How Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga expands Apex Dermatology with a focus on efficient care

When Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga, MD, MBA, FAAD, FACMS, founded Apex Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center in 2011, he never imagined opening more than a dozen locations within the next dozen years, or cutting the ribbon in front of his brand-new headquarters. He didn’t set out with grand visions of growth, but rather, a goal to improve patient care.

“I started Apex to tackle the dermatology access problem in Northeast Ohio,” says Garcia, who previously served as a military flight surgeon before becoming a dermatologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. “I became frustrated by patients telling me how hard it is to get an appointment, or having to wait two hours to see me because of inefficiencies in the system. So, I started my own practice with a vision to provide a high-touch, fast access, rockstar experience for patients.”

Garcia knew, from his military experience, that it would take a team to achieve that vision. Over time, he brought together nearly 250 employees who are equally committed to providing rapid access with a purpose to “empower patients through healthy skin.” This cohesive focus has been the key to Apex’s steady growth, he says.

“The secret sauce is having everybody rowing in the same direction,” Garcia says, “from the back office to the front desk to the providers delivering outstanding care. Having a solid culture and defined core values are very important, and that’s part of our DNA. We’ve been able to create a special company because all of our team members understand our mission.”

Streamlined growth

The dermatology services that Apex provides are “transforming lives” for patients, Garcia says. These services include medical dermatology to treat conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis; and surgical dermatology, specifically Mohs micrographic surgery, used to treat skin cancer. Apex also offers aesthetic services such as Botox fillers, body sculpting, lasers and other noninvasive treatments.

From its original location in Concord, Apex began to grow organically, “fueled by the need of the community” as it spread across Northeast Ohio to give more patients access to dermatology services. As Apex expanded its footprint, Garcia wanted each location to offer as many services as possible, providing one-stop convenience. That required bringing in experienced providers as well as dedicated support staff and corporate executives.

“We developed a robust management team and corporate structure within Apex that allows us to be very efficient, so the physicians can focus on practicing medicine,” Garcia says.

Over time, other dermatology practices began to notice Apex’s streamlined growth, realizing the benefits of its centralized corporate structure. Dermatologists who were preparing for retirement or simply seeking the support.

of an established management team started to approach Apex, leading to several recent acquisitions, including one in Canton earlier this year.

“We’ve aligned with practices that wanted a little help with things like accounting and finance,” Garcia says. “We handle the business so they can focus on patient care, and then it’s a win-win.”

Putting down roots

As Apex steadily opened new locations, the company quickly outgrew its office building in Mayfield Heights. “It was obvious that we needed more space as we added more people,” says Garcia, who purchased a property across the street on Cedar Road and began planning for expansion.

Originally, he envisioned a large multispecialty medical office building that would house other medical tenants like dentists, in addition to dermatology. But then COVID hit. Supply shortages, zoning delays and shifting market dynamics forced Garcia to pivot, reimagining the space as a smaller building dedicated exclusively to Apex’s new corporate headquarters.

The 18,0000-square-foot project broke ground in April 2022 and opened to patients in July 2023. The building spans a medical dermatology clinic, six surgical suites, a separate state-of-the-art aesthetic center, a dermatopathology lab that processes tissue samples from all 14 Apex locations, a clinical trials research lab and corporate and administrative offices.

“Having our headquarters built from the ground up was a huge thing for us, because it sets our practice at a different level and cements our investment in the city,” Garcia says. “Having this new building really allows for more growth, giving us capabilities to add more jobs and providers.”

Currently, the headquarters houses about 50 of Apex’s 250 employees, but Garcia says the size of the staff at the main office could double within the next few years as they continue to grow. Although the new headquarters doesn’t look like the initial plans, Garcia is proud of the growth and opportunity the new facility represents.

“That’s a perfect example of having a vision and understanding that your plan is not going to go as planned. You’re going to have to have some detours, and you have to be resilient,” Garcia says. “I remember showing our staff an architect’s rendition of our headquarters in 2018, and then I showed them a real picture in 2023, saying, ‘Hey, it took five years to get there, but we did this.’ It’s a long-term approach, and you have to be patient with the process.” 

Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga

Founder and President
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