Steven F. Hotze, M.D., graduated from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston in July of 1976. After completing a general surgery internship program at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, Dr. Hotze spent five years practicing emergency medicine while living in Austin. In 1981, he returned to Houston, and began working with Hugo Gonzales, M.D., for nine months before opening his own Day and Night Clinic in north Houston.
For the next six years, Dr. Hotze ran his Day and Night Clinic, until a pivotal turning point in 1988 altered the course of his medical career. One of Dr. Hotze’s elderly patients sparked a wellness revolution with one candid response; she said, “Ever since I threw away all the medications that you gave me, I feel like a million dollars!” That was a wakeup call for Dr. Hotze.
Then shortly thereafter, his father underwent a failed repair of his coronary artery, which left him with a damaged heart. In order to regain his health after surgery, Dr. Hotze’s father asked him to learn about vitamins. Dr. Hotze gladly agreed to his father’s wishes. In one fell swoop, these encounters set into motion events that would change the rest of Dr. Hotze’s life, as well as the lives of his patients.
At this point, Dr. Hotze shared with his wife, Janie, the dissatisfaction he felt simply giving his patients drugs for their problems without addressing the underlying causes of their poor health. Dr. Hotze also foresaw the rise of the HMOs and realized the need to make a significant change in the way he practiced medicine if he were ever going to be successful. So he and Janie knelt before God and asked Him to give them a way that they could help their patients get well, and at the same time build a practice that could support their eight children. They prayed in the name of Jesus Christ. Their prayers were answered.
In the winter of 1989, Dr. Hotze was recruited by Warren Willke, administrator of the Katy Medical Center Hospital, to open an office in the Katy area. Mr. Willke introduced Dr. Hotze to an allergist, Dr. Ziegler, whose office space would soon become available. Dr. Ziegler shared his own gratifying experience, in treating patients with allergic disorders, with Dr. Hotze, and encouraged Dr. Hotze to attend the upcoming Pan American Allergy Society (PAAS) Conference.
In March of the same year, Dr. Hotze did just that. At the PAAS Conference in San Antonio, he was so impressed with the physicians who gave case presentations on how they enabled their patients to get well. The patients that they described sounded just like the patients that Dr. Hotze regularly saw in his practice. It was during this conference that Dr. Hotze decided to incorporate allergy medicine into his practice.
Then in July of 1989, Dr. Hotze opened his Katy practice. He maintained both offices as he made his transition from the north Houston office to his new Katy office, located in the professional building beside the Katy Medical Center Hospital. It was a 1,200 square-foot office space. The transition to a full-time practice in Katy was completed by June of 1990. Dr. Hotze’s goal was to build a family medicine practice with the treatment of allergy being offered as an added value benefit.
The practice steadily grew, and in the fall of 1991, Dr. Hotze purchased the Nottingham Atrium Building, a 20,000 square foot building , in which his headquarters are currently located. With this move, it was decided that the practice would focus solely on the evaluation and treatment of allergic disorders. The treatment of yeast and vitamin and mineral supplementation were added to the treatment regimen as well. Then in 1991, the treatment of hypothyroidism using Armour Thyroid was added to the treatment regimen. The addition of Armour (desiccated) Thyroid dramatically improved the practice’s ability to help its patients.
Physician’s Preference, Inc., was established in 1993 as a convenience for patients of Hotze Health & Wellness Center (HHWC). After prescribing various vitamins and minerals to patients for four years, Dr. Hotze decided to formulate the best multivitamin on the market and sell it to patients. At the same time, he struck a deal with a supplier to private label Flax Oil. In 1999, Monica Luedecke, who was chief of staff at HHWC at the time, expanded Physician’s Preference and built out a suite on the ground level for its operations. It is now called Hotze Vitamins.
The HMOs began to expand their reach during the early to mid 1990s and HHWC’s active patient base contracted with them. In 1994, Monica warned Dr. Hotze that if he joined the HMOs his practice would fail.
The concept of working for insurance companies, with their numerous guidelines and restrictions, rather than for patients, was in direct opposition to everything that Dr. Hotze believed.
Monica told Dr. Hotze that, if necessary, she would throw herself down in the hallway, kicking and screaming, to prevent him from joining these plans. She also said that she knew him well enough to know that he would never stand for being required to obtain authorization from an insurance clerk to order a test or perform a procedure that both he and the patient had already decided was necessary. Monica told Dr. Hotze that if he were to participate in these plans, then he would have to slash the amount of time he spent with each patient in order to handle the increased patient volume. Finally, she reminded Dr. Hotze that the insurance companies would not allow him to offer safe and natural medical therapies, but instead would force him to return to the use of synthetic drugs as the solution for his patients’ problems.
This reminded Dr. Hotze of his mother’s advice, which he received as a young man, “Never follow the crowd because it is usually going in the wrong direction. Move away from the crowd and lead it in the right direction.”
Dr. Hotze knew in his heart that no matter what it would cost he needed to continue to pursue the path that was leading him away from mainstream medicine, because this was the path that was helping his patients. Instead of masking his patients’ symptoms with drugs, which often had side effects that required more drugs, Dr. Hotze was committed to pursuing the path that enabled him to treat the root causes of his patients’ problems, safely and naturally. Because this path had already benefited so many of his patients, he felt a moral imperative to press ahead. After all, helping people obtain and maintain health and wellness naturally is what being a doctor should be all about.
The year, 1996, was a turning point in the development of the practice. During the spring, the use of bioidentical hormones was incorporated into the practice’s treatment regimen.
Then one year later, the name Hotze Health & Wellness Center (HHWC) was adopted in order to express the comprehensiveness of the practice’s treatment program. HHWC began focusing on providing its patients with better customer service.
The treatment of adrenal fatigue and the use of a high protein, low carbohydrate eating program were added to the treatment regimen in 1998. It was at this time that the current eight point treatment regimen was completed. The regimen consists of the following: 1) treatment of airborne allergies, 2) treatment of food allergies, 3) treatment of yeast, 4) desiccated thyroid hormone supplementation, 5) bioidentical hormone therapy in women and men, 6) treatment of adrenal fatigue, 7) vitamin and mineral supplementation, 8) a nutritionally balanced eating program for obtaining and maintaining optimal health and an ideal body weight.
In March of 2001, Mike Richards, a former Texas State Senator and a part owner of KSEV radio station, contacted Dr. Hotze and invited him to host an hourly radio program on 700 KSEV AM in the afternoons Monday through Thursday. Health & Wellness Solutions was born at that time. Initially, the program was broadcasted from the KSEV studios but within a year there was an in-office radio studio.
In 2001, Monica Luedecke established Premier Pharmacy to provide patients with bioidentical hormones. Premier Pharmacy opened for service on April 26, 2001. Thus, on April 26, 2001, the Remedy Shoppe Compounding Pharmacy was acquired, its name was changed to Premier Pharmacy, and was moved into its new location in the Nottingham Atrium Building. Today, you may know it as Hotze Pharmacy.
During the first few months of operation, though relatively few prescriptions were being compounded, it became apparent Hotze pharmacy was in a location that was too small. Subsequently, construction started to build a newer, state of the art facility on site, which was completed in January 2002.
Dr. Sheridan joined HHWC on March 5, 2002. His dedication to the team and patients exemplifies the values that each member of the organization learns to incorporate into their lives. His contribution to the growth of Hotze Enterprises cannot be overstated.
Another physician joined the Hotze team in 2003. Dr. Don Ellsworth graduated from South Carolina Medical School in 1986 and specialized in Family Practice. He served in the U.S. Air Force and subsequently served as a medical missionary to Uzbekistan. Dr. Ellsworth met Dr. Sheridan at the March, 2003 PAAS Conference and they developed a friendship. Dr. Sheridan encouraged Dr. Hotze to meet with Dr. Ellsworth and consider offering an invitation to serve on the Hotze team. While Dr. Hotze was impressed with Dr. Ellsworth, he was cautious as to bringing on an additional physician at that time. When Dr. Sheridan discovered Dr. Ellsworth had been offered a position with another physician, he brought this to Dr. Hotze’s attention and encouraged him to make Dr. Ellsworth an offer. Fortunately, the offer was made and Dr. Ellsworth accepted. Dr. Ellsworth resolutely stands committed to enabling his patients to obtain and maintain health and wellness naturally. The value added by Dr. Ellsworth to the practice and patients is priceless.
In March of 2005, Dr. Hotze released his first book, Hormones, Health, and Happiness. In June of 2013, Dr. Hotze released his second book, Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness.