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Walk-up medical clinic looks for growth in retail locations

Pat Patera

MedAisle Express Care, which opened a walk-up medical clinic inside the Sak ‘n Save grocery store at Oddie and Silverada in Reno, expects the clinic will be the first of dozens.

Its niche: Affordable medical services for common ailments and minor injuries in addition to physical examinations and vaccinations at an average price of about $60.

“We in no way want to replace doctor’s offices or urgent care,” says Wes Granstrom, chief executive officer of Reno-based MedAisle Express Care. “So many are uninsured now; this is a perfect solution for them.”

Patients with more serious ailments are usually referred to their primary care physician, one of five affiliated Arc Medical Centers or the emergency room at St. Mary’s Hospital.

“Affiliation with a health care system is crucial,” says Granstrom. MedAisle Express Care signed a development agreement with St. Mary’s Catholic Health Care West, the parent of Saint Mary’s.

Open seven days a week, the clinic employs a receptionist and a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. Pagers are provided

to patients who want to shop while waiting to be seen.

The Silverada clinic is getting 12 to 15 walk-ins a day, a bit shy of the goal of 20, says Med- Aisle spokesman Steve Shroeder of Synergy Communications.

Such in-store clinics cost $150,000 to set up once the basic model is up and running, says Granstrom. The company secured its initial round of funding from private investors.

He says that while the northern Nevada market could support seven to 10 clinics, Las Vegas is the next big target market, partly because Catholic Healthcare West has a heavy footprint in the Las Vegas area.

The idea isn’t new, says Granstrom, pointing to 700 such clinics in 40 states.

MedAisle hopes to establish and operate 100 centers in Nevada, the western United States and the Chicago metro area (where Granstrom has roots due to previous work in hospital administration). But that, he adds, requires raising additional funds. And to support that growth, the core management team must expand.

The management team includes Don Farrimond, medical director, co-founder Walter “Del” Marting, chief financial officer, Wes Granstrom and son Paul Granstrom, who brings a business background to the venture.

The top challenge, says Granstrom, is finding highly qualified individuals to staff the centers. And selecting locations has not been boiled to a science. “The demographics are still under study,” he says.

But finding common ground at Sak ‘n Save was easy because the brand is owned by Jerry and Joey Scolari, owners of the Scolari grocery stores. “The Scolari brothers had already been talking with people about the idea,” says Granstrom, and are looking to site further clinics in the area.



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