Oak St. Health, with more than 70 locations around the country, has come to southwest Houston with a location at the former Palais Royal shopping center space at Fondren and West Bellfort in the Brays Oaks Management District.
The Chicago-based clinic chain’s business model is based on the idea that senior citizens relying Medicare for health insurance have often been overlooked in the health care industry.
But practitioners at Oak St. Health say they spend a lot of time with each patient to get the whole picture of their health and needs.
Clinic Practice Manager Cindy Nguyen elaborates.
“Many times, the elderly have no family members living close enough to provide help and transportation, and they have to fend for themselves,” Nguyen said. “We offer transportation, an individual social worker and a patient relations manager before they even see the doctor. That way we can assess their needs beyond the reason for the one visit and offer ongoing care.”
The clinic provides transportation within about a 10-mile radius, and drivers make sure patients have their medication list and insurance ID information with them before leaving home.
The clinic’s approach also includes doing outreach in area supermarkets, stores and at apartment complexes.
No wonder. As more and more physicians across the country opt out of the Medicare program, saying the government insurance program does not pay enough for treatment, other medical practices and clinic chains view Medicare patients as a growing market.
Since opening in Brays Oaks in November 2021, the clinic has cared for 377 patients and is fully booked most days, seeing 20 patients a day.
When they arrive, patients visit with a patient relations manager, where their health history is taken, along with medication information and any other pertinent information. The staff also discusses options for additional insurance coverage, such as supplemental insurance policies, with patients who rely solely on Medicare.
“Because our care is value-based, rather than using a medicare billing code, we can spent as much time with each patient as we need to or want to, and that is something unique about our approach,” Nguyen said.
Said patient Barbara M., “The exam was the most complete I have ever received.”
Once patients are seen by a doctor or a nurse practitioner, a social worker can assist with coordinating any other services needed, such as referrals to specialists or additional medical testing. The care team also counsels patients about immunizations and preventative care.
Oak St. Clinic
11251 Fondren Rd.
Open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
— by Arlene Nisson Lassin