Thumb Butte Medical Center’s Askari Talks About Big Plans for Prescott Health Care

Q: Tell us about why you started Thumb Butte Medical Center. 

A: Dr. Hojat Askari: Ten years ago, I was working as a hospitalist, and realized that many of the patients we discharged often came back within a week or two weeks because there was such a shortage of primary care physicians. I was heartbroken to see patients returning so soon to the hospital, so that’s why we decided to open an outpatient clinic. 

Q: Thumb Butte Medical Center now also includes an urgent care and a pharmacy. You also have an in-house lab. How many doctors and specialties are at Thumb Butte Medical Center? 

A: We are truly proud to be a multispecialty clinic. As a team, we have 21 health care providers. 

Q: You are expanding the services of Thumb Butte Medical Center even further. Can you tell us what is coming? 

A: We are very excited to announce that Dr. Douglas Rothrock is joining the Thumb Butte Medical Center. As a board-certified cardiology and internal medicine doctor, he spent three decades treating serious medical issues like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and hypertension. As his practice evolved, he became more aware of the critical need for doctors like himself to focus on treating obesity, which is the root cause of most of the chronic health issues he was treating, and became board-certified in obesity medicine. 

Also, people may not know that Victoria Ray is in our offices and provides permanent cosmetics. Often, permanent cosmetics can help people who have scarring from accidents or surgeries. As Victoria explains, to really feel great, you want to be healthy mentally and physically, but when you look good, it also helps you feel better. Victoria has started to also offer new aesthetic services for body contouring and sculpting. 

We now offer a state-of-the art breakthrough treatment for incontinence with a completely noninvasive technology that is literally as simple as sitting on a chair. 

Finally, as a team, we could not be more excited to welcome a new hospital and many other specialties that we don’t currently have in our community in the coming months, in our project on Willow Creek Road. 

Q: Thumb Butte Medical Center is obviously the foundation of something much bigger. Can you share this vision with us? 

A: We want to serve the community so patients don’t have to travel out of town to Phoenix for their medical care, driving along I-17. It sounds simple, but that’s it. It is extremely hard for people to go out of town, for people at age 80 to go to get a hip replacement or cancer treatment. They have to get accommodation, get a hotel, get a room for their spouses. It is not easy for people. And this is a retirement community. Not everybody is young. 

Q: You have said it is your goal that patients in Prescott will not need to go to Phoenix to obtain their medical treatment. Why is this important? 

A: Why not here? We are a beautiful community. We have beautiful physicians. We have excellent nurses who travel to Phoenix to work. We have doctors who drive to Phoenix to get a job. Why don’t we build a beautiful hospital here and create the jobs here for physicians, nurses, paramedics, firefighters? 

It will bring economic development and beauty and prosperity to the communities of Prescott and Chino Valley, Williamson Valley, Prescott Valley and Dewey-Humboldt. We can do that, as simple as it is. 

Q: Why did you believe the Prescott area needed another hospital? 

A: Thousands of people in town felt like Prescott needed another hospital. Not only here, but people from Verde Valley used to come see us, and they’re still coming from Sedona, Wickenburg, Yarnell, from many areas around here. And they felt like we needed another hospital. We talked to so many of our patients, and they told us it has been their dream for decades, that they have been waiting for another hospital to come in and bring other specialties in so they don’t have to drive anywhere else. And several doctors felt there is a need for another hospital so they don’t have to take their patients to Phoenix for medical procedures.

A new hospital in town will encourage excellence and performance throughout the entire community, and it will benefit all of us as Prescottonians. 

Q: How will additional medical services help the economy in Prescott? 

A: Tremendously! It will create thousands of jobs. The students at Embry-Riddle could get a part time job at food court services, assisted living, the hotel. We’re not just doing a hospital, we’re doing a wellness center complex. Along with the hospital will be assisted living, independent living, Alzheimer’s memory care, a hotel, food court center, wellness center; all of those creating jobs. So, it will be great for all of the people in town. 

Q: In the past, you have said there is a relationship between the airport and the medical services in the community. Can you explain that? 

A: Absolutely! This is called destination medicine. It can be a destination medicine facility for high-tech CEOs who need a head-to-toe checkup in 48 hours. With the beautiful Prescott airport, we have a connection to all over America. We could be the next destination of medical tourism. 

We have a great team of physicians in town, but there is always room for a larger variety of doctors to serve the community and medical tourists. For people who have no time, we will have a resort, we can take care of people who don’t want to go from this office to that office to get medical services. They don’t want to use their insurance, they will pay cash. It can bring a huge economic impact to the community. 

Q: Although Prescott is not considered a medically underserved area, this community is surrounded by other areas that are. Will the new services help people in those areas? 

A: Most definitely! I was at the Capitol with Gov. Doug Ducey at the State of the State address – his speech was amazing. Governor Ducey’s main focus was, “We need to help the rural areas,” and he mentioned a vast variety of ways, not just medical. So, what we are doing here can help those nearby who are in underserved areas. 

Q: You moved here from another country and made Prescott your home. What do you want to say to those that live in your adopted community? 

A: Twenty years ago, when I came to America, I felt blessed. Since coming to Prescott, I am a Prescottonian and I am super blessed! We are here to serve the community like our own family. 

Our parents sent three of us to medical school. When my parents needed help, we were not able to go back to help them. We are returning our help to our parents when they needed us to the communities in Arizona. My brother Ali has been going for 33 years to Payson, Ajo, Quartzite and now Prescott. My other brother is in Yuma, with their wives, they’re all physicians. We’re all about taking care of people. We take care of our communities the way we take care of our own parents and family.

For more information, visit www.thumbbuttemedicalcenter