chinese government. To fund the hospital's growth, China Healthcare is banking on the Chinese government's planned expansion of state-run insurance programs for residents, as well as business from private-pay patients. 

To be certain, Elcan will have his hands full in meeting China Healthcare's goal--which is to bring Western hospital management style and culture to the Asian country. And he'll face regulatory and cultural barriers in getting the venture up to speed. On the other hand, he may get paid at levels more in line with what the hospital actually charges. It just might work.

To learn more about the new venture:
- read this article in The Tennessean

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