Dr. Schumacher's Full Story

If you’ve ever thrown a stone into a lake, you know that once it hits the water, it forms a ripple that grows larger and larger, wider and wider, until soon its reach is much greater than the original impact. If the world is a lake, then Kip Schumacher is the stone, spreading goodwill and making waves wherever he goes.

The modern-day Renaissance man has many talents. From making jewelry in his apartment to pay for medical school - to working in the high-stakes environment of a hospital ED - to launching one of the country’s largest healthcare practice management companies - to donating millions of dollars to worthy causes - Kip pours all of his energy into every endeavor. He’s traveled and worked with people from all over the world, yet remains grounded in his childhood home of Lafayette, Louisiana, a close-knit community in the heart of Cajun Country.

“My parents taught me the importance of giving back, doing the right thing and working hard,” Kip says. “Early on, I understood the importance of family, church, and community.”

While Kip was attending the University of Southwestern Louisiana - now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette - he started making jewelry from brass, silver and gold wire. His work not only helped fund his LSU New Orleans medical school tuition, it gained the attention of his hometown’s largest apparel store, who encouraged him to grow. He recruited five employees, including his father, to work for him and travel around the Southeast to art and jewelry shows. 

After medical school, Kip began a 17-year career in the ED of Opelousas Medical Center near his hometown. As a physician, Kip not only saw ways to improve the clinical side of patient care, but recognized opportunities to make the business and management better.

“I thought there had to be a more efficient way to provide quality of care in the ER while treating patients with dignity and respect,” Kip says. “I saw a huge opportunity to make a difference while making the numbers work.”

With trusting friend and hospital administrator Gary Keller, Kip launched Schumacher Group in 1994 in two empty exam rooms in the back of a doctor’s office, working in the ER on nights and weekends for a steady income. Kip’s idea was to go into hospitals and streamline their ER operations, helping with anything from staffing and scheduling to billing, insurance, electronic records, and quality management.

“I had a big plan but I had no idea how to actually pull it off,” Kip recalls with a laugh. “I’ve always surrounded myself with people who know how to get things done, who can clean up in front of me and clean up behind me.”

With an unwavering vision and the right people beside him, Kip grew Schumacher Group from managing the emergency services at 10 facilities in one year to 50 in five years. In 1999, they were named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies.

After 20 years operating independently, Schumacher Group merged with Hospital Physician Partners to form Schumacher Clinical Partners. A year later in 2016, they joined forces with ECI Healthcare Partners, becoming SCP-Health and expanding their footprint to 400 hospitals in 30 states. SPC-Health, now one of the largest healthcare management partners in the country, provides an entire continuum of clinical care including hospital medicine, intensive care, ambulatory care, and telemedicine.

Just as Kip set out to improve the ER, he sought ways to better his profession. In 1998, he founded the Emergency Department Practice Management Association (EDPMA) to help doctors better understand the business, regulatory, and legislative aspects of the ER.

“I knew we needed to take on the critical issues like balanced billing or we’d no longer have free enterprise in healthcare,” he says. “If something wasn’t done, it would be the end of medicine as we know it.”

In 2016, he founded Physicians for Fair Coverage (PFC), a non-partisan alliance of tens of thousands of physicians that protects patients from surprise billings and provides fair reimbursements to physicians. Within two years, PFC formed 24 coalitions in 24 states to battle state legislative issues, insurance commission initiatives, and managed care initiatives to change the way healthcare was provided and funded across the country.

To decompress, Kip travels with his wife and family for leisure, adventure, and mission work. He’s hiked Glacier National Park, climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania and fed the hungry in Haiti.

But those close to Kip know his mind never stops. He has a rare gift for not only coming up with brilliant ideas, but actually following through. He’s a connector, constantly bringing people together with common goals to make a bigger impact. The more he’s worked and the successful he’s become, the more he’s given back. And the more people he meets and the more places he visits, the more he becomes interested in a myriad of causes.

Kip has earned numerous awards and accolades as a physician, entrepreneur, business man, and philanthropist, including the Louisiana Governor’s “Innovator the Year,” University of Louisiana’s “Outstanding Alumni Award,” and “Hero of Emergency Medicine,” by the American College of Emergency Physicians—just to name a few.

He’s taken his crisis-management skills learned from years in the ER into the real world to deal head-on with everything from hurricanes and floods to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When faced with a crisis, the beloved Mr. Rogers has famously shared this advice from his mother: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Kip is one of the helpers.

When coronavirus first hit Louisiana in February of 2020, Kip immediately saw the need for more PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers. Using his broad network, he was able to order 4 million masks from a reputable vendor in China—not yet knowing where or how he’d store and distribute them. After donating an initial 1 million masks for those on the front lines, he founded Mask on Every Face to provide affordable masks in a timely manner to those who needed them most, while keeping out the price gougers. In the first month, the organization worked with such clients as FedEx, Jockey, the Army Corps of Engineers as well as hospitals and state departments all over the country.

“When COVID-19 first broke out, I didn’t have time to figure out the logistics, I just knew there was a dire need for masks and something had to be done about it,” says Kip.

Following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Kip became involved with Eight Days of Hope. The national Christian-based organization enters communities and completes significant projects in eight days. Impressed with their sophisticated project management, Kip helped raise $2.5 million to provide additional resources, and Eight Days of Hope built an astonishing 800 houses in Houston in just eight days.

“It’s all about the power of community and people stepping up,” says Kip. “When I look at the amount of work that’s accomplished by volunteers, it’s unbelievable. When you give people direction, give them the tools they need, and put them in an environment where they can really make a difference, it’s amazing what they’ll do.”

Having grown up in Louisiana’s public schools, Kip remains passionate about providing a strong foundation for young people at home and abroad and believes a good education is key to a prosperous community.

Through his business dealings in India, Kip learned about the Pratham Education Foundation. He helped them expand from providing basic educational needs to teaching job-ready skills by funding multiple vocational schools throughout India. He’s taken the same pragmatic approach in the United States.

“It’s not just reading, writing, and standardized tests, we have to teach kids how to be prepared for life,” Kip says. “We need to promote important soft skills as well as workforce development and community involvement. You can’t just come in for a day to fix up buildings or drop off a check. We start real relationships to build trust and let our schools and our students know people care about them.”

Kip has supported Leader in Me and the United Way to teach public school children Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people. In 2019, he partnered with Love Acadiana to create Love Our Schools. In its inaugural year, Love Our Schools raised over $1 million to fund 100 service projects at eight schools in Lafayette Parish, recruiting nearly 3,000 volunteers and providing backpacks and school supplies to 5,000 students and 750 faculty and staff. Kip plans to take this successful model and expand the program to other school districts and other states.

“It was a real eye opener for me when I toured around to the schools to decide where to spend the money—the need was just staggering,” says Kip. “We wanted to expose these issues to our community and fully engage individuals and businesses to support our public schools.”

Kip and his wife Carolyn formalized their philanthropic work in 2018 by founding the William C. Schumacher Family Foundation. While supporting causes close to their heart, they’re always looking for new ones to support.

“We love aligning our resources with organizations that can make a big difference,” says Kip. “Our foundation wants to identify the right organizations and create new ones that are scalable, starting out small and helping them grow to make the strongest possible impact.”

If anyone knows how to take an idea and grow it exponentially, it’s Kip. He watched a side jewelry business grow into a money-making endeavor, went from working in one ER to having a presence in 400. And now, with a wealth of resources and connections, he’s poised to help non-profits reach their full potential. All you need is the right idea, and Dr. Kip Schumacher can figure out the rest.