Hospital is exporting its operating expertise


In charging industry, HCM looks ahead and outside to stay healthy


Fredericksburg has more than its share of entrepreneurial smarts. Retailers Phil Jackson, Fischer & Wieser, Opa’s Smoked Meats, Jeep Collins and more have exported their products while developing statewide and national reputations for quality, service and design.

Still others have created businesses that have helped Fredericksburg become a solid draw for state, national and global visitors. Fredericksburg Brewing Company (and other Estenson family businesses), the charming Dooley’s 5&10¢ Store, family-owned peach farms, stylish art galleries, and wineries like Becker Vineyards and Grape Creek, to name just a few, helped establish the ’Burg as a tourism destination. 

So it stands to reason that a small town with much business talent fields a board of directors to guide its hospital into growth mode. Not all owners of listed businesses have served on the hospital board, but they all created a savvy business environment that benefited the directors, made up of experts from the insurance, healthcare, retail, banking and philanthropy industries.

As profiled in the paper last week, in just the past few years, Hill Country Memorial has entered area markets and is actively pursuing another. After winning recognitions and awards for quality and solid operating performance, it makes business and healthcare sense that they want to expand and offer services neighboring towns. They want to export that same quality we have come to expect here since Hill Country Memorial opened with a community commitment in 1971.

Staying on top of all the healthcare changes thrown at consumers and operators from the federal level seems a full-time job. But the larger entities, and the smart ones, are branching out to both diversify revenue sources and export their expertise.

HCM also benefits its communities by offering between $7 million and $9 million in charity care each year. And it has done what it can to address rapidly rising healthcare costs, much of which is largely out of its control.

And though Fredericksburg and Gillespie County rely heavily on tourism, let’s not overlook the economic impact of having roughly 700 hospital employees anchor our local economy here. While other towns struggle to keep their hospitals open, ours recruits top talent from all over the state who buy homes, shop locally and contribute to causes and organizations.

Basic accounting 101 advice is “you’re either growing or you’re dying.” The healthcare industry is fraught with challenges, but the need will remain constant. HCM is choosing to grow and it’s a smart strategy and one that will benefit the entire region. – K.E.C.