New Hospice to Offer Considerate Care for the Terminally Ill in Sugar Land


By Manu Shah

SUGAR LAND: Two of the most dreaded words one hopes never to hear are “terminal illness”, especially in relation to oneself or a loved one. This is usually followed by a host of bewildering decisions that need to be taken – like the right physician, hospice care, insurance matters and confounding medical terminology – none of them easy or simple.

Pearland-based Altus Healthcare Management Services is stepping in to fill the needs of the terminally ill in Sugar Land by opening a new hospice with an in-patient unit in approximately 8 months. The company held the facility’s groundbreaking ceremony last Thursday, August 22.

The term “hospice” refers to a service that provides medications, equipment, hospital services and additional help, either in the comfort of your home or at an inpatient unit, when life expectancy is about 6 months or less. Patients are referred by their doctors to a hospice and the service is usually covered by Medicare.

Altus Healthcare was founded in 2004 with a novel concept of “empowering physicians”.  In short, it allows physicians to invest and become partners at their centers and once operational, doctors focus on practicing medicine and taking care of patients while ZT Wealth, Altus’ sister concern, handles the day to day administration, marketing and cash management. Altus has had a dream run opening several hospices, imaging, surgery and sleep centers in Texas, employing over 800 people and generating $150 million of revenues.

Altus’ strength lies in being patient focused and creating a plan of care that is tailored to the unique needs of the individual and their family. This is overseen by a care team of highly trained healthcare professionals who work in tandem with the patient’s primary physician to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care.

The ground breaking ceremony comprised of the Altus team who were welcomed by Executive VP for Marketing and Business Development Cruize Gaj.  He was quick to recognize the efforts of all the people who had made the event possible, starting with David Redman, Sr. VP of Business Development who said this was a rewarding culmination of three years of hard work.

Gaj welcomed Bridget Yeung, Mayor Pro-Tem of Sugar Land who remarked that a community is known by how it treats its elderly and that she was glad that Altus was opening this much needed facility and offered all the help possible from the City.

Former Mayor Dave Wallace, now a Board Member of Altus Healthcare, described by Gaj as “one of the best people to have in your corner”, said he was appreciative of the jobs the facility would create and the healthcare it would provide for the residents of Sugar Land.  “Detractors may complain that the wheels of the Government are not working fast enough,” Wallace said, “but I believe that the “City of Sugar Land is the best oiled machine there is.”

Exuding poise and confidence with a disarmingly friendly demeanor, the young 38 year-old co-founder, President and CEO of AHMS/ZT Wealth, Taseer Badar spoke a few words at the event. Badar’s is a one of a kind success story.  A born entrepreneur, he encountered his fair share of hiccups and detours – but they were lessons that only made him wiser and smarter.  Today, as the leader of one of the most rapidly growing healthcare companies in Texas, he believes that it is even more important to “stay humble and stay the course”.

Dr. Dominic Sresta, a practitioner of Internal Medicine, Hospice Care and Palliative Medicine and one of the prominent partners in this venture was emphatic about the high level of care that would be offered to patients at the soon-to-be-built facility. “Patients would be treated with a combination of medical expertise and compassion,” he said, “that would ease the final days of their life. At the end of the speeches, all the partners put on their hardhats, picked up ceremonial shovels and walked over for the ground breaking ceremony.