'Turnkey' health clinics cut down on costs, increase integration

In looking to capitalize on the retail clinic boom, Wisconsin-based Bellin Healthcare stumbled on an even more lucrative formula for dispersing quick and efficient care: turnkey packages. Rather than simply running its own string of clinics, Bellin builds and designs clinics for outside healthcare systems, providing everything from furniture and signs to the marketing campaign and coverage of build-out costs, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The participating healthcare systems, in return, actually run the day-to-day operations of the clinics, and pay a monthly fee to Bellin for its services. For patients, an average visit costs roughly $54.

So far, Bellin has opened, or is in the process of building, 30 clinics for other health systems throughout Wisconsin and in six other states, including Ohio, California, Montana and Minnesota. The company expects it will have opened at least 50 clinics by year's end. 

According to the newspaper, one of the bigger keys to success has been the working relationship between Bellin and the other healthcare systems. Referrals are generated for patients in need of care that goes beyond the limits of the clinics, which help to offset some of the losses when a clinic is forced to close. The clinics also are able to coordinate care with patients' primary-care doctors. 

"If you do this right, it really does work," Ken Berndt, Bellin's director of business development, told the Journal Sentinel. "It really does have to be integrated into the healthcare system." 

To learn more:
- read this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel piece