Neighbors Emergency Center is marking the one year anniversary of the acquisition of six of the freestanding emergency centers by Houston-based ZT Corporate and Altus Healthcare System in November 2018. The acquisition followed a 30-hour extensive bidding war, where the two companies pulled the consortium together for the win. The acquisition gave stability to the employees of Neighbors through job retention and the transition to a strong company with extensive experience owning and operating healthcare entities. Since the acquisition, numerous positive changes have been implemented to carry out the center’s legacy and mission of “making lives better every day.” Many of these changes have centered around optimizing operations to enhance the patients’ experience and prepare the company to be able to touch more lives and help more people in the communities they reside in.
One of this year’s projects was to establish an affiliation with Baytown Altus Hospital and the Crosby and Baytown Neighbors locations. This allows them to now accept Medicare at these centers and to serve a greater population of community members in need. The affiliation also designates the two locations as Hospital Outpatient Departments (HOPDs) and are now considered a part of the Altus Hospital system network. This designation is a major achievement, as it will provide the two centers the ability to grow within the community by being able to serve more patients and members in need. The Altus Hospital center also plans to go in-network with the major insurance companies in 2020 and the HOPD sites in Baytown and Crosby will also be able to participate in that.
“Our focus throughout our first year following the acquisition has been on preserving the business of Neighbors Emergency Center for the sake of the communities and our employees. We have talented medical professionals and without them, we wouldn’t be able to continue providing exemplary care to the Greater Houston communities,” said Taseer Badar, CEO & Founder, ZT Corporate and Altus Health System. “Our next goal is to grow the remaining four centers by moving them in-network, which we anticipate becoming official late 2020.”
In 2019, a newly developed patient advocate program was implemented at all Neighbors Emergency Center locations. The program aids patients in navigating the healthcare billing process, to help increase transparency, educate patients, and prevent confusion and frustration about the cost of healthcare and billing practices. This program combines digital education, handouts with an explanation of what to expect in terms of billing, and personalized follow up calls and text messages to walk each patient through the process every step of the way.
Neighbors Emergency Center has emphasized the enhancement of the patient experience with several recent initiatives, which has subsequently increased patient satisfaction through its Google Reviews from 3.6 prior to transition and an average of 4.8-star rating in the last two months. To enhance the patient experience, all centers now provide complimentary sparkling waters, other refreshments, smoothies and patient amenity packages for those who have extended stays with robes, blankets and luxury toiletries, provided to create a more calming and peaceful experience for patients and their loved ones. There have also been entertainment enhancements for children and families, such as the addition of Netflix and other streaming options, to make the experience more comfortable for patients and families.
“We had a great first year, and we are looking forward to continuing to improve our patient’s experiences and expanding our opportunity to serve more of the Greater Houston communities,” said Lauren Cotton, MS, RN, CEN, Chief Operating Officer, Neighbors Emergency Center. “We’d like to thank the communities for continuing to choose us for their emergency care.”