Health Law Talk Interviews Dr. Matthew Bernard

Health Law Talk Presented by Chehardy Sherman Williams

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Intro (00:00):
Welcome to Health Law Talk, presented by Chehardy Sherman Williams health Law. Broken down through expert discussion, real client issues and real life experiences, breaking barriers to understanding complex healthcare issues is our job.

Conrad Meyer (00:23):
And good morning, everyone. Good afternoon, whenever you’re listening to this. This is another edition of Health Law Talk here at Chehardy Sherman Williams, where we’re bringing the latest and greatest in health law discussion policy. And then just general information in the studio with me today, Rory Bellina. Rory. Good morning everyone. And today we have a special guest, Dr. Matthew Bernard. How are you, sir?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (00:46):
I’m doing very well. Thanks so much for having me, Conrad and Rory.

Conrad Meyer (00:49):
Well, we, we are absolutely happy to have you here. I think this is a, a fantastic show. And, and, and you’re a fantastic doctor. You’ve done a lot.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (00:59):
You could say that .

Conrad Meyer (01:02):
And today, the, just so everybody knows the episode Dr. Bernard here is the CEO, CMO of Covington Trace, ER and Hospital. Is that correct?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (01:13):
That is correct, yes.

Conrad Meyer (01:14):
And so this is something that, this is your baby. You did this right.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (01:17):
You know, with a giant team, a as it often is, so, yes. But we’ve been working on this particular hospital for about three years to this day, and opening in about another four months to see our first

Conrad Meyer (01:27):
Patients. Congratulations. I mean, that’s just, I mean, that’s a huge process.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (01:31):
Absolutely. It’s my third and fourth child. Yep. . Yeah,

Conrad Meyer (01:34):
. So, let’s, for everybody, let’s get a little background. Dr. Bernard, tell us a little bit about you as a physician. You’re sort of, your history and, and your journey to ceo, CMO of Cove Trace.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (01:47):
Yeah. you know, I think my path has been probably a little unusual. I was a mechanic. I was a welder. I never thought about being a doctor a day in my life until my son was born. He is 25 years old now. And when I was in the birth of your firstborn child amazing in and of itself. But then they whisked him away and I was left staring at the C-section and could see my wife’s ovaries and uterus. And I thought, I, I want to cut people. This is what I want to do. And so that was the day that I became pre-med and and then trained in New Orleans at LSU Med School. Okay. And then I was one of the last classes at old charity er residency Oh, wow. Before Katrina hits, so, yep.

Conrad Meyer (02:33):
So you were involved during Katrina and you were in the, the military tents and all that. You were, that you’re, you were neck deep in that.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (02:40):
Yes. you know, I wasn’t at charity when the storm hits. Right. So you know, it was a contra contraflow thing. I went out of town mm-hmm. dating a, a OBGYN actually in Georgia. But then I saw the levee break. I was actually at her hospital while she was doing a delivery. And I’m from New Orleans, though. I know what it means when the, the levee breaks. Right. In fact, my house in Lakeview took a foot of water on the second story from Katrina. And so I borrowed a Jeep that had a snorkel on it and got my dad’s gun and a bunch of peanut butter and water, and drove back through Katrina, actually on I 20. I came back through the storm rushing in, you know, I was brand new young er doctor. I was gonna save everybody. That was my plan. So it was a interesting time for sure.

Conrad Meyer (03:26):
I mean, he’s got that gungho attitude. Rory. Yeah. I

Dr. Matthew Bernard (03:29):
Could see it. Yeah. That, that’s really

Conrad Meyer (03:31):
Interesting. I, I never knew that about you. Now. I, I mean, like every, every time we have someone on the show, I always learned something new. That is, I mean, for people who’ve never been through Katrina, and I don’t wanna belabor Katrina, cuz I mean, I’ve, people have heard enough about it, but I can tell you being on the front lines, cuz my, you know, as you know, my wife’s an ER physician and she was on that front line too. Mm-Hmm. , it, it it’s something that you just, it’s hard to dis for people who’ve never experienced it. It’s very difficult to, to, to just describe that. Yeah, absolutely. You know, so, so, so you, you went through, you, you practiced after that. What, what facility did you, did you stay here in New Orleans?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (04:05):
You know there was a, a very brief several months where I actually went to Atlanta. The Emory program took me in. So I practiced a little bit at Grady, but very quickly our program here got up and running again. Came back in, we were at the tents and and then yeah, continued training. We flexed a little bit down to Houma, down to Shaw, Uhhuh, a little more than usual. We also flexed to auctioner main campus a little bit more. And but then the program continued to get better and better. And so finished up residency in New Orleans. And and then even before I left residency, I, I started leading other emergency departments. So I became the director of another LSU er. And I guess I just like to fix things, whether it’s you know, cars or planes or boats or people or houses. So, you know, a little bit of a d d like a lot of ER directors probably. So just a touch. Well,

Conrad Meyer (04:56):
You know, that’s a good thing because from what I understand, a d d folks, you know, have the ability to do a lot of multitasking mm-hmm. , you know, so functioning high level. You definitely got that going on. That’s good. That’s great. So, so tell me your journey as a clinician, when did that for you, sort of change to more of, I’m looking at going into the administrative role and, and what was that journey like?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (05:20):
Yeah. you know, I guess I’ve had a touch of an entrepreneurial spirit for a while. So my wife and I have been, you know, part of many businesses still are. We have partnerships in a, a brewery here in New Orleans. Oh, wow. I didn’t know that. That’s great. Yeah. second line brewing. So, okay,

Conrad Meyer (05:38):
Man. We, we should have had Dr. Bernard bring us a case of beer. We could be drinking second line right now, or do the share there. That’s right. We could go remote right

Dr. Matthew Bernard (05:47):
Next time. We’ve started you know, Montessori preschools. Oh, wow. I’ve been doing real estate and rentals since before I was doctoring. And in fact, we just sold all of of our rental properties this year. So so I, I think business has always been something I’ve been interested in. And so a few years ago an orthopedist and I locally started talking about building a small hospital, a micro hospital mm-hmm. . And and then that’s continued and evolved. We, we met a, a gentleman, an ER doc as well, his name is Tom Vo, fantastic fella. And he has 20 of these hospitals up and running. And so we, we learned he was coming in the neighborhood. We didn’t want to particularly compete against him. Right. And then we went and visited one of his facilities and Alexandria, it’s been up and running for about two and a half, three years. And the, the design was amazing. Tom Vos amazing. In fact, we just did a I p O on the NASDAQ in April. So

Conrad Meyer (06:43):

Dr. Matthew Bernard (06:43):
Wow. We, with him. So he’s got another 20 that he’s working on opening currently, including Covington, Tracy Yarn

Conrad Meyer (06:50):
Hospital. So tell me this. Okay. Cuz you know, down here, when we think about hospitals, right? Mm-Hmm. , we think about, I mean, two, two major players, lcm, C and Ochsner. Sure. Absolutely. And, and so what does a, a, what is a micro hospital? Because some people might not know what that is. What, what does that mean?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (07:06):
Yeah. You know, I, I, I, you know, and I, and I definitely don’t want to beat up on a Ochsner or

Conrad Meyer (07:11):
Lcm C Oh, no, I’m not. But it’s a new term because some people might not know. Well, they all, all I think of is, oh, I’ve gotta go to ej. I gotta go to Ochsner. Yeah. And when you say micro-hospitals mm-hmm. , some people might not understand what that is.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (07:22):
You know, I think the easiest analogy for me is if, if Ochsner’s Home Depot we’re the ACE hardware. So imagine a whole hospital just shrunk down in size. Mm-Hmm. , you know, our particular hospital locally here is on about three acres 21,000 square feet. Each hospital is a little different. These micro-hospitals, uhhuh, but the one here locally, we have a full functioning er, all er board certified physicians like myself. We also have 10 inpatient beds, so I can admit you as well. Maybe some IV fluids or antibiotics or short term observation mm-hmm. one thing our hospital doesn’t have is general surgery. And another thing our hospital doesn’t have locally is an icu. So, you know, I can find your appendicitis, but then I have to ship you somewhere else. Got it. I can intubate you or stabilize that, you know, gunshot wound or stab wound, but, but then I have to ship you out if it needs ICU level

Conrad Meyer (08:12):
Care. And y’all, and I guess through this, through just the market, the healthcare delivery market hospitals, it sounds like from what Tom has been doing, what you’re doing seems to have found a niche in the delivery market. Is that, is that right?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (08:26):
Yeah, it is. And, and I think, you know, another analogy people are probably more familiar with is gonna be the surgical centers where you can, you don’t have to get your surgery there, but they often provide a little nicer experience, a little more concierge level. There might be a nice rug in the room that you wake up in after surgery. Right. and so so I think it’s another option. And, and it’s nice to have other options, option or lcmc. We’re not gonna put ’em out of business, but but it is nice, nice for patients to have a third option to go to. And we are smaller so we can provide that higher level of service. I mean, you know, in a nutshell, we’re gonna spoil 30 patients a day rather than trying to cram 150 patients a day through the er. So

Conrad Meyer (09:09):
I think a lot of people can relate to that. Yeah,

Dr. Matthew Bernard (09:11):
Absolutely. I

Conrad Meyer (09:11):
Think, and, and, and from what you’re seeing, for example, you mentioned Alexandria’s up and running, correct. From what you’re seeing in, in the hospitals in not, not necessarily in Covington yet, cuz you’re not open yet. Correct. But how is that faring in Alexandria, for example? They’re

Dr. Matthew Bernard (09:25):
Doing really well. You know, they are seeing, you know, 30 patients are a little bit more per day, per 24 hour day, and they’re happy as clams. The, the patients are happy with the experience. There’s, you know, effectively almost no weight or, or very little weight ever. And, and I’m

Conrad Meyer (09:40):
Sure people like that.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (09:41):
Yeah. The, the staff can take a little more time with you. I mean, you know my whole career is we’ve been pushed to get patients in right and out of the er so we can get another person there. And all of a sudden you can take a little more time and, you know, spend a little time and maybe we, you know maybe they want to get to the game in 45 minutes, and I can do that as well. But maybe you want a little numbing medicine before you get your iv and that takes an extra 15, 20 minutes. That’s not something you’re gonna be offered at a, a, a big box kind of hospital, typically.

Conrad Meyer (10:10):
Agreed. And, and so I’m sure there are a lot of providers who are gonna listen to this, and I’m sure you’ve gotten this question, I’m gonna ask it to you. They’re gonna scratch their head and say, okay, that sounds really great. How in the world can I get in on this? What, what would you, if, if a doc say you were at a coffee shop, one of your friends says, Hey, you know, you don’t want me to calling you Matt.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (10:32):
No, not

Conrad Meyer (10:32):
At all. Yeah. Matt I’m, I’m, I’m watching what you do. This sounds really awesome. I want in what can I do? What would you, how would you respond to a provider if they say they wanna do this?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (10:43):
Yeah. You know, I think this might be sort of the, the, the early stage or the infancy of these micro hospitals mm-hmm. you know, initially there were these urgent cares and then there became freestanding ERs. And now your freestanding er can also admit you as well. That’s kind of the, the evolution that I see. And, and, and the great thing about this is it’s, it’s very reproducible. Now it’s really great to be with a partner like Tom Vo who’s, who’s done this, who’s, you know, created these and and, and also learn from that experience. But you know, just like these small hardware stores, you’re, you’re gonna see a Home Depot, you’re gonna see a Lowe’s, and then you’ll also see these small hos, I’m sorry, small hardware stores, you know, dotting the, the town all over the place because I think there’s a happy coexistence there. You know, a long time ago you had the doctor would show up to the patient store with their leather bag. Right. And their literally and figuratively was nobody in between the doctor and patient. I would say, you know, largely the pendulum is on the other side of the equation now, and there’s tons of executives and administrative assistants. Well, those people have to get paid and, and they get paid off of the doctor’s billing for the most part.

Conrad Meyer (11:50):
And I’ve heard that too, by the way I’ve heard, you know, I mean, mean, I’m, look, I wasn’t in ho I was in hospital administration and I was, you know, gee, I mean, 20, 25 years ago when I, you know, but I wanted to ask, when you look at the administrative apparatus, right? Mm-Hmm. , even at the larger systems, I mean, how many VPs do you have? How many committees and so forth. And you’re right. All those people have to get paid. So do you find that micro-hospitals like your, like yours at Covington Trace can cut through that and, and sort of, you know, bring back that, that that doctor-patient relationship that I think people are craving?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (12:28):
Absolutely. you know, our organization chart is flat like a board. You know, I’ve got a Oh wow. A right hand. I’ve got a left hand. So my CNO and my facilities administrator kind of a coo, Uhhuh I’ve got a marketing and business development, but after that, there is no more depth. It’s just everybody

Conrad Meyer (12:44):
Flat. So we’re not looking like a spider web or some big old pyramid. Right? No,

Dr. Matthew Bernard (12:48):
And, and, and you know, another beautiful concept in this model is that the physician, my ed partners, like myself, we are all partners and owners of this hospital. And so 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when you show up to our hospital, you’re gonna meet an owner of the hospital taking care of you and your family, all board certified er docs. And, and who more motivated to give you that, that great experience we’re bringing back the doctor and the leather bag directly to the patient again,

Conrad Meyer (13:15):
Was that the purpose when you started doing this? Was that the intent?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (13:18):
Yes. And, and, and, you know, and also to, to explore, you know, a, a better degree of service. Now listen, you know, most things come down to service. I think you know, as attorneys you’re providing a service. If I’m working in a restaurant, I’m providing a service. Now we provide a fancy service. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we do some pretty aggressive things sometimes, but I trained at charity. A lot of my docs did. But is, is there something above you just didn’t die? You know? And, and don’t get me wrong, we gotta make that happen, right? That’s the, the, the bare minimum. But, but what else could we offer? Could, could we offer numbing medicine in your wound, even though you’re 40 years old? Could we offer numbing medicine before you get your iv? Maybe a child might benefit from a little nitrous if they have some anxiety before a small procedure. So and maybe we can spend a little more time with you and not have to just rush you out the door. Maybe you’re not quite comfortable. Maybe we can sit for a few hours mm-hmm. and, and you know, illnesses are dynamic. I mean, your, your first hour of appendicitis, all my tests are gonna be normal the next day. It’s gonna be very obvious. And so the, the, the dynamics of medicine and illness benefit sometimes from taking a little more time and not just rushing somebody through, cuz your CBC was normal. So,

Rory Bellina (14:30):
Dr. Bernard, I wanted to piggyback kind of on Conrad’s question. Yeah. There had to have been, i, I think a moment or an instance in your professional career where you thought, maybe I don’t like the way that this current big hospital model is set up, or I think I can do it better. Is that what led you to do this? And like, you know, what, what was that moment for you that, you know, pushed you towards doing

Dr. Matthew Bernard (14:54):
This? Yeah, I you know, I remember as a resident there was a director of the er and I was always bugging him with ideas that I had to make things better. How can we better educate? Why are the patients waiting so long out there? How can we improve the flow and efficiency? And so it, I guess it started pretty when I was a we young doctor that recognizing that I thought it could be done better. And so, you know, most of my career in emergency medicine has revolved around fixing broken emergency departments or ones that needed help with efficiency. You know, when I was even a younger doctor at old charity there would be patients waiting sometimes 24 hours in the waiting room or, or even longer, you know, at some point. And appropriately. So we realized that’s not good care.

And so even if we’re doing everything right, right, once you get back in the er, I, if it takes us 24 hours to get to you, that’s not good. So, so, you know, a lot of times I’ve been going to hospitals or emergency departments that had two hour door to, to doctor time or over an hour door to doctor time. And, and you know, I don’t think that’s appropriate. If you come in with an emergency, now, you know, the patient’s not supposed to know if that chest pain is heartburn or a heart attack. That’s our job, and we have all these fancy tests. It is also our job to get to them as quickly as possible. And, and so through that process and exploration, I’ve continued to wonder how can we do it better? What can we do better? I, I, I want that er visit to be just like a fine dining restaurant experience.

You walk in the door, you’re greeted by a host or hostess, you’re brought to your table slash bed, and then you meet your server slash doctor. And, and so it is a fancy service. I love patients to be shocked that this was an ER visit, to be able to make them laugh a little appropriately to ease some of the stress. I mean, it’s scary sitting in a waiting room and you know, you’ve got, it’s an er, right? I mean, we, we deal with everybody from the pope to homeless. And so, you know, but, but sometimes there are schizophrenics that are having an exacerbation or people on drugs or withdrawing and people hacking up a lung. And now you’re trying to get your baby to the back to get tested for something, right? And you’re worried are, are we gonna get sick or, or mauled while we’re waiting in this waiting room? So, so

Rory Bellina (17:08):
What was the feedback that you received when you went to your supervisor or director and, and wanted to make changes or, or had better ideas? How, how did

Dr. Matthew Bernard (17:16):
That go? The, the first couple of times he entertained me and finally he said, Matt, maybe you need to be a director. And so because that’s what the ER directors are, are in charge of. And, you know, they’re, they’re leaders and, and designed to get better patient care, better quality, better efficiency. And so he actually introduced me to the medical director of a hospital lolly Kemp in Independence, Louisiana. And that was the first ER that I became the director of. And you know, I think I didn’t know what I was getting into, but but I definitely had an idea of, of how I wanted the experience to be. And it was a great place to, to learn, you know, directing a directed Touro’s er for just under seven years or so new Orleans East er, I was the director of for a year to help them stabilize a little. And then also I was the assistant director of Boga Lu’s er. So lots of er experience. But, you know, I was a mechanic in the Air Force. I’m a people mechanic now, and and, and ERs and hospitals also sometimes need fixing too. So

Rory Bellina (18:17):
What’s the patient feedback that you see when they come to a Covington Trace or another?

Conrad Meyer (18:23):
Well, they haven’t, he haven’t, he hasn’t opened up yet,

Rory Bellina (18:25):

Dr. Matthew Bernard (18:25):
I, I, correct.

Rory Bellina (18:26):
I if they come to a smaller micro hospital, what did they say? Or what’s the impression that you get from them compared to going to a bigger

Dr. Matthew Bernard (18:34):
System? Yeah. I, I think they just absolutely love it. I mean, you know, first off you know, not having a wait or very little wait. I mean, that’s, that’s brilliant. Not having to hang out in the waiting room for four hours to get back to, you know, get whatever it is investigated appropriately. So and then also that that little more personalized touch the, the niceness, the compassion and the empathy tends to be a little different. You know gosh I’ve seen a lot of ERs worked in a lot of ERs, and sometimes people get ground down a little bit. I mean, the last few years in particular have been a little funky. I mean, you know, yeah. Covid and the, the pandemic even the ongoing, now, the, the, you know, flu and the RSV and the covid there’s a lot of things putting a lot of pressure on people and I love what I do, but if I start doing too many shifts, it starts to wear on me too. So this is a, a just a, a more focus on empathy, more focus on, you know, a higher end service model

Conrad Meyer (19:34):
Is the, and just is Covington and these micro-hospitals that y’all are setting up, I, is the, are the patients just strictly coming in through the ER or, you know, if I’m a physician owner, say I’m, I’m some other specialty. I mean, I dunno if you have, is it only ER specialties or do y’all have orthos or other doctors in different specialties where they could may, oh, I’m gonna schedule my surgery at the hospital. What, what’s sort of the, how do you get the patients and is it strictly through the ER or their other means?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (20:03):
Yeah. So, you know, I think I guess when I’m looking at our hospital locally now, now this one locally doesn’t have surgery, so we’re not doing, she’s

Conrad Meyer (20:09):
Not doing

Dr. Matthew Bernard (20:10):
Okay. Not doing big surgeries. No appendicitis, I think he had Dr. Christakis on, you know, and Dr. Christakis won’t be able to pull out a gallbladder at

Conrad Meyer (20:17):
Our blood. Oh, you, you heard, oh, he heard Dr. Krista. That’s good.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (20:19):
Yeah. Yeah, indeed. Good. But, but my, I guess my three arms of our local hospital Yeah. Are er, and that’s a, a lot of the ways patients are coming into our hospital. Right. I can also admit you from there as well. So we’ve got the er, we’ve got the inpatient, and then we also have outpatient. So, you know, if you’re not having an emergency, but yet you need to get an mri, or you need to get an ultrasound, or you need to get some labs done, you can also come through that outpatient sound.

Conrad Meyer (20:43):
There’s no surgery suite in this one, is there? There’s

Dr. Matthew Bernard (20:45):
Not a full surgery suite, but there is procedure rooms, so, so outpatient. Yeah. So we could have you know, surgicals or general anesthesia. We don’t have general anesthesia, but but many ER

Conrad Meyer (20:57):
Documents, so mild sedation. Mm-Hmm. .

Dr. Matthew Bernard (20:59):
Absolutely. So, got it. We’re used to doing procedural sedation. Ketamine, advanced drugs. Exactly. Got it. Mean propofol, so, got it. We’ll have that full capability. Should we need to do some procedures, but but you know, your appendicitis, your gallbladder,

Conrad Meyer (21:11):
And that’s the model on purpose, correct?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (21:12):
That is, it is. Although some of Tom’s Vos facilities do have a, an operating room. Oh, okay. So, you know, yeah. That’s the, the tricky thing is each of these hospitals is sort of siloed and unique. Interesting. you know, there’s some things we’re doing with Covington, Tracy RN Hospital that I don’t know of any other hospital that’s doing some

Conrad Meyer (21:32):
Of these things. Can you say what that is? I don’t wanna, I can, no, again, I don’t want to, I don’t want to get into proprietary things, but is just something you can talk about. I’d like to hear what the, what that

Dr. Matthew Bernard (21:39):
Is. Absolutely. You know three years ago when we started the idea, we started with a blank piece of paper, and we said, let’s not cross off any ideas. What can we provide in, in terms of experience. One of the things that we’re doing is, is I have doors from the externally that, that enter into the ER rooms. I also have doors on the inpatient rooms directly outside. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think this is a, a security risk. And so I consider these doors completely closed all the time. Right. And they will be. So, but with exceptions. And so let’s say maybe coming into the er, well, there’s a couple of ways we could use ’em, but let’s say you come into the er, traditionally, you walk through the, the waiting room, we triage you, we, we, and then we find out you have a, maybe a covid or flu or rsv, one option is I can let you out of the room. And so, in an efficient standpoint, that’s nice. And you’re also not going back through the waiting room with your known diagnosis of covid exposing more people than you. Right.

Conrad Meyer (22:33):

Dr. Matthew Bernard (22:33):
Really interesting. I can also do sort of the flip side of that. So gosh, you know, there’s certain people that might be particularly fragile, maybe immunocompromised, maybe small babies. Mm-Hmm. . And, and that waiting room becomes a much more dangerous place, maybe the mom of a three month.

Conrad Meyer (22:48):
So you can walk ’em outside and put ’em in a room.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (22:50):
Even better than that, I can send you a code to your phone, and you can swipe into room two and come directly into the er. And then my staff’s notified you’re there, you know, on the inpatient side, there’s some really interesting uses too. Now you know, let’s say

Conrad Meyer (23:04):
I’ve never heard of that. Have you heard of that? Yeah. This is, this is brand new. I feel like I’m walking into the hill like’s a suite. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I mean, wow. Okay. That’s interesting.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (23:12):
You know, on the inpatient side, I, I have a couple of rooms that are even extra big and extra nice. These v i p rooms, they’ll have desks and all these kind of things, but they have these fancy doors. And so let’s say you’re admitted and you’re getting your IV fluids or antibiotics overnight, and you’re watching Netflix, I can send a code to your wife or, or spouse, or, you know, child, and they can swipe directly into your room and bypass going through the whole entire hospital. Wow. So, so we have to be careful about these. I, you know, I don’t know of anybody else doing this. So so

Conrad Meyer (23:41):
Not that I know of. I don’t know. That’s, but that’s a unique issue because, I mean, I think it’s nice. I mean, imagine you don’t have to walk through the halls and you can just go straight to the room. I mean, that’s a very interesting dynamic. I like that.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (23:54):
Yeah. So I think we, we’ve got some things that other hospitals just won’t ever be able to, to achieve. And No, and I’m, I’m excited that’s a service. I think the community is gonna really enjoy that. Maybe, is it, is it v i p treatment? Maybe, but I think everybody that comes should get the v I p treatment. Sure. That’s what, what our business is, is

Conrad Meyer (24:11):
Service what outpatient, cause we covered inpatient or even general surgery, which is not gonna happen. Sure. What outpatient procedures do you foresee occurring at, at the, at Covington Trace and others like that? Yeah.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (24:23):
You know, I’m, I’m, I’m interested because I’m, again, trying to not cross any ideas off the list. Got it. So one of the things that I’ve been seeing that some of our local community members have expressed an interest in mm-hmm. is sort of these I, I might call ’em executive health screenings. So, you know, you’re not having an emergency, but you’re trying to get the most out of your life. I mean, people are living longer and longer these days, and we have some really great testing available to help that. And so some people are having to go out of town to different states to get these gosh, I’ve seen things like full body

Conrad Meyer (24:54):
Mri. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’ve seen a full screen on labs, a full mri, the whole bed, these whole not a, like, like a wellness exam on steroids.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (25:05):
Exactly. Some of these take two or three days in. Now you might do a sleep study overnight

Conrad Meyer (25:12):
And y’all are doing, y’all could, or y’all plan on doing that. Is that what y’all are thinking?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (25:16):
We are investigating it now and would like to do things like that. I think it’s what the community wants, and it’s my job to consider from the patient’s perspective.

Conrad Meyer (25:23):
Well, let me just say this. I, I, because I heard this on another podcast of someone else, Rory, that you and I both know, and, and, and, and they were promoting this mm-hmm. . Okay, sure. And so I just, just for giggles to, to, and, and, and Matt, just for you, I literally researched in Louisiana, if anything like this is offered, and it’s not, no. Anyway, it’s in Texas. You can go to Texas and get it. But if you wanted a full, I mean, unless your family’s a physician Right. And you have access to a magnet that Yeah. That, that the tech you can rely on mm-hmm. , I mean, you, you know, there’s no way you can get this anywhere. No. Well, that’s a very interesting, and I know more people are interested in that. I know that.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (26:05):
Absolutely. And and, and then there’s little things that we can add to that as well. I’ve got a, a local person that we’re talking with now that she, she makes great healthy food. She’s got a food delivery and catering. Interesting. They’re gonna help us to design a custom menu for our patients. And so maybe when you’re coming to get that executive health screening, maybe we start your day with steak and eggs and and, and I

Conrad Meyer (26:27):
Might have to get one of these.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (26:28):
You, you know,

Conrad Meyer (26:28):
We, we, I could probably use one of these bad, my wife would tell you that, ,

Dr. Matthew Bernard (26:32):
We wanna make this enjoyable. I mean, if, if, if an ER visit can be enjoyable, we wanna make it enjoyable. If, if we can help extend people’s lives by maybe catching something a little early, we want to do that. That that’s our business.

Conrad Meyer (26:43):
That’s interesting. I mean, I know that’s not, that’s not anywhere in Louisiana. I know that.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (26:47):
No, that’s, that’s why we’re looking at it. You know, community members have asked me and said, Hey, I, I gotta have friends myself. You know, I’m heading up north. They,

Conrad Meyer (26:54):
They want to know. Right. They want to know, Hey, if, if, if I could head something off at the pass, why am I waiting to be reactive? Right. On a PCP gatekeeper model. Absolutely. Why not go proactive? I want to know now.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (27:06):
Sure. Yeah. Listen, not everybody will want to do it. But you know, there, there are people that will want that kind of information. Interesting. And yeah.

Conrad Meyer (27:14):
So y’all basically, you’ve taken urgent care, outpatient, ase outpatient, and you’ve taken freestanding er and you’ve bottled it up and you stuck it. And that’s the hospital.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (27:24):
Yeah. you know, with some flowers on it. I mean

Conrad Meyer (27:27):
You know, some indoor right doors, fancy

Dr. Matthew Bernard (27:29):
Doors and and you know, when you get admitted, you’re probably gonna get a bathrobe. There’ll be some flowers in your room you know, some big fancy smart TVs. And we might be able to bring some consultants directly to that er room, to the inpatient room. I, I’m not taking anything off the list. Interesting. If it can benefit patients.

Rory Bellina (27:47):
So one thing that I know that we wanted to get to is the, the money behind this mm-hmm. , because I think that that’s, I’m sure a lot of people are thinking of that as, who’s gonna pay for this? Or the patient’s gonna pay for it. So can you walk us through what the model is that, that you’re using from that aspect?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (28:01):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, it has to be sustainable mm-hmm. . So, I mean, you know, when we open the doors you know, we’re not gonna win in a year. Our win is by staying open forever. And so that means it has to be sustainable. Now, we, we don’t have all those executives administrative assistance, and so we don’t need as many patients. So we don’t, we don’t need everybody. We just need, you know, a certain number per day. And that’s a very doable thing for us. The other thing and, and there’s a little difference at a lot of times facilities, but I know one of our plans is to, to take primarily commercial insurance or private pay. And so, you know, we’ll have a list of services. I mean, let’s say you’ve got no insurance, but if you have a Visa card, you can get a pretty thorough workup, in fact, almost the, the whole nine yards for, you know, about $2,000. But that would include, you know, MRIs and CAT scans and labs and everything. So, so and I think about 10% or a little bit less elect to, to use private pay. So, but otherwise commercial insurance is our primary sort of target audience and the no surprises Act. I know y’all,

Conrad Meyer (29:05):
I was gonna, that was my next question when he starts talking about that. But go ahead. I don’t wanna cut you off. Go.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (29:09):
No, I, I, I, I’ll, you know I’ll, I’ll lead you into it. The the, the No Surprises Act was authored by Bill Cassidy. And you know, and I still think there’s some issues with it. I think some of the insurance companies are, are using a loophole, and, and there’s still probably needs to be some better enforcement of some of those rules, but it’s a new law. So I know, you know, things are happening a little slowly there. But but overall, the No Surprises Act is designed so that patients don’t get surprise bills. And, and so they’re not gonna get this crazy high explanation of benefits, these EOBs. And also, you know, when they see emergency and they swipe that insurance card they shouldn’t be surprised and get balance billed. Essentially it makes everybody with commercial insurance almost in-network when you go to an emergency visit. So anybody with insurance commercial insurance will be, you know, essentially in network you’ll have your copay that is between you and your insurance company. Right. But there won’t be any additional costs to come to

Conrad Meyer (30:08):
Our er. You cut out the wraps, physicians, you cut out the, the separate, you know, entities within the hospital. That’s separately Bill. Mm-Hmm. . It’ll be, so let me ask you this. I’ve, I’ve read, don’t know how y’all see this, but I’ve read in other places, and Rory I don’t know if you’ve read this too, but there are some outpatient places there. They’re, they’re surgery centers, for example, who literally post the charges on a wall or on their website. So people say, wow, that’s incredible. Like, like, I didn’t realize, you know, like very transparent. They literally list out the prices, here’s what it is, there’s no negotiating. I mean, right. I mean, here’s the real price of what we, what we’re gonna have here. Certainly. Is that something that y’all are considering? Or, or, or, and they like the transparency. So they, there’s like you said, there’s no Gotcha. Yeah. Right. H how do you feel about that? Is that something y’all are looking into? Yeah.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (31:01):
You know gosh, I guess I spent a lot of time in the restaurant business, so I tend to use a lot of analogies there. But, but, but literally we will have a menu let’s say Oh, wow. For that outpatient side, so that, that outpatient executive health screening, there’s a lot of portions of it. Maybe, maybe you don’t want the whole nine yards. Yeah. But, but maybe you’re interested in, I don’t know, an MRI or the brain potentially. So, so there’ll be a menu with you know, a list price, how much it costs to get that done in our facility. Gosh, if you came in the ER and oh, let’s say you had, I don’t know, no insurance at all, and and, and we did a medical screening exam and said, Hey, you know, we don’t see any life-threatening emergency. Here’s a list of our private pay, you know, options if you’d like to continue further investigation in this. And so so I think transparency’s key, and, and for that reason, I mean, the no Surprises Act, I believe is a, a very noble act. It does benefit patients.

Conrad Meyer (31:51):
If you did do that and put it like a price list, like you’re a menu, like you’re talking about, I think you would be the first facility in Louisiana to, would you say that Rory? Yeah. I don’t, I don’t know. Don’t know anyone doing that.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (32:04):
Yeah. Yeah. We aim to break some barriers here. You know, this is not just old

Conrad Meyer (32:08):
Tradit. I mean, I’d be serious. I don’t know any facility outpatient, ASC even, or, or any rural hospital free standing that’s doing. Maybe I’m wrong. Do you know any I I do not know of any. None. Mm-hmm. , that would be landmark, that’s

Dr. Matthew Bernard (32:24):
For sure. Yeah. We, we are trying to break down barriers in terms of, you know, the expectations and what we can provide and offer, and the way we can provide that.

Conrad Meyer (32:31):
I think some of your other private hospitals might like, wait, what are y’all doing over there?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (32:35):
. . So

Rory Bellina (32:36):
What are some of the, the pitfalls or the shortcomings that you’ve kind of probably already anticipated and you, you’re, you know, that you’re gonna That’s a great question, you know, that you’re gonna face going into this.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (32:46):
Yeah. you know, gosh I’ll tell you, I mean, you know, staffing is a, a tremendous challenge right now in healthcare. Our particular hospital at, at Covington, Tracy RN Hospital is got a staff of about 75. So, you know, trying to find, you know, well-qualified people. And, and we’ve got lab and pharmacy and security registration, ER nurses, inpatient nurses. So so staffing is a an interesting challenge, I’ll

Rory Bellina (33:10):
Say. And that’s probably not just unique to you. I’ve, I’ve heard from numerous people that’s, that’s just healthcare right now. Staffing in general. I mean, I think Covid did a big reset on how people wanted to work, where they wanted to work, right? How much they expected to be paid. So

Dr. Matthew Bernard (33:24):
Mm-Hmm. , and, and then, you know, as we’re we’re heading down these new frontiers, there’s some questions that just have, you know, or, or new issues that we have to look at. For instance, all these fancy doors I’m talking about, well, all of a sudden I’ve got a hospital with a lot of doors. And so we have to be, you know, first and foremost thinking about security and safety. You know, the last thing that we could possibly have is a, a young child get one of these doors open and go running out into the parking lot, you know, unattended or something. So so this morning we met with the state fire marshal, and we started talking about what we want to do, how we want to do it, the electronics, the software needed to make these things secure. Video cameras need to be probably more robust in our facilities, so we have eyes on who’s coming and going. And so a lot of these things are not done previously. So, you know, when you get into uncharted waters, I think it, it, it does create more challenges cuz you gotta get it right. And so so those are some interesting aspects. And then, you know, gosh being a leader, taking care of patients, I mean, you know, that, that, that in

Conrad Meyer (34:25):
Itself, that’s, that’s another thing. So, so being in hospital administration on, for me, it was on the private side, you know? Mm-Hmm. and, and hca mm-hmm. . And so we always encouraged to get out and connect with community a lot more, a lot of different roles here. So let me ask you, that’s a good question. I wanted to ask you. So you’re transi, I know you’re keeping the clinician hat on. Yep,

Dr. Matthew Bernard (34:45):
Absolutely. I am.

Conrad Meyer (34:46):
But as cmo, ceo, that’s a different level. So, so tell me about the transition to that, and then, and then what do you see your role is in the community to promote Covington Trace? How do you see yourself doing that?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (35:02):
Sure. well, you know, it’s interesting. I think you see a lot of leaders kind of gravitate towards leadership roles. And, and so, you know early on in my military experience, I think I was maybe 18 or so at the time but I ended up in charge of all the Air Force personnel on Aberdeen proving grounds. I enjoy being of service to the people that I’m leading. And that’s the way it should be, though. You know? I mean, people aren’t working for me. I’m, it’s

Conrad Meyer (35:30):
A service industry, right? I agree.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (35:32):
I agree. So and then so and I think, you know, I guess almost all patients, I’m all, sorry, sorry, sorry. All hospitals wanna provide amazing care to patients or, or they should. And and so the patient first is a, a, a common motto set, and I get that, and I agree with that, but I also think you have to have a tremendous focus on taking care of your employees impeccably, and then they will deliver that high level of service. And I think it has to be in that order. First. You take care of your employees as perfectly as you can, and then they will deliver the results that you’re

Conrad Meyer (36:07):
Looking for so that you get them. And that was really critical, right? Yeah. The buy-in. Yes, exactly. And so how do you motivate 75 people right? To, to buy in to the Dr. Bernard’s vision of Covington Trace er, and hospital?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (36:21):
Yeah. Well, I, you know, I tell you, it’s, I, I think it’s pretty easy because just like we’re talking about, you know, we’re, we’re talking about this vision, this idea to take care of patients and, and, and, and in a, a wonderful, beautiful way and compassion and empathetic. And that’s an easy idea to buy into. I mean, who doesn’t want to be of service? I mean, gosh every religion, even monks, I mean, at, at the end of it, if you boil it down and condense it, it’s about service to others. That’s what makes us feel good internally. And, and then it’s a win-win. So I think, you know describing the vision, repeating the vision you know, the visions in my dreams, literally, I, I dreamed the other night that I met Kenny Rogers, I told him about our hospital, he said, Matt, you’re gonna do great. I mean, it, it, it has become 24 hours a day in my brain. And and I’m okay

Conrad Meyer (37:07):
With that. I’m wondering, and, and I, and I think this is interesting when you, when you talk about this mm-hmm. , when you cut out the administrative one, what’s the word I want to use? The, the, the tape maybe? Yeah.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (37:21):
The baggage. The

Conrad Meyer (37:22):
Bureaucracy, the baggage or the bureaucracy of, of a system or a hospital, right? Yeah. I I would bet that the buy-in from the provider side is a lot easier when you tell ’em, look, we’re on the same team. Yeah. And I understand as a practicing clinician, your needs, your issues, your worries, your concerns, you know, in, in terms of what you’re looking for, and how do we meet the goal of patient first?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (37:52):
Yes, absolutely. You know, there was, that’s

Conrad Meyer (37:54):

Dr. Matthew Bernard (37:54):
There was a really interesting study done. And they looked at people cleaning hospitals, and there were two different facilities, and they interviewed the people that were cleaning. They had the same job. Uhhuh, they had the same pay, but the first group that they interviewed that they weren’t particularly high performing and they asked them, you know, what is your job? And they said, you know, I had clean toilets. Right? And they interviewed this other group that, that did seem to be more high functioning, high performing. And when they asked these same people doing the same exact job, what is your job? They said, we save lives here. Now these are the people cleaning the toilets. They’re the people sweeping and mopping, but they’re part of that team that contributes to saving lives. They, they studied that group more, and they noticed that these people cleaning the floors and mopping they, they talked about it. They would spend a little bit more time in that inpatient room if they didn’t have visitors, if they looked a little bit lonely, they would help them get things to their car. You know, that’s what I guess I define as that high performing.

Conrad Meyer (38:52):
And do you think that’s directly attributable to, to getting rid of that bureaucracy of administrative? And do you think that’s the, a key component, or do you think there’s something else as

Dr. Matthew Bernard (39:02):
Well? No, I do think that is, I think you’re bringing that, that owner, that doctor, back to the patient experience, you’ve got an owner there 24 hours a day. And, and, and you have to continue pushing that and driving that.

Rory Bellina (39:15):
That’s really interesting.

Conrad Meyer (39:16):
I, I, I mean, when you think about what he’s saying, you know, how many administrators does, do you need to, to stock a, a surgery? Or how many administrators do you need to do an outpatient or even admit admitting, I mean, when you’re talking about admitting how many people do you need overseeing, admitting mm-hmm. , right?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (39:33):

Rory Bellina (39:33):
Right. And I think the, the big difference that, that you’ve talked about is that, you know, we know a lot of small, smaller surgery centers not as many physician doing hospitals now, kind of since that little

Conrad Meyer (39:46):
The aca the

Rory Bellina (39:47):
ACA on that. But I think the fact that you’re gonna have the physician owners there practicing, making operational, you know, decisions is, is big. Because I think when you get into some of these big systems, you’ve got the worker bees and then the

Conrad Meyer (40:02):
Administration. Yeah. I’m Dr 4, 2, 5, 6 J. Sure.

Rory Bellina (40:05):
Yeah, exactly. And if you, if you need a certain screw or a certain widget, you know, you have to go through six levels of

Conrad Meyer (40:13):
Approval, requisition, page four, subparagraph. Yeah.

Rory Bellina (40:16):
Right? And, and go talk to this person that has to go before the board. And, and I think that by you doing all of like, cutting that out, all of that, I think it’s gonna be a lot more efficient of a model. And like you said, it’s probably gonna make people a lot more happy that work for you that say, Hey, if we need this, I’m gonna buy it because I’m, I’m, I have the authority to do

Dr. Matthew Bernard (40:35):
So. Absolutely. You know, we have a monthly call and Alexandria for instance, you know, and every month you’ve got the, the, the doctors get on there Tom Vog gets on there and they discuss and, and take a vote if they need something. And then it happens. And, and that’s not it. It doesn’t need to go through a, a three month process or go through anything else. You know? They had an ultrasound that, that just they wanted a better ultrasound for the ultrasonographer. They talked about it on a call and they got it, and that’s it. And, and I’ve been at facilities where the ultrasound’s broken, or we knew different probes and oh my gosh, what you, you know, have to do to try to get a new machine or better machine. I mean, hopefully it comes in years from now after they repair that one 15 more times.

But that, that bureaucracy is tough to fight. And, and, and those kind of things take away from your time and attention to what we want to be doing. I mean, sure, nobody got into to medicine to usually to be an administrator. I mean, we got into medicine to help heal patients, to, to, to be healers. And and so the more time and and focus we can spend in that direction and not having to fight with an administration to get a new widget or ultrasound machine that’s gonna make you happier. And, and then, you know, happy doctors are gonna provide much better service. Sure. Happy nurses. Again, that’s where you comes back to taking care of your employees impeccably. And then they will deliver that first race service.

Conrad Meyer (42:00):
So what do you think, let me ask you this, and, and I’m gonna mm-hmm. throw this up in the air here with you and, and try and, and, and I know everyone has a perspective and, and, and, and tell me what you think and, and your personal perspective, not the Covington trade ceo, but I wanna hear what you think healthcare delivery five years from now mm-hmm. 10 years from now. Are we, are we still seeing large conglomerates more consolidation, or are we seeing sort of a, what I, what I would call a break? Mm. Where physicians who continually, and this is a long hypo, if you will Sure. Who continually have their ancillary revenue sources diminished mm-hmm. , their reimbursement rates cut. Yeah. They’re, I mean, consistently across the board. Yeah. Okay. Where do you see physician providers five, five years, 10 years, and how does that refl in terms of providing care Right. And the facilities that they provide the care in. Where do you see that going?

Dr. Matthew Bernard (43:02):
Yeah. Well, I guess what I see it, it’s gonna be up to the patients. And so if the patients are enjoying the experiences at these smaller surgery centers mm-hmm. or at smaller hospitals, they’re gonna come to those hospitals. And that’s gonna cause a shift. I know why. The, the, the big hospitals are doing what they’re doing. Profit margins are, are pretty tight. You know, maybe running one to 3% even. And so they’re buying up gosh I think Ashner now has 47 hospitals. I, I could be mistaken about that. But a large conglomerate now, and, and I know why they’re doing it, so they can get even bigger boxes of gauze, bigger truckloads of gauze

Conrad Meyer (43:39):
Economies, economies

Dr. Matthew Bernard (43:40):
Of scale, economies of scale to, to improve that really tight profit margin. Right. but I, I do think that what I’m seeing so far is that people are enjoying these surgical centers when they can. They are enjoying these smaller hospitals and and, and less weight. So I think that’s going to drive the market, if you will. And and I think the more physicians understand that this is a possibility, I think there’s a lot of physicians coming out. They don’t know what options are out there. They don’t know that they can go work on their own. You know, back in the day there was a lot more private practice independent, and it was probably the majority at some point. And today, it’s not today you see a lot more employees and you’re starting to see more non-competes and more restrictions placed on physicians. But I, I, I don’t know that that’s making physicians happier. I don’t know that they’re enjoying their

Conrad Meyer (44:30):
Work. Royal, I can tell you right now, it’s non, I I think Royal’s checked the same thing. I mean, when the first complaint I hear, when, when is the non-compete, I mean, that is the number one problem aside from the comp model.

Rory Bellina (44:41):
Yeah. It’s an interesting problem because I recently spoke to a group of residents and did a quick poll of, you know, where they, they were, you know, interviewing or, or you know, where they were looking at going. And the vast majority of them were going to, or interviewing with the big systems. Sure. Because typically they have a better offer. They, a lot of ’em will have, you know, student loan repayments, sign on bonus, all those attractive things that get these young physicians in the door. But then you and I know the majority of them will call in a few years and say, I hate it. I’m tired of this.

Conrad Meyer (45:11):
I’m ready to get out. I hate it. How can I get out?

Rory Bellina (45:14):
And my buddy, Dr. Bernard’s doing this really cool thing in Covington. I, I need to, I need to do something else cuz this is not what I signed up for in med school. This is not what I’ve wanted to do. Be tracking my RVs and spending all this time documenting and, and constantly getting told that I’m not, I’m taking too long in consultations, my surgeries aren’t going fast enough. Mm-Hmm. , I’m using too expensive of products.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (45:38):
Yeah, exactly. I think you’re right.

Conrad Meyer (45:40):
And, and, and lemme just tell you this. Think, think of this, okay. And I know you’re, you’re going with this Covington trade’s a little bit different, but just from a healthcare delivery system standpoint mm-hmm. , we are seeing a paradigm shift to value-based care reimbursement. Mm-Hmm. . Okay. And what that means is, for those listeners who don’t know what, what that means is, is pay one price per episode of care. So you, it is more going to the capitated model to where I’m gonna pay only this and that’s all you’re gonna get. Right? Right. But we’re gonna base it on value. That’s, that’s the little buzzword. Right. But yet these big systems compensate physicians on all production. Mm-Hmm. . So in other words, you’ve got the go-go gadget. I want RVs, I want more patients, I want more procedures, I want more. But yet now there’s gonna be a shift in value-based.

So I mean, I’m, I’m, look, this is just my personal opinion. I, I, I’m curious to see the market, how it reacts to that and where physicians are gonna be five or 10 years from now. Are we still pushing vu based contracts on comp models or are we shifting, and how the, how is that gonna react? I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that. If I did, I I maybe I’d be in a different job, but it’s just, it’s an interesting dynamic. I mean, you, you follow what I’m saying here? I mean, you, I,

Dr. Matthew Bernard (46:54):
I do. And, and, you know, I wish I had all the answers. But, but, but I, I know enough to know that it seems broken. Yeah. And I think the patients feel like the system’s broken. I think the doctors feel like the System’s g broken

Conrad Meyer (47:05):
Guarantee they did

Dr. Matthew Bernard (47:05):
Or could be better. So, you know, I, I wish I did have all the answers, but, but I do know that, you know, providing another option, two patients, I mean, options are just never a bad thing.

Conrad Meyer (47:15):
Well, you know, I think you’re doing just that with Covington Trace er and hospital. I mean, that’s, that’s the new option. It

Dr. Matthew Bernard (47:23):
Is, it

Conrad Meyer (47:23):
Is. And you know we, we hope that you and the hospital succeed. Thank you. And, and we want to, you know, thank you for coming on our show. We really appreciate that. And we hope we, I’ve learned something new today. I don’t know about you, Roy.

Dr. Matthew Bernard (47:36):
Absolutely. I really like

Conrad Meyer (47:37):
This model. You know, I wanna bring Tom Vo on. I wanna see, I want to, cuz he seems like the, another genius behind the model. So I mean, he, he is someone that sounds very interesting. So he’s

Dr. Matthew Bernard (47:46):
An amazing leader. And, and you know, that’s where it starts. It’s kind of top down and went to his new tech headquarters in Houston recently, Uhhuh . And my c o and I were there and after meeting with departments different departments there over two days. And, and at some point he, he stopped and everybody else had left the room and he said, these people are oddly happy. Everybody seems content. And, and I think that’s what happens when you get, you know, good leadership a little smaller vibe. You know, the bigger any organization gets then, you know, you start getting a little more like a Walmart or something

Conrad Meyer (48:21):
Like that. Sure. So when is the grand opening? When, when is the, the patient doors gonna swing open for Covington Trace? Yeah,

Dr. Matthew Bernard (48:26):
So we’re coming in spring. It looks like we should get the keys from the contractor in March, and then it should take us about another month. So April maybe worst case scenario, beginning of May, but we’re hoping for an April opening. But yeah, we’ll do a ribbon cutting and we’re just so excited to get the doors open and get some patients in and, and have the chance to serve them. And we gotta, we gotta execute. It’s great to have a vision, but we gotta make it happen too. And I’m sure we

Conrad Meyer (48:49):
Will. I would love to have you back on the show. Yeah. In the summer, if you’re open next year after the doors are open to kind of get your thoughts on how the hospital’s doing if, if you’re open to

Dr. Matthew Bernard (49:00):
That. Yeah, that sounds like a great thing. I think you know, the more, the more we can talk about it and just discuss the different options for other physicians to, to know that it’s out there that this is happening more and more. So.

Conrad Meyer (49:11):
Well, I gotta tell you Covington Trace, er, and Hospital, looking forward to seeing what that looks like. Dr. Be Bernard, thank you very much for coming on the show. Yes, thank you so much Rory. And everyone who’s listening, please check out our website,, our podcast, and leave us that good five star rating. If you have any questions or any suggestions on the show, please send us an email. What is it, Rory podcast, I think. Yes,

Dr. Matthew Bernard (49:33):

Conrad Meyer (49:34):
Chehardy.Com. Fantastic. Everyone have a great holiday season. Talk to you soon. Thanks for joining.

Intro (49:40):
Thanks for listening to this episode of Health Law Talk, presented by Chehardy Sherman Williams. Please be sure to subscribe to our channel. Make sure to give us that five star rating and share with your friends. Chehardy Sherman Williams is providing this podcast as a public service. This podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast does not constitute legal advice, nor does this podcast establish an attorney-client relationship. Reference to any specific product or entity does not count as an endorsement or recommendation by Chehardy Sherman Williams. The views expressed by guests on the show are their own, and their appearance does not imply an endorsement of them or their entity that they represent. Remember, please consult an attorney for your specific legal issues.

Health Law Talk interviews Dr. Matthew Bernard, CEO of Covington Trace ER and Hospital.

Health Law Talk, presented by the Chehardy Sherman Williams law firm, one of the largest full service law firms in the Greater New Orleans area, is a regular podcast focusing on the expansive area of healthcare law. Attorneys Rory Bellina, Conrad Meyer and George Mueller will address various legal issues and current events surrounding healthcare topics. The attorneys are here to answer your legal questions, create a discussion on various healthcare topics, as well as bring in subject matter experts and guests to join the conversation.

We handle everything from regulatory and compliance check-ups to employment matters, Medicare and Medicaid issues to state and federal fraud and abuse regulations. Our healthcare attorneys are always staying up to date on the latest state and federal regulations to ensure that our knowledge is always accurate.

Our team has the expertise to assist you with compliance matters, HIPAA violations, payor contracts and employee negotiations, practice and entity formation, and insurance reimbursement issues, in addition to the full spectrum of other healthcare related issues.

Chehardy Sherman Williams, founded in the Greater New Orleans area, has been a leading law firm serving Southeastern Louisiana since 1989.

We put decades of legal practice to work for our clients and provide more personalized services to achieve their desired results. From businesses and individuals across more than ten practice areas, we can provide more experience and more representation.

We can help resolve a wide range of complex legal issues in all courts, including parish, state, and federal branches. Our attorneys have represented cases across Louisiana and the country. Armed with a profound and comprehensive knowledge of the legal system, we are devoted to protecting your legal rights while upholding the highest standards of the justice system.

We are consistently recognized as leaders in the industry, earning local and national accolades for results, service, and commitment.

Health Law Talk podcast channel logo
Health Law Talk podcast channel logo
Health Law Talk podcast channel logo
Health Law Talk podcast channel logo
Health Law Talk podcast channel logo

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