Bringing healthcare clinic to underserved
A unique and successful medical practice that started in the Las Vegas area has now established a footprint in Northern Nevada.
In 2015, The Well Care Group piloted a program, aimed at reducing the number of readmissions among the underserved population in the Southern Nevada city. The program was so successful it was implemented at 90 percent of hospitals in Las Vegas.
“It has done so well in Las Vegas there was no reason it could not impact the population in Northern Nevada,” said Max Casal, who is CFO as well as managing director of the Northern Nevada division of Well Care.
Max’s brother Michael Casal serves as director of women’s health women health for Well Care Northern Nevada.
The Reno facility called Well Care Medical and Behavioral Clinc, provides preventive integrated psychiatric and primary healthcare services for underserved populations in the region such as the indigent, homeless or other sectors that may not have the means to get medical treatment.
“If you really think about it these are the types of patients who are down and out, nobody wants to take care of them,” Michael Casal said. “These are the people who really need our help. They don’t have the finances to do it, so we try to provide them with the resources to transition to a more independent lifestyle.”
While the clinic’s focuses on a patient’s mental health issues, Michael and Max Casal explained part of that treatment is addressing a patient’s physical well-being simultaneously. They added that patient’s mental illnesses may have a lot to do with physical complications.
The practice is unique in that it incorporates other aspects of healthcare, including a team of medical, case management and pharmaceutical professionals to assist patients during and after treatment — all in one location. That can save time and money.
“When I’m treating a patient, I can just go down the hall if I need to speak to, say, their primary physician or speak with the case manager,” Michael Casal said.
While they have the majority of necessary services onsite, they do work with area medical service providers for needed patient care.
In Las Vegas, Well Care also has added other services such as transportation and temporary housing options for patients in an effort to eliminate obstacles to attending appointments or obtaining medications. The Casals has made efforts to mirror those added amenities to patients in Northern Nevada.
The practice started out as Well Care Pharmacy in 2007 dedicated to Las Vegas’ underserved elderly population, before they were sold to CVS Pharmacies. While they maintained a foothold in the pharmaceutical industry, the practice morphed into The Well Care Group model.
Max and Michael’s brother, Marce Casal, patriarch of Well Care, serves as president and CEO and is based in Las Vegas.
In the short time they’ve been in Reno, the Casals established another practice that they don’t offer in Southern Nevada: women’s health services.
Michael Casal operates an obstetrician and gynecology practice in Tennessee and travels to Northern Nevada at least once a month for several days to monitor the clinical side of the practice and provide women’s health services.
Max Casal, who has a background in advertising and finance, was brought on to bring balance to the clinic’s operations. He admitted while he’s a relative novice in the medical industry, he is excited for the new challenges and eager for Well Care concept to grow in the region.
“Myself and my brothers are very entrepreneurial and have a balance of financial and clinical understanding,” he said.
Michael Casal added, “I think we compliment each other really well both on the clinical and financial side. We are of no use to our clients, no matter how noble it is, unless we make sound business decisions. We build off each other’s strengths to make sure this clinic runs efficiently.”
Well Care’s Northern Nevada office has been situated at 790 Willow Street, in Reno. But the Casals quickly realized the 2,500 square foot space couldn’t adequately support the demand for the services the clinic provides. In response, the clinic is relocating to an 8,000 square foot location on Mill Street.
While the Casals believe they’ve found their niche, they don’t want to lose site of their mission.
“I think you don’t want to go too fast and compromise a lot of the care we provide to our clients,” Max Casal said. “We’re still a very patient-centric clinic.”
Max and Michael Casal contend a good percentage of the underserved population is unaware of the clinic. One of their future goals is to figure out ways to reach that sector and educate them on the benefits of the clinic.
They understand the hardships.
“Growing up in the Philippines, we weren’t exposed to a lot of the finer things in life,” Michael Casal said. “When we immigrated to the United States, we felt like that underserved population was the type of people we wanted to serve. In Nevada we have a subset of people really needing good healthcare.”
The new agency would take over regulatory issues ranging from licensing to operation of dispensaries, growers, production of cannabis products and testing. The actual tax collections from medical and retail cannabis products would remain the responsibility of the Department of Taxation.