GoHealth Urgent Care
Injuries and ailments wait for nobody, Rudy Yadao Jr. muses from his office in San Bruno, California. More than just time and money could be at stake if his employer’s urgent care centers are not built on time and operationally ready by autumn.
“Got to plan for success and prepare for the worst,” he tells Blueprint in April between trips to the East Coast and Midwest where GoHealth Urgent Care is depending on him to expand its 120-strong chain that could be the first line of defense against, among many other health issues, the next flu season. “Needless to say, it’s a very busy time for my team and I.”
Such has been the case since 2014, when the personable and passionate Yadao became director of development and construction at GoHealth Urgent Care after plying his skills for 30 years in retail development.
But this year may be extra busy, with his to-do list including 14 active construction projects in North Carolina, Connecticut, Missouri and Oklahoma as well as whatever other work might arise at existing facilities in Arkansas, California, New York, Oregon and Washington.
All GoHealth UC facilities are joint ventures with major healthcare providers, which Yadao says gives the company an advantage in what’s become the very competitive industry of tending to health concerns outside the costlier emergency room. Partnering with Novant Health in North Carolina, Mercy in the Midwest, and Hartford HealthCare in Connecticut, the company seems poised to significantly grow in the nine states where it has a presence and maybe into other markets.
Hands-on and detail-oriented
Well-versed in commercial construction from his decades in retail, Yadao is in charge of everything from planning and permitting to mobilizing all external partners—the architects, engineers, painters and general contractors.
“Our entire development team is experienced, knowledgeable, and innovative,” he says. “While the process is streamlined by the facilities being somewhat standardized, averaging 2,200 square feet in size, the design and planning is far from cookie cutter.”
For Yadao is a big believer in soliciting feedback from providers in terms of patient flow and work flow.
“A lot of my job is bouncing ideas off medical professionals,” he goes on to say. “You can’t just look at things from a construction perspective, and you always have to innovate to make these centers more productive.”
The innovations can be as practical as they are comforting. For instance, GoHealth UC opts for bigger exam rooms with sliding doors, as Yadao deems the extra square footage important should a family member accompany a patient. Last year Yadao oversaw the construction of what might represent the next generation of a pediatric urgent care. Complete with ample space and child-friendly aesthetics, it seems to have helped the little ones cope with the stress of a check-up or inoculation.
“Our centers also differ from our competitors with short wait lines, on-line check-in. We are trying to provide an effortless experience of care to our patients,” he says. “We don’t want any mysteries behind the white curtain or door. We have introduced mobile X-ray that gets images right away, and a platform for flu testing. They are among the amenities of partnering with the [healthcare] providers.”
Live plants and soft music add to a healthy environment, he goes onto say. After all, if the urgent care center tends accordingly to its plants, it’ll do the same for its patients.
Never out of place
When it comes to determining the location of a GoHealth Urgent Care facility, convenience is the major concern.
“One of the most important currencies in people’s lives today is their time,” Yadao says. “We try to put our centers where people spend so much of their lives, the retail environments. This way they can get their flu shot or checkup in the same places where they shop for groceries, get their nails done, practice yoga, see a dentist or do their banking.”
An urgent care center not quite as intense as a hospital, the permitting process isn’t usually too cumbersome. Yadao still plans for any scenario, often accompanied by clinicians when meeting with municipal planning boards.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” he says. “Not all cities may have zoning for medical services. We show them layouts and photos, and explain how we’re different from others in this business. Often-times people’s eyes light up and welcome us. They recognize the need.”
It’s a need that may only grow, as managed care organizations encourage or even require customers to use this affordable option to the traditional emergency room. The early urgent care centers often were started by ER doctors well aware of the public need for convenient access to unscheduled medical care.
Yadao is glad to do his part to fill such a need, and he came well prepared for the task, having held development positions with Grocery Outlet from 2010 to 2014 and with Cost Plus World Market for the preceding 24-plus years. On his watch, the physical footprint of these companies grew tenfold and the skills he garnered have been readily leveraged into his GoHealth UC duties.
No time to waste, the man emphasizes as he politely ends the interview to hit the road again. After all, an expedited construction schedule is pending in multiple states, and the flu respects no borders. Neither do the many other reasons that have folks seeking the convenience of GoHealth Urgent Care treatment.
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