Four months after obtaining pre-seed funding from industry investors, Interstate Health broke ground Friday on its first clinic at the Port Fuel Center in Port Wentworth, Georgia, taking initial steps towards its mission of building a network of care facilities for truck drivers and travelers.
“When healthcare systems are investing in resources, they tend to build a network for the 80%, not the 2% who are on the road all of the time,” Jeff Seraphine, CEO of Brentwood, Tennessee-headquartered Interstate Health, told FreightWaves.
Seraphine explained that current health systems work against drivers today, leaving them with limited options to address emergency health problems and common illnesses that can lead to harmful situations if they remain untreated.
“Truck drivers on the road today only have so many options. They can pull over and get an Uber to a clinic, although you won’t find an Uber in most rural towns. They can go to an expensive emergency room or put it off until the load is complete [but] healthcare delays can lead to worse outcomes,” said Seraphine.
The company also announced Monday it acquired Occupational Health Center (OHC) in Cookeville, Tennessee, expanding its services into the Upper Cumberland region while adding OHC’s founding physician, Dr. Toney Hudson, to Interstate Health’s executive team as a chief medical officer.
“The vision of Interstate Health is the fulfillment of what my team and I have wanted for the drivers we have taken care of for many years. We are excited to help make that vision a reality by bringing our organizations together,” said Hudson in a release.
As the company continues to grow its healthcare network, the objective is to integrate its services into fleet technologies so that drivers can effortlessly see Interstate Health facilities along their routes where there is available parking and open appointments.
Solution for interstate communities
While the initial goal for the Interstate Health founding team and investors is to build a health system catered to commercial truck drivers, Seraphine expounded on an overall vision to build a network of accessible healthcare for rural community members and travelers along interstate highways.
More crucially, broadening Interstate Health’s customer base is necessary for the business model to function.
“The combination of truck driver and traveler patient needs opens up our patient population to make this model work,” said Seraphine. “When we can do that, we can afford to put more clinics where truck drivers need them and build out our vision of accessible healthcare along the interstate.”
That larger patient population will also support future offerings including technology, like virtual visits, and pharmacy services.
For now, Interstate Health’s focus is on building its clinic network, with goals to build or acquire new clinics every four to six weeks. Once 30 to 40 locations are live, the company will be able to provide virtual and pharmaceutical solutions.
“It’s really important to make sure those clinics are working and we are getting positive feedback from patients,” Seraphine explained. “As we see the clinics operating as they were intended to do, we will begin to scale the company even faster.”
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