On December 8, the very first day Oscar’s new health care facility opened in Brooklyn, all the available slots filled up immediately.
Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser points to that as a good sign of what’s to come for the $A2.7 billion health insurance startup’s first foray into physical health care spaces.
Oscar aims to be a more consumer-friendly insurance company that keeps all your health information in one easy to use and easily accessible place. The company opened the Oscar Center two weeks ago as part of a partnership with Mount Sinai that combines Oscar health insurance with Mount Sinai physicians.
“The thesis of the entire partnership is to say, if we work together, we should be able to deliver an experience that is — a low bar would be ‘less frustrating,’ but the bar we’re aiming for is actually a delightful experience, which is probably not the word anyone would use to describe their overall experience with the health care industry today,” Niyum Gandhi, Mount Sinai’s executive vice president and chief population health officer, told Business Insider.
The partnership came about when Schlosser saw Mount Sinai’s ad in The New York Times that read, “If our inpatient beds are full, we failed.” That began a series of conversations with Oscar and the hospital system that spanned over the course of two years — and in the health care industry, two years is fast.
Now, the Oscar Center has opened its doors to Oscar members who are looking for both a simplified and a futuristic doctor visit. Gone are the clipboards asking your medical history and receptionists behind a desk; gone is the dimly lit waiting room. Instead, it’s been replaced with a futuristic health care center that will serve as both a doctor’s office and a community wellness center.
Take a look inside.
The Oscar Center has been open for about three weeks and is located in Brooklyn Heights, right next door to the Jay Street-Metrotech subway stop.
The office is staffed by a physician, a behavioural health specialist, a medical assistant, and a nurse practitioner. Anyone who wants to receive care at the Oscar Center must have Oscar health insurance.
The first thing you'll notice about the Oscar Center is how modern and bright it is. When you step off the elevator, you're can see inside the community space to the left and the lobby area straight ahead.
This room is what Harry Ritter, vice president of care at Oscar, calls the 'insurance room.' He's working on a better name for it, but the intention of the room is pretty cool, and quite different from a standard doctor's office.
This room is located in the lobby of the Oscar Center and contains a phone that connects to Oscar's sales team so you can sign up for Oscar insurance during open enrollment, ask billing questions, or ask questions about your plan.
Here's a look inside the space Oscar reserved for classes. Members can take classes for expectant mothers, yoga classes, or attend meetups about different community-minded topics. Classes are free for Oscar members.
The Oscar Center has five exam rooms, three consultation rooms for 'non-naked' doctor conversations, plus a lab that can do EKGs, vaccines, blood tests, and drug tests.
There's also a mental health specialist on staff who was the center's first hire.
'To do primary care, you have to have great mental health,' Ritter said. 'It's just such a primary component of wellness.'
The Oscar Center also has a one large room that's currently serving as a coworking space for Oscar employees. Ritter said one day it could become a space for physical therapy, but they will wait to see what the members want and need.
'We can imagine that this is a future form of care delivery,' Oscar CEO Schlosser said. 'I think it's been amazing to get this up and running so quickly. If we can have an impact on quality of care and the cost of care as well, this could be a winning model we could take to other places in the city.'
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