family doctor

The following article below appeared in The Macalester Weekly on February 18, 2022. The link to the article is here. Repost from The Macalester Weekly.

The Good Clinic opened its doors this December on the cross street of Snelling and St. Clair avenues under the Grove Apartments. This family health clinic claims to “redefine health care” and create a unique boutique environment for its clients.

The clinic has five other locations throughout the greater Minneapolis area, but this is the first branch in St. Paul. In choosing this new location, Good Clinic CEO Michael Howe said that he thought the Macalester-Groveland Neighborhood lacks the amount of primary care that its population needs.

“In this part of St. Paul with young professional families immediately around it there really aren’t many primary care practices that they can access,” Howe said. “We felt that this would be a service to the community”

Howe has a history in the business of health care, most notably as CEO of Minute Clinic, a walk-in health care service that CVS acquired in 2006. To serve Macalester’s student population, Howe said that The Good Clinic offers a range of primary healthcare services such as treatment for the flu, infections, allergies, STIs, and sprains. They also have typical preventative care such as physical exams, and immunizations for flu and COVID-19. However, what they say sets them apart from family practitioners is the way they created their business.

“We built our concepts based on expertise, empathy, and education,” Howe said.

The Good Clinic claims to be a “family practitioner 3.0” in the way they interact with patients and create a welcoming environment. They call their patients “clients.” They also named their waiting room “the welcome area” and filled it with natural light and modern furniture.

The Good Clinic mixes traditional nurse practitioners with alternative medicine such as their use of supplements to aid in healthcare. Howe said that the clinics’ aim is to create a positive environment for the patient that is less transactional and more focused on meaningful connections.

The Good Clinic also claims to promote long-term health, something that Howe believed was not typically on college students’ minds. They are particularly proud of their wellness planning where they emphasize the interconnectedness of all aspects of health and offer counseling visits to curate a plan to improve your health. The services include biometric screening, depression and anxiety management, behavioral health evaluations and exercise and weight management counseling.

The Good Clinic claims to look beyond primary care and into more holistic and modern applications of primary care. Does this level of care come with a higher price tag? Howe says no.

“The investments we’re making to establish the relations with each of our clients is the time and effort to help educate them on how to get the most out of a health care system,” Howe said.

The Good Clinic is in the network for typical insurances such as Medicare, BlueCross BlueShield Minnesota, Humana and Medica. They also accept Macalester health insurance under UnitedHealthcare. Howe says that all their extra features will not cost the patient any more than a typical family practitioner.

The Good Clinic has also partnered with the National Minority Health Association (NMHA) to address and solve health equality problems. NMHA is working on a grant to increase services and outreach to communities in need. According to Howe, the Good Clinic would put this grant into practice and provide this service and outreach. The grant is in the early stages, but its goals are vast in attempts to increase access to health care in Minnesota.

Howe said that The Good Clinic offers a “comfortable,” “welcoming” and “calming” environment and an alternative to typical healthcare. He emphasized their accessibility both online and in-person through same and next-day appointments.

Howe believes college students often don’t prioritize their wellness and said that could be harmful and expressed that The Good Clinic could fill health needs that aren’t met on campus.

“Part of our approach to care is that we value sick care but also wellness care,” Howe said. “As college students, I think back to myself, you think of yourself as invincible and don’t think how to manage your health care.”

Prioritizing health for college students may not be on everyone’s mind, but the Good Clinic attempts to offer convenience and a “unique” experience. Howe expressed confidence in their business model. The clinic plans on having four more clinics in the area by the end of the year and even expanding to Denver.