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By Joel Stinnett
Reporter, Nashville Business Journal

A trio of Nashville health care executives have launched a new company.

Lync Health Partners will focus on purchasing, managing and growing ambulatory surgery centers, CEO Kenny Hancock said, with an emphasis on adding high-acuity service lines to the facilities.

The company is being funded by Atlanta-based private equity firm MSouth Equity Partners, which has an office in Brentwood. Hancock did not disclose the amount of MSouth’s investment.

In addition to Hancock, Lync’s founders include Chief Operating Officer Kathy Kowalski, who previously held the same position at Seven Springs Orthopedics and Meridian Surgical Partners; and Chief Financial Officer Jim Uden, who previously held the same position at Haven Behavioral Healthcare and Meridian.

Hancock, who was formerly the president at Meridian, said Lync’s strategy is to purchase existing surgery centers and add service lines that have traditionally been performed in hospitals, specifically total joint replacement, spine care and cardiology. The company also expects to build some new surgery centers in cases where surgeons are looking to leave the hospital setting.

Lync purchased its first surgery center, the Orthopedic Ambulatory Surgery Center in St. Louis, last year, Hancock said, and is currently building a new center to house that business, which will increase its capacity by more than 50%. The new center is expected to open in June.

“It’s really driven by technology and the innovation around being able to see a higher acuity patient safely in an outpatient setting versus an inpatient setting,” Hancock said. “The pandemic forced the hand of a lot of surgeons to seek alternative venues to do surgery because a lot of the hospitals were locked down from a surgical perspective. … The surgeons would seek [ambulatory surgery center] venues and they would have good patient outcomes and as a result a lot of patients are now seeking [an outpatient] venue versus an inpatient setting. That’s the premise of our business model.”

Hancock said the company will look to grow first in the Midwest, with any new centers coming in states a without a certificate of need law, which requires state approval for the construction of new health care facilities.

While Hancock didn’t disclose how many surgery centers the company expects to open, he said Lync has a “deep pipeline” of growth opportunities.

“We want to grow quickly but we want to grow smartly,” Hancock said. “It’s organic, It’s taking advantage of this shift and surgeons looking for an opportunity to find the right partner. What we bring to the table is expertise, we bring the money and we bring the focus because we don’t have 300 centers. We’re starting with one and we’ll build this thing fairly judiciously.”

Lync currently has four employees working out of its Burton Hills headquarters. Hancock expects that number will grow in Nashville by about 20 employees over the next few years.