San Diego When a water pipe burst in their downtown San Diego medical office building, Pacific Medical Care had to find some place fast where they could see 40 to 50 patients a day.
Co-owners: George Scopetta and James Chao
company opened June 1
No. of Employees: 4
Headquarters: San Diego
Year Founded: 2018
Company Description: Offers flex on demand shared medical office space and examining rooms for doctors and other medical professionals. No lease or long term commitment necessary.
They also needed space for the drug rehabilitation program they run in the same building.
They found it in WeShareMD, a San Diego-based company that opened in June to provide office space and examination rooms as needed for doctors and other medical professionals modeled after WeWork, which provides shared general office.
“The facility was incredible. We couldn’t have asked for anything more,” said Mari Burrows, chief operating officer of Pacific Medical Care.
“They had clinic beds all set up and it was incredibly organized,” Burrows said. “There were copiers, fax machines, anything you could need, it was there.”
Pacific Medical learned of the burst pipes on a Saturday.
By Tuesday, they were up and running in WeShareMD’s San Diego operation at 8901 Activity Road – WeShareMD’s very first client.
Two Week Lease
Burrows said her company leased space from WeShareMD for two weeks until the pipes in their permanent offices were repaired.
Encinitas plastic surgeon James Chao and property investor George Scopetta came up with the idea for WeShareMD after meeting at a Padres baseball game three years ago.
Scopetta is the founder and managing partner of Medicus Property Group, which owns buildings offering more traditional leasing arrangements for medical professionals.
WeShareMD leases temporary medical office space in four-hour increments to doctors and other licensed medical professionals.
The basic fee of $300 per four-hour block includes the use of a patient examining room that comes stocked with medical supplies such as gauze and tongue depressors, an office for consultations and the services of a receptionist.
Getting a Discount
“We have discounted plans. If they buy 10 four-hour blocks, they get a 10 percent discount on pricing. If they buy 20, they get a 20 percent discount,” Scopetta said. “It’s really up to them, how they want to run their practice.”
The company has offices in San Diego and Temecula with plans to open additional offices later this year in Oceanside, Encinitas and a second San Diego office near Alvarado Hospital.
“You rent the space as you need it,” Chao said. “There is no TI (tenant improvements), there is no down payment. You can pay for exactly what you use and you’re gone.”
WeShareMD shares space in medical office buildings with other medical professional groups, such as radiologists and testing labs that have more conventional long-term leases.
In effect, it becomes a kind of one-stop shop, Chao said.
Doctors using WeShareMD can refer their patients for lab work or other tests to other offices in the same building and see the patients to review the results during the same day’s visit.
WeShareMD also offers what it calls a virtual office for an additional fee of $150 a month that allows doctors and others to use WeShareMD’s office as their legal address to receive mail and register for things such as medical malpractice insurance.
Seth Kaplowitz, a lecturer at the Fowler College School of Business at San Diego State University, said Chao and Scopetta have “a great idea” in WeShareMedMD.
“I’m all for these WeWork entrepreneurial sourcing type of business arrangements,” Kapowitz said. “I’ve never heard of it in terms of doctors. I’ve heard of it in terms of lawyers. I’ve heard of it in terms of psychologists.”
Without the expense of long-term leases, doctors could even charge less, Kapowitz said.
The target market for WeShareMedMD is newly minted doctors and other licensed professional who want to form their own practice but can’t afford a long-term lease and established doctors and medical professionals who want to expand their practice to new locations.
“I think it’s brilliant,” said Alex DeNoble, executive director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at SDSU.
“Especially for new doctors starting out, a big problem is the up-front investment that has to be made to set yourself up,” DeNoble said. “This is bringing a lean, startup mentality to the medical profession.”
For those who already have medical practices, “It enables a smaller practitioner to project a much bigger image. It makes expanding a geographic presence that much easier without the necessity for major investments,” DeNoble said. “What this does is it takes the WeWork model into medical, which has more unique, very specific kinds of needs. It provides equipment and facilities that are more germane to the medical industry where WeWork provides basic office space and amenities that would appeal to more of a generic rather than an industry specific (client).”