OakWell Launches to Provide High-Quality Primary Care Directly to Kidney Patients in Dialysis Centers
Value-Based Care Leaders Oak Street Health and Interwell Health Partner on Joint Venture
CHICAGO — March 22, 2023 — Oak Street Health (NYSE: OSH), a network of value-based primary care centers for adults on Medicare and the only primary care provider to carry the AARP name, and Interwell Health, a kidney care management company that partners with physicians on its mission to reimagine healthcare, today announced the launch of OakWell, a joint venture that will offer the highest-quality primary care to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) patients directly in the dialysis center. This unique approach to primary care for ESKD patients aims to reduce hospitalizations, increase kidney transplantations, and improve outcomes to lower the total cost of care.
When a patient receives in-center dialysis treatment, they spend around 12 hours each week in a dialysis center, often making it difficult to attend primary care and other healthcare appointments. This is a significant challenge, as dialysis patients often have other complex chronic conditions and would benefit from high-quality, preventive primary care. OakWell enables patients to receive coordinated care from a primary care team and nephrologist.
“There is a significant opportunity to leverage the time spent by dialysis patients in-center to improve their overall quality of life,” said Dr. David Buchanan, Chief Clinical Officer at Oak Street Health. “Receiving personalized, preventive primary care from expert care teams can positively impact patient health. We are thrilled to launch this innovative joint venture to remove barriers to comprehensive care for people living with kidney failure.”
OakWell will bring the type of coordinated primary care that dialysis patients need directly to them, offering appropriate interventions in the center while still working in close partnership with nephrologists. This will remove the significant barrier of attending additional, separate medical appointments and helping address important issues of health equity. These provider-led teams will coordinate with the dialysis care teams, and other specialists, ensuring the most comprehensive and coordinated concierge-level care.
“People living with kidney disease have incredibly complex needs,” said Robert Sepucha, CEO of Interwell Health. “We are uniquely positioned to support these patients and are making great strides through our physician partnerships and connectivity to dialysis centers. We know that value-based care only really works when we transform the whole system, which is why we’re so excited to partner with Oak Street Health. Through this collaboration with a leader in primary care, we can truly help dialysis patients live their best lives.”
The OakWell care teams will closely manage patients’ chronic conditions, help them avoid missed dialysis treatments, quickly reschedule any missed dialysis treatments, and coordinate care outside of the center. When patients have urgent needs and aren’t currently in a dialysis center, providers will conduct video visits and provide other support to make sure patients stay healthy and out of the hospital. Additional services such as behavioral health and renal pharmacy support will provide complete, wraparound care. OakWell care teams will also support coordination of kidney transplants when possible.
OakWell will initially begin offering care services in Chicago, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth dialysis centers in Q3 of 2023.
OakWell is hiring qualified primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, medical assistants and community health workers. To apply, visit this link.