BURTON — Oak Street Health, one of the nation’s fastest-growing networks of primary care centers, officially opened the first of two locations in the Flint area on April 15.
The newly opened facility is in Burton, located at 3525 Saginaw Rd., and the second will be located at 102 W. Pierson Rd. in Flint. The Burton location marks the company’s sixth center in Michigan, which also includes facilities in Southgate, Hazel Park, Cherry Hill (Inkster), Jefferson Village (Detroit) and Rosedale Park (Detroit).
“Our expansion into the Burton area is deeply meaningful to us, as it will advance our mission to provide value-based primary care in the communities that need it most,” said Rafe Petty, Division President of Michigan. “The area has dealt with a series of municipal and economic challenges that have affected the local community, and we’re excited to give residents reliable access to primary care and other health care services. In the next year, we will bring close to 50 new jobs to the area, and we look forward to building our network with residents in Burton and surrounding neighborhoods.”
Oak Street Health’s arrival comes as the unemployment rate in Flint reaches record lows – The city is currently 50 percent below the national unemployment average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition to bringing jobs to the area, the center will increase accessibility to care among Flint residents. Genesee County ranks 82nd of 83 Michigan counties for overall health outcomes, 81st in quality of life, and 76th in health behaviors. Genesee has the third highest Medicare costs per enrollee in Michigan and is $1,969 higher than the national average.
“Oak Street Health provides primary care for adults on Medicare,” said Petty. “In addition to routine physicals and appointments, our centers will offer a wide variety of community events focused on health education and community interaction, including dance lessons, fitness classes, movie screenings and language education. We will work to add behavioral health services as well as tele-psychiatry in the first year of our opening… Because of the services (we offer), we’ve reduced hospital admissions for patients by 44% and emergency room visits by 46%. This will provide major cost savings for Genesee County, where emergency room visits are 43% higher than the national average.”
Parts of Flint are designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area for Primary Care (most of which are in the areas Oak Street Health is targeting).
“Since our opening on April 15, we’ve already welcomed over 30 new individuals to our practice,” said Petty. “Many of these patients are utilizing our transportation services to and from the clinic. Our care teams have done a phenomenal job introducing our model of care to patients, and highlighting what makes Oak Street Health different from other primary care providers.”
According to Petty, the grand opening for the Burton location will be held in June, and the Pierson Rd. location will likely be opening to patients in late July. For more information about Oak Street Health, call their Burton office at (844) 871-5650 or visit their website at www.oakstreethealth.com. — Alex Petrie