BY JAMES COVERT
Oscar Health Insurance just opened its first clinic in Brooklyn — and the place looks just as slick as the startup’s hipster-friendly app.
Patients who enter the new “Oscar Center” won’t find administrators pushing papers behind a desk.
Instead, the administrators are loitering around a minimalist bar tapping on laptops, offering seats on comfy couches in a waiting area that’s stocked with free juices, bottled water and Kind bars.
“We’re paperless, although we can of course print anything out you like,” says Dr. Harry Ritter, Oscar’s VP of Care Delivery, who quietly opened the facility a week ago at 408 Jay St. in downtown Brooklyn.
Farther back, the 6,000-square-foot clinic has five exam rooms and three comfortably furnished “consult rooms” — most of them with big windows that have a distinctly “non-clinical” feel, Ritter notes.
“We wanted not to kill the ‘human experience’ in health care,” Ritter says.
Oscar — whose co-founders include Josh Kushner, the younger brother of Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared — has lately taken heat as its millennial-friendly marketing tactics have failed to stem losses.
In the first three quarters of this year, Oscar lost $128 million, more than the $105 million it lost in all of 2015, according to regulatory filings.
Nevertheless, Chief Executive Mario Schlosser says the Oscar Center — which will be operated in a partnership with Mt. Sinai Health System — is a key strategic move to set the startup apart from the competition.
“It’s totally free for Oscar members,” Schlosser told The Post. “You get easier appointment scheduling because it’s all online. Everybody here will know exactly who you are because they’re gonna have access to all your data from the very beginning.”
In addition to walk-in appointments for run-of-the-mill ailments like sprained ankles or the flu, the facility offers basic mental health services, blood and urine testing and even yoga and nutrition classes.
The Oscar Center will likewise serve as a lab to test new approaches to care — for example, assigning doctors who have been communicating with patients through Oscar’s app to treat those patients face-to-face instead of having random staff doctors assigned the task.
“When you have all the financing and all the operational control and all the innovation in one place, we can change things very quickly,” says Niyum Gandhi, chief population health officer at Mt. Sinai.
In the coming year, the Brooklyn facility might become a primary care center for as many as 3,000 of Oscar’s 60,000 New York City members, officials said.
The bigger idea, of course, is that it could be the start of a nationwide chain of clinics. This February, Oscar will begin offering group insurance to companies as it pivots away from the troubled exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act.
“We could put this into other locations, maybe even with big employers,” Schlosser said, noting that 35 percent of large employers nationwide have worksite clinics.
Read the full article – Josh Kushner’s health startup opens trendy Brooklyn clinic.
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