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30 Most Reputable Companies of the Year 2021

An Interview with Kirat Kharode, HealCo Co-Founder: ‘I Saw an Opportunity to Better Serve the Healthcare Community by Connecting Providers with Under-Utilized Medical Spaces that Fit their Schedule and Flexibility’

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“Aside from helping communities that need care, independent providers can acquire new patients by subleasing time and space in another office one or two times a week for a few months, or virtually for a few minutes, with no long-term commitment.”

Physicians are experts in their field, but what is their real superpower? Let’s find out.

Massive personal sacrifice to complete schooling, deferring income while amassing incredible debt, enduring arduous testing, and training responsibilities — it truly is a testament to willpower just to get in the door. After you land a dream job that has taken years of schooling to attain, it is disappointing to learn about the harsh realities of being an employee. One would think that the coveted role of a physician would come with security and a healthy, steady income, but the medical field certainly isn’t what it used to be.

That said, physicians take a different route and practice independently. Although there’s a slight hitch that prevents them from operating effortlessly: office space. Addressing this challenge, HealCo brings together concerned parties via its technology platform. From the healthcare provider to the medical office building owner and the hospital system operator, HealCo ensures that the parties are on the same page to deliver. Importantly, the company’s tech platform simplifies the search and the securing of space for healthcare practitioners to see patients, so that they can focus the vast majority of their time delivering high-quality, cost-effective outpatient care.

Solving the pain-points of independent physician practices looking to find medical office space is about connecting the provider with the right space for the right amount of time and fair market value. This is exactly what HealCo promises. It conducts a marketplace for medical and wellness office timesharing, management, and compliance. In other words, the company is a matchmaking platform that makes it easier to lease, manage, and monetize medical space. After Covid-19 accelerated telemedicine adoption, HealCo adapted to the market, introducing virtual leasing between health care providers. 

HealCo was incorporated in 2019 and is headquartered in Jersey City, NJ.

Kirat Kharode, HealCo Co-founder, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.

HealCo helps fill under-utilized medical space with providers in its marketplace while also finding compliant, flexible space for providers to sublease part-time. Recently, HealCo launched the first ‘Health System Without Walls’ (HSWOW), a hybrid telemedicine solution where host practices, mostly primary care physicians, lease out virtual space to specialists. Specialists then consult with patients virtually from the primary care provider’s physical office space.

Q. What is the role of real estate in the future of healthcare?

For decades as a healthcare executive, I looked on as providers struggled to expand into communities that needed them most, largely due to physician shortages and shrinking reimbursements. I also saw that 300M square feet of medical space in the US was going under-utilized each year, as hospitals incurred millions of penalties from office sharing mis-management.

Something had to change: I saw an opportunity to better serve the healthcare community by connecting providers with under-utilized medical spaces that fit their schedule and flexibility. In January 2020, HealCo began using its technology platform to offer doctors the opportunity to lease space part-time, short-term, and headache-free.

Pre-COVID, healthcare was already evolving for the first time in 30 years. Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute changes were proposed by Medicare at the end of 2019 for the first time in decades because they recognized the rules were antiquated in a value-based world. Timeshare exceptions began in 2016, allowing for the physical sharing of medical offices on a time usage basis. Since COVID-19, telehealth regulatory changes have shifted, even more, forging a path for telemedicine and virtual leasing through HSWOW.

Q. The evolution of healthcare away from traditional hospital campuses is gaining momentum. How can providers capitalize on this opportunity?

The market is largely unfamiliar with the concept of shared medical space, as the entire healthcare real estate industry is notoriously opaque. The most common response we get from providers is, “I didn’t know this was an option!”

The idea of monetizing the 300M square feet of medical space that goes under-utilized each year is revolutionizing the way independent providers practice, helping them build efficient ‘micro-practices’ free from hospital campus restrictions. Virtual leasing and remote supervision of ancillaries allow for Medicare dollars to shift from costly hospital outpatient departments to a reasonably priced physician office, potentially saving Medicare over $30M annually over the next ten years.

Q. What are the factors that affect the pricing of medical space as listed on HealCo?

Through HealCo’s comprehensive matchmaking process, each party agrees upon rates, schedules, and space usage as part of their medical office sharing agreement. HealCo helps out by providing smart pricing suggestions based on the medical space’s unique qualities like its location, specialized equipment offered, on-site staff, and more. All prices are based on the Fair Market Value, so no need for an expensive appraisal. HealCo facilitates a tour [either in-person, or virtual], and both parties sign a value-based contract before moving forward.

All equipment, storage, parking, and other ‘extras’ are included in the leasing contract. Host practices can specify these extras in their HealCo listing.

Q. How can independent providers optimize their practice outside of hospital systems?

Aside from helping communities that need to access care, independent providers can acquire new patients by subleasing time and space in another office one or two times a week at no long-term commitment. Through HealCo’s Health System Without Walls, they can virtually share space by coordinating specialty consults via hybrid telemedicine.

Self-employed healthcare providers are moving out from health system employment to career independence. Opportunities to virtually share space and acquire patients, and share overhead expenses through hybrid telemedicine give them more control of their patient pipeline and patient satisfaction.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

Our HSWOW concept was recently launched as a hybrid-telemedicine solution. By sending referrals out to our extensive network of specialists, patients are uniquely matched with a specialist who is best suited for their needs, combining quality virtual care with the comfort and services of their primary doctor’s office. I invite you to watch our explainer video here and learn more.

Kirat Kharode: The Leader at the Helm of HealCo

Kirat Kharode, Co-Founder, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of HealCo. A serial entrepreneur and a lawyer by training, Mr. Kharode spent most of his career in senior health system strategy and operations roles creating ambulatory networks for some of the most financially distressed hospitals in the country. He’s received numerous national and local recognitions including the ‘American College of Healthcare Executive’s Regent Award’, ‘NJ Biz Healthcare Power 50’, and Becker’s Hospital Review’s ‘Rising Stars Under 40’, and most recently, a proclamation by the City of Jersey City for his work improving access for the LGBTQ+ population.

For decades as a healthcare executive, I looked on as providers struggled to expand into communities that needed them most, largely due to physician shortages and shrinking reimbursements.