This story starts with a row of empty chairs as well as — it’s probably more than safe to say — some personal beliefs.
In what he says was about 1995, Jeff Brown started what has become Proactive Occupational Medicine, Inc., in Wheelersburg. Although he volunteers that he has no medical background, Brown does have experience with occupational safety. His company then began offering medical testing, such as drug screenings, fit-for-duty physicals, health and wellness screenings, and similar services to businesses around the area. When needed, the company can and does visit client companies and worksites, providing treatment or testing in the field when necessary or practical.
The company seems to have been successful from the start and has now worked with firms from New York to Texas. Perhaps because it can take its show on the road courtesy of a presumably specially equipped bus, Brown walked into his clinic on State Route 522 one day and noticed his waiting room was empty. His thought was those vacant chairs and the adjacent clinic space could be put to some helpful, constructive use.
“We wanted to give something back to the community,” Brown says, so he began looking into ways to make his clinic available to the public. In May 2017, Brown added a logo with the words “Proactive Immediate Care” to the front door of his clinic and threw that door open to anyone needing help, insurance or no.
“People don’t really understand what we do,” Brown says.
He says he offers reduced price healthcare to the public, but not reduced quality healthcare. Brown offers that his clinic provides all the services of an urgent care facility, but often at about one-fifth of the cost.
For example, hepatitis A is very much in the news right now, with three cases confirmed in Scioto County. Brown says the average cost of a hep A vaccine is well over $100. Keep in mind, the vaccine requires two shots. Brown’s clinic charges $85 for the vaccine. A complete blood work-up at an urgent care likely would cost hundreds. At Brown’s clinic, a basic metabolic panel is $40.
Some other routine services offered include tests and treatment for sore and strep throat, aid for pink eye and sties, repair of superficial wounds and so on. EKGs and x-rays also are available. What’s also available, according to Brown, is friendly, attentive service.
“We’re very personal here,” Brown adds. “We’re a Christian organization. Our faith tells us we need to strive to treat people how we would like to be treated.” Brown quickly admits sometimes his firm falls short of that goal. “But we try to do our best.”
Brown does not sound as if he is bragging when he makes comments such as this. He is just stating what he trusts is the truth.
When dealing with the public, the clinic does not accept insurance, but only cash or credit cards. However, the clinic provides a detailed receipt which includes medical coding numbers that can be turned into insurance so that any payments made can count toward a patient’s deductible.
Some of those chairs in front of Brown’s clinic still often sit empty at times. Brown says they only see about 10 patients a week.
“People are leery of us because we say we offer discount healthcare,” Brown says. But he claims patients almost always change their tune after experiencing the professionalism of the clinic. Many services are provided by a nurse practitioner under the direction of a physician, who serves as Brown’s medical director.
Its owner said the clinic is definitely not a moneymaker for him. For that he relies on his business clients, such as Scioto County. Brown also likes to talk about and show off a new mobile hearing test unit his firm rigged up inside a trailer towed by a pickup. The unique trailer can conduct hearing tests for up to eight patients at a time. Brown is in the process of negotiating a potential contract with Amtrak that would have the trailer loaded on a train car and taken around the country.
“We make enough to pay for the overhead,” Brown says, returning to the subject of his immediate care clinic, which he says would need to see about 30 persons per day to make any kind of profit. But Brown quickly once again adds that he just wants to give something back to the community.
Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931
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