Our Story

OHIO VALLEY PHYSICIANS

Founding members (from left) Robert Hess, MD, and Stephen Shy, DO

Founding members Robert Hess, MD, and Stephen Shy, DO

When Ohio Valley Physicians began serving patients in 1999, its founders weren’t dreaming of the multi-state, multi-family business they would become. They weren’t envisioning the team of 150-plus employees they would retain or the reputation for family-oriented, patient-centered care they would earn throughout the region. For the two family doctors, both from the Tri-State, whose paths had crossed for decades before they became partners, their vision was simple: to meet the health care needs of residents of the Tri-State in a truly patient-centered environment.

In 1999, Dr. Stephen Shy was in private practice and Dr. Robert Hess was the president of Huntington Internal Medicine Group. Both had received family medicine training and returned to the Tri-State to work and raise their families. Dr. Shy, who had recently earned an MBA, approached Dr. Hess with an idea for a company that would specialize in primary care services and physician staffing at nearby hospitals. Around that time, a hospital in Ironton, Ohio, was in need of physician staffing. The hospital wanted local management, with individuals who understood the values of local communities. Ohio Valley Physicians was born.

Since its founding, OVP has managed the emergency room needs and hospitalist services for a number of hospitals in the region. Along the way, it has opened six outpatient offices, primarily in rural areas, to provide primary care and walk-in services. In 2012, OVP launched its newest division, Appalachian Health Services, providing a medication-assisted treatment program for opiate addiction in several locations throughout West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. Featuring skilled, caring counselors, all of whom have master’s degrees and advanced training in addiction counseling, and nurse practitioners at every office to provide primary care services to clients, the medication-assisted treatment program offers recovery, hope and health to countless individuals and families throughout the region.

Dr. Hess and Dr. Shy, whose vision for OVP has proven to be not only a successful business model but also a needed health care service in the region, have welcomed their children—including Dr. Stephen Shy Jr., Stacey Shy, Dr. Jonathan Hess and Stephanie Hess Jarrell—as the next generation of physicians and leaders at OVP. However, their original mission remains firmly in place. Under the leadership of CEO Stacey Shy, Ohio Valley Physicians continues to grow its regional presence, improve the communities it serves and meet the evolving health care needs of the region.

A FAMILY BUSINESS

Jonathan Hess, MD

Growing up, the children of Dr. Robert Hess and Dr. Stephen Shy knew the door was always open to them at Ohio Valley Physicians. Still, there was no pressure to join the family business.

“My dad always encouraged me to try, see and do different things,” said Dr. Jonathan Hess, who oversees OVP’s emergency medicine program at Holzer Medical Center in Jackson. “I went away to school at Elon University, and I thought I’d end up in one of three things: ministry, business or medicine. I realized along the way that medicine was the closest thing to being able to do all three.”

Dr. Hess returned home to the Marshall University School of Medicine to complete residency training in family medicine. As he became more familiar with his dad’s business, he realized OVP would be a perfect fit

“It’s a nice, normal fit for me, not just because it’s a lifestyle I’ve always known but because the entire group is made up of family-oriented people,” said the father of two. “So whether you’re getting together on the weekends to hang out or picking up an extra shift so that your colleague can be there for a family member, there’s a family feel in everything we do.”

There’s one problem when the family business is medicine, though, said Stephanie Hess Jarrell, Dr. Robert Hess’s daughter and OVP’s director of human relations. At family dinners in the Hess household, “talking shop” is off limits.

“I actually came up with that rule at a very young age,” Jarrell said. “They’d start talking about medical cases, and I’d get grossed out. I guess that’s also when I realized I wouldn’t be going into medicine when I grew up.”

Jarrell, whose bachelor’s degree is in psychology and master’s degree is in HR, said the growing company was in need of an HR director around the same time that she completed her graduate education and internship training.

“I really wanted to pave my own way and figure out my own future after college, but I would have jumped at this opportunity even if it hadn’t been the family business,” she said. “Working in the corporate office is so rewarding. It feels like working with family, even though my immediate family is usually out at the hospitals. We remember birthdays and support each other during hard times. It’s really a special place.”

Stephanie Hess Jarrell, Director of Human Resources

Stephen Shy, II, DO

Dr. Stephen Shy said fostering a family-oriented environment has been a top priority since the day OVP was founded, long before he and Dr. Hess knew their children would be taking the reins.

“Family is paramount in our company, and all of our employees know that,” he said. “If your baby is sick, stay home. We’ll work it out. If you need help with something, we’ll do whatever we can to help you. One of the most rewarding things for me is pulling into one of our clinics and seeing temporary tags on a new car. It means someone has the faith in our company to make a big purchase and know we’re going to take care of them. We’ve been blessed with great employees and great relationships over the years, and I think it’s because we’ve always put family at the forefront of what we do.”

Simply put, said Dr. Grant Shy, brother of Dr. Stephen Shy and an anesthesiologist with OVP, there’s no separating business, medicine and family when it comes to the Hess and Shy families.

“Both the Shys and the Hesses are from Cabell and Wayne counties, dating back generations, and there’s just been a propagation of medicine in our family for years,” he said. “It’s why we are who we are.”

Dr. Stephen Shy’s older son, Dr. Stephen Shy, II., oversees OVP’s emergency medicine program at Holzer Gallipolis, and his younger son, Stacey Shy, is the company’s CEO. Stacey Shy said the family-oriented atmosphere at OVP extends to patients and their loved ones.

“We know how important family is and how important community is in the areas we serve,” he said. “We’re sensitive to those values. When we open a new clinic or office, we feel strongly that we’re there in that community to make it a better place. That means we want to support our patients, but we also want to support their families and neighbors and surrounding communities. As a family business, becoming part of a patient’s family and being welcomed into a community are two of our greatest rewards.”

Dr. Robert Hess said a simple philosophy is the secret to OVP’s success: “We enjoy what we do, and we like taking care of people.”

“We are a two-family company—and when you look at it on paper, it probably shouldn’t work,” he said. “But 18 years and 150-plus employees later, it is working! We are a group of people who enjoy our jobs, value our coworkers and provide excellent care for our patients.”

Stacey Shy, CEO