China Healthcare gives details of first hospital

Elcan/Frist venture picks local architects to build in seaport city

China Healthcare Corp., the hospital company launched last year by entrepreneur Charles A. "Chuck" Elcan and HCA co-founder Thomas F. Frist Jr., has received government approval to build its first facility in the People's Republic of China.

The firm announced today that it has retained Gresham Smith and Partners of Nashville to design the 500-bed hospital, working in conjunction with Shanghai Institute for Architecture Design and Research. The choice is not surprising, since the Gresham firm has designed many HCA hospitals over the past four decades.

The new hospital will be located in Cixi, a city of some 2 million people within the sub-provincial city of Ningbo, located on the Pacific coast south of Shanghai. It will take the place of the 150-bed People’s #2 Hospital serving that community.

Elcan created the company with Frist, his father-in-law, in an effort to tap China's vast health care marketplace. Today's announcement also mentions a co-founder named Henry Zhou. China Healthcare Corp. is not affiliated with HCA.

Elcan has stated previously that the hospital will serve patients within China's public healthcare system, with some beds set aside for private-pay care. CHC will own a controlling 70 percent interest in the venture, with the Cixi government owning the remainder.