Tales from the Trenches


Tales from the Trenches: Griffin Myers of Oak Street Health

Posted February 25 by Devon Leichtman

Want to know what value-based care really looks like? Read on.

Dr. Griffin Myers, founder and chief medical officer of Oak Street Health, was a featured guest in MATTER’s Tales from the Trenches series. He and ContextMedia CEO Rishi Shah discussed how and why he created Oak Street, a network of value-based primary care clinics for older adults. Watch the full video of the event or read our recap below.

Griffin has always wanted to take care of people. After earning his BS, MBA, and MD degrees, Griffin was practicing emergency medicine when he had the idea for Oak Street. He saw firsthand that the healthcare system was failing one population in particular: low-income seniors.

Dr. Myers then found himself playing the unfamiliar role of startup founder. He made a deal with his co-founders Mike Pykosz and Geoff Price that if he raised the money to start Oak Street, they would quit their jobs together. He did, and they did.

Since Oak Street’s first clinic opened in September 2013, it has expanded to 15 locations, where 600 employees treat 11,000 patients. Since Oak Street’s revenue comes from the pool that Medicare would normally spend on hospital bills, their care is designed to keep patients out of the hospital. Incentivizing providers to facilitate best patient outcomes has worked: Oak Street patients are admitted to hospitals a staggering 45% less than their cohort.

This value-based care model has created a dynamic where Oak Street’s sickest patients receive the majority of their energy and resources. Myers estimated that the sickest 10% of patients receive 78% of Oak Street’s dollars. Here, Dr. Myers relies heavily on the risk assessment and resource management he learned in emergency medicine. Oak Street can improve lives and decrease cost of care the most in their least healthy patients, so that’s where they spend most of their resources.

Oak Street also practices relationship-based care, so physicians and staff form strong bonds with their patients and see them frequently. This has been so successful – Oak Street’s net promoter score is 91, while the industry average is 3 – that Dr. Myers predicts the healthcare industry will adopt relationship-based care over the next 10 years.

Dr. Myers was torn when asked “what’s next”. He loves providing the best care possible to as many people as possible, and recognizes the sea change in healthcare that Oak Street is ushering in. But he misses practicing medicine. He misses taking care of people directly. Emergency medicine was his first true calling, and Griffin wonders how long he can stay away.

The next event in our Tales from the Trenches series will be on March 16 at MATTER from 6–8pm, featuring Naurex’s President and CEO Norbert Riedel and Chief Scientific Officer and Founder Joseph Moskal.