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Feature Story: Firm says its co-located UCC/ED model is a ‘win-win-win’

Anchor, Rendina to develop up to 40 of the facilities for Intuitive Health during the next two-three years

By John B. Mugford

“The Retalilization of Health Care Systems” presentation during the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) New York Deal Making conference included (from left to right): Katie Jacoby of Anchor Health Properties, Mason Deal of Intuitive Health, Steve Barry of Rendina and Kelly Fulton of RWJ Barnabas Health. (HREI photo)

As Plano, Texas-based Intuitive Health was planning the rollout of as many as 40 co-located, hybrid emergency and urgent care centers in the next 24 to 36 months, it went looking for experienced real estate partners to develop the facilities in primary and secondary markets across the country.

The company selected two partners after concluding a recent developer selection process facilitated by a Healthcare Capital Markets team with Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL).

Those two partners, who will finance and own the projects they develop for Intuitive are: Charlottesville, Va.-based Anchor Health Properties; and Jupiter, Fla.-based Rendina Healthcare Real Estate.

Working separately, the long-standing, widely known healthcare real estate (HRE) companies will develop Intuitive’s co-located urgent care/emergency care outpatient healthcare facilities in various markets.

Each project will likely have anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet of space and will carry the brands of a variety of local, regional and/or national health systems and providers. Facilities on the larger end of the scale are likely to house additional uses, such as a health system’s medical offices and physicians providing a variety of services.

Since the company’s founding in 2017, Intuitive has used a retail approach to opening more than a dozen of its emergency room (ER)/urgent care centers (UCCs), with a concentration of facilities in the Greater Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Albuquerque, N.M., and Indianapolis markets.

As noted, many more are on the way and in planning stages.

Mason Deal, VP of new market operations for Intuitive, spoke in detail about the company, its model and its plans for the roll out of the 40 or so facilities in the next few years during a healthcare real estate (HRE) presentation Dec. 12 at International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) New York Deal Making conference.

Held on the Health & Wellness Center Stage at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the session was titled, “The Retalilization of Health Care Systems.” In addition to Mr. Deal, speakers included Steven K. Barry, president of Rendina; Katie Jacoby, executive VP of development with Anchor; and Kelly Fulton, senior VP of Physician Services with Livingston, N.J.-based RWJ Barnabas Health, which has 11 hospitals and scores of other locations in New Jersey.

Mr. Deal noted that Intuitive Health owns, operates, and enters joint ventures (JVs) with health systems and hospitals nationwide in opening what he called facilities that are a “hybrid ER/urgent care model, and we’ve created quite a niche in the industry.”

The company’s model is to “co-locate” a UCC and a freestanding emergency department (FED) in a single facility.

“Obviously, there are hundreds and thousands” of UCCs nationwide, he said, “and there many freestanding emergency departments operating, and then obviously there’s hospital emergency departments.

“Where we fit in,” he continued, “is that we kind of offer the best of all of those worlds. We are open 24/7, as opposed to a typical urgent care center. Our wait times are just as strong as an urgent care center because we staff and operate it as if we’re in an urgent care center.”

The company says it can point to data showing that its model is successful, as its store in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) market, where there are a combined “462 competitors” in the form of UCCs and emergency rooms, Intuitive’s facilities have experienced “13.4 percent compounded annual growth rate over the last four years.

“So, as we’re continuing to grow our model,” he added, “and it’s a (good example) to show (healthcare clients and potential partners) that we can succeed amongst our competitors out there, and we’ve used that a lot in case studies to sell this approach to other health systems.”

The model has been successful with patients, Mr. Deal said, because they are not burdened with the difficult decision – a medical triage decision – of where to go, or where to take a family member, for the appropriate care.

“We make it easy for patients so they don’t have to choose,” he noted. “When you have that moment of ‘ouch,’ that you’re experiencing something, you’re sick, your kid has the flu or has a temperature, and there’s this discussion internally.”

Choosing its partners

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