According to a recent report by the Urgent Care Association of America, the Urgent Care industry is valued at $18 billion and is growing.
Black Owned Urgent Care in Brooklyn
This is a great opportunity for medical professionals/ entrepreneurs to provide much needed healthcare alternatives to the community while building a healthcare business.
Two medical professional who plan to do so are Dr. Tamara Moise and certified Physician Assistant, Wadson Fils, co founders of Big Apple Urgent Care, one of the few Black owned urgent care centers in the country and the first in Brooklyn.
The fully renovated medical center features six exam rooms, state-of-the-art equipment including an on-site x-ray, and a team of multilingual healthcare professionals fluent in Creole and Medical Spanish. Facilities such as this have the ability to appear all over the world and medical equipment is needed to help patients when they come in, somewhere like Bosshard Medical in Sydney, Australia does their best to help patients who are in need of medical equipment to use within home care.
What inspired you to start Big Apple Urgent Care?
I am an emergency room doctor who has worked in multiple ERs in underserved communities in New Jersey and Brooklyn, and my co-founder, Wadson Fils, is a physician assistant who has worked in some of the busiest emergency rooms in New York City.
While the work was rewarding, we found that many of the ER patients were there for non-emergency issues. When you’re in a community with limited availability to healthcare providers, you often have no choice but to go to the ER.
I realized that providing community-focused, personalized care to areas as diverse as East Flatbush is sorely needed. I am the daughter of Haitian immigrants, and I understand that having a doctor who looks like you and understands your culture makes the experience more comfortable.
We’re also seeing more and more research that shows that having greater diversity in healthcare leads to better health outcomes in communities of color.
How do you ensure your organization is keeping up with the continual advances in medical technology?
We are committed to innovation because it improves health outcomes. We are active members of the Urgent Care Association (UCA), and we attend UCA workshops, which covers current trends in medicine and details how to maintain a modern facility. Additionally, Wadson is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and regularly attends their workshops, which are also focused on new innovations and the latest medical research.
What do you attribute the rapid growth of the Urgent care industry to?
Around the country, there have been a number of recent hospital closures. In New York City, 16 hospitals have closed since 2003 — 4 in Brooklyn alone. Additionally, in many communities, there is a shortage of primary care providers.
In East Flatbush, where we are located, people who need care have limited options given the ever-decreasing number of emergency rooms and primary care doctors who have to deal with less and less capacity to accommodate patients in a timely manner.
These dynamics are contributing to the growth of the urgent care industry. Moreover, corporate interests are recognizing these trends as business opportunities, which is why an increasing number of these new centers are corporate owned. We pride ourselves on being an independent physician and clinician-owned facility where the interests of the patients and the community come first.
What do you feel will be your keys to success as a business?
Our motto is “Be Heard. Be Helped. Be Healthy.” and we make sure that we adhere to this philosophy at every step of the patient’s experience with us. We know for many patients, visiting the doctor can be a stressful experience, and that many leave feeling their concerns weren’t fully acknowledged.
It is our goal that every patient that comes in is treated with care and respect in the midst of what can be overwhelming circumstances. I’m confident that a commitment to simply listening to people’s needs and making sure they understand that they’ve been heard will prove to be a successful business model.
In East Flatbush, we see ourselves as a neighbor to the community and the greater Brooklyn area with our focus specifically on the needs of residents. Our staff of medical professionals are multilingual—fluent in Creole and Medical Spanish—and, along with our state-of-the-art facility, are equipped to handle all kinds of medical needs such as employment physicals, minor illness and injury, immunizations, x-rays, lab work, and more.
We are a fully accredited urgent care facility and we’re here to meet this community’s needs. We’re open 7 days a week and most holidays for appointments and walk-ins and are here for patients who have an urgent medical need and can’t get an appointment to see their primary care doctor. We also accept multiple insurance plans, and we offer affordable healthcare services for those who are uninsured.
How do you both compliment each other business-wise?
We have a similar mindset and values. We believe that the best way to succeed as an urgent care facility is to connect with the community. If you fail to connect with patients in a meaningful and personalized way you won’t get far.
Wadson and I both understand the cultural nuances and dynamics of the community that we serve, which allows us to establish that connection early on.
We both come from a West Indian background that reflects the residents of East Flatbush and neighboring communities. We also share a commitment to addressing the persistent health disparities that exist in communities of color, not just through treatment but also through education.
When a patient comes in, we remind them that healthcare starts in the home, and we advise them on how they can lead a healthier lifestyle. We also hold a variety of wellness services and health fairs that are open to the community.
Our patients are hardworking. Many of them work 2 and 3 jobs, and they often leave their neighborhood to go to a doctor in Manhattan because of the condition of some of the medical facilities in their own community.
Our center is a brand new, fully renovated facility with state-of-the-art medical equipment because we want our patients to feel like they’re being treated in a medical facility in SoHo. We don’t think that patients should have to leave their neighborhood to receive high-quality care in a clean, thoughtfully maintained center.
Where do you see the business 5 years from now?
In 5 years, we expect that we will still be serving the East Flatbush community as a state-of-the-art health center. We would also like to open 2 to 3 more facilities in underserved areas around New York City.
-Tony O. Lawson
Visit Big Apple Urgent Care at 3805 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203 (between 38th and 39th Streets)