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How Oak Street Health Retains 97% of Its Patients

Analysis  |  By Philip Betbeze  
   October 19, 2017

Oak Street's network of primary care centers for Medicare eligibles in medically underserved communities offers a blueprint for success in value-based care—and a warning for acute-care focused organizations.

Rapidly growing Oak Street Health, a healthcare organization that delivers a unique primary healthcare experience, offers both a blueprint and a warning for organizations that depend largely on complex acute care services.

The warning: Innovators are looking to cut expensive hospital care for their patients.

The blueprint: Oak Street's methods could serve as a model for health systems to move into population health and blunt the impact of a reduction in acute care demand.

Oak Street’s network of 24 primary care centers caters exclusively to adults on Medicare, and primarily to those on Medicare Advantage health plans.

After launching in Chicago in 2013, the company has expanded to smaller cities in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana, and recently announced its expansion to Philadelphia.

Each center has between 2,000 and 4,000 patients, and it has reduced hospital inpatient visits by 40% for its more than 30,000 patients.

One of Oak Street's founders, Mike Pykosz, a Boston Consulting Group alumnus, has bet large on the company’s ability to attract physicians and patients while driving better outcomes at lower cost and with better patient experience. Following is a lightly edited transcript of that interview.

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

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