Back in 1996, when Plano Surgery Center welcomed its first patient through the glass enclosure that formed its entryway, a small group of physicians marked the occasion by performing a procedure they had done many times before. There was little celebration and hardly any applause – a far cry from the way one expects to remember the beginning of a new chapter, but any sort of festivity would have been premature. For Dr. Corazon M. Ramirez, this was simply the first step on what would end up being more than a decade-long journey towards accomplishing her dream – developing healthcare delivery systems that are focused on patients and driven by physicians.
Big dreams are nothing new for the short-statured physician. While still a surgical resident in the Philippines, Dr. Ramirez envisioned herself with a career practicing medicine in the United States. In 1981, she ventured across the Pacific to the “Land of Opportunity” when she was offered a chance to realize that vision with a Plastic Surgery Fellowship in Detroit, Michigan. After a few months up North, Dr. Ramirez found her way to warmer climates in Dallas, Texas, this time as a Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery Fellow. Due to the requirement to redo her surgical training which was done abroad, Dr. Ramirez elected to start over as an Anesthesiology Resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Fulfilling her dream wasn’t going to be easy, but she was determined to accomplish her goal.
Dr. Ramirez got her start running healthcare facilities as the Medical Director of Forest Park Surgery Pavilion in the early 1990s. When this facility was sold by Columbia Hospital Corporation, the partners of Forest Park Surgery Pavilion sought to acquire a facility they could completely call their own. The result was Plano Surgery Center with Dr. Ramirez as its Founder and CEO. Through Dr. Ramirez’s dedication and leadership, Plano Surgery Center was syndicated as a 100% physician-owned center and continues to operate as such to this day.
Motivated by the success of that first venture, Dr. Ramirez again spearheaded the development of a second fully physician-owned facility. In 1999, Medical Arts Surgery Center opened in the heart of the University Medical Center Complex. Its own success prompted talk of expanding the facility into a General Hospital. Unfortunately, the building in which the Surgery Center was located was owned by the Medical School, and its future was uncertain.
Fast-forward to 2004 and the opening of Pine Creek Medical Center – the only 100% physician-owned acute care general hospital in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Through the tireless efforts of Dr. Ramirez, Kathie Lower, and the rest of the management team, it was Medicare and JCHAO certified in a very short period of time. On this opening day, speeches are given and pictures are taken. There is applause and congratulations, and the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon. Today, there is cause for celebration, but the vision that Dr. Ramirez once had is not yet complete.
Currently, Dr. Corazon Ramirez serves as the President and CEO of Physician Synergy Group (PSG), a management and development company which she founded in 2007. PSG assisted in the reopening of the Arizona Regional Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona, in September 2008 and is involved in the development of a Neurosurgical Medical Center in Fort Worth and Presidio Medical Center near the city’s Alliance Airport. PSG has been asked to facilitate development and manage several other projects which are currently in the works.
Dr. Corazon Ramirez approaches her work with an energy and passion much larger than her five foot frame would suggest. Her confidence in the ability of physician-owned facilities to provide excellent healthcare in an improved business environment is infectious, and her partners and colleagues appreciate the work that she has done. As Dr. Mark Hoyle commented when he first met Dr. Ramirez, “I thought that surely she was an eight-foot giant the way the doctors talk about her.”
Dr. Ramirez continues to practice anesthesiology, and the same energy that she dedicates to her work has found its way into her home where she is both a loving wife and a doting mother. She is married to Dr. Manuel R. Ramirez, an Anesthesiologist and Pain Management Specialist who is also a partner at Pine Creek Medical Center. Stephanie Kaye, her daughter, graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2006 with a BS in Spanish as well as a BBA in Marketing and serves as the Director of Marketing for Pine Creek. Justin, her son, will graduate from Southern Methodist University this May and plans to attend medical school in the fall. Clearly, her family shares her same passion.
With the founding of PSG, Dr. Corazon Ramirez’s dream of providing patients with the highest-quality care through the development of facilities driven by passionate physicians has finally come into existence. The ability to dream big has always been among this country’s greatest resources. In this world where change is the rule rather than the exception, even if we find success, we must not forget to dream even bigger. Although Dr. Ramirez has found success, she continues to expand her vision to new horizons, always dreaming big.Corazon M. Ramirez, M.D.