Rising in Phoenix: Entrepreneurial responses to housing and health-care problems

May 24, 2009

by Sandy Ikeda

The New York Times, in “Amid Housing Bust, Phoenix Begins a New Frenzy”, reports that “Real estate got just about everyone into trouble in Phoenix, and the thinking seems to be that real estate is going to get everyone out.”

If the property looks promising, Mr. Jarvis puts in a bid on behalf of any of his dozens of clients eager to become landlords. When he wins, he offers to let the family stay in the house and rent for much less than their mortgage payment.

Phoenix is also where “supermarket health clinics”and urgent-care centers for the uninsured have proliferated.  Some have been able to adjust quickly to a souring economy.

Health clinics located inside grocery stores typically offer less-comprehensive medical service than urgent-care centers such as NextCare and Maricopa Urgent Care…  NextCare, which has 17 clinics in the Phoenix area, has responded to the downturn with a series of moves aimed at reaching more patients.

Read more about it in this story from AZCentral. Here’s more:

The clinic is marketing its ValueCare to patients who must pay cash because they no longer have health insurance. For a one-time fee of $35, patients can access health-care services for a flat fee of $80 for a standard office visit. If a patient needs a procedure such as a blood sample or an X-ray, the visit costs $125.

There’s also innovation happening in the Lower East Side of New York, as documented in “The Doctor in the Kitchen”:

“It’s like a food co-op,” Dr. Ores, 51, said of the project. “Except it’s health care.” Under the plan, he charges each restaurant a dollar each month for every seat in the establishment and pools the money. In return, any employee from those restaurants can visit him free of charge, whether for a cut finger or the flu.

Curiously, Dr. Ores sees this as “a model for how national health care could work.”  But, as social and economic circumstances inevitably change, would a national-health-care system permit, let alone encourage, this kind of creativity?

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