This year, Premier Health proudly celebrates its remarkable journey of 25 years as a recognized leader in the urgent care industry. In a dynamic healthcare environment that requires urgent care operators to continually evolve to thrive in a constantly changing marketplace, Premier Health stands tall with a legacy of innovation and excellence.  

Premier Healths story begins in 1999 when two visionary emergency room physicians, Drs. Kevin DiBenedetto and Graham Tujague saw the need for quality, on-demand care for patients arriving at the ER without a true medical emergency. That observation would lead Drs. DiBenedetto and Tujague to form Convenient Care, LLC, now Premier Health. A groundbreaking new partnership between the two physicians and the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System based in Baton Rouge, LA, would follow spawning an entirely new approach to the existing urgent care model. The first JV clinic was called Lake After Hours because of the partnership with FMOLHS and Premier Healths affiliation with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. At the time, urgent care was an outlier for most health systems. Dr. DiBenedetto says, They just werent sure how it fit into the traditional hospital care service line model. 

However, Premier Health and FMOLHS knew healthcare consumers wanted an on-demand alternative to waiting hours in the ER for non-emergency medical conditions. They believed the fast, convenient and quality care offered by Lake After Hours, later renamed Lake Urgent Care, would fill that niche in the market. The partners had no idea it would evolve into the front door of the health system. Instead of patient leakage resulting from long waits to get into the ER, non-emergency patients would have a path to no-appointment, walk-in care 7 days a week, after hours and on holidays. Anyone needing a higher level of services could still access it through the health systems family of healthcare services, creating a seamlessly integrated network of care.  

With a commitment to keeping patients within the partners trusted circle of care, Premier Health revolutionized the urgent care landscape. It also blazed new trails that would transform the entire on-demand care industry landscape. Premier played an instrumental role in changing urgent cares image from what some healthcare professionals condescendingly called Doc-in-a-Box clinics to a respected medical discipline. Drs. DiBenedetto and Tujague were actively involved with the national Urgent Care Association as it worked to elevate the profession with best practices and policies that would differentiate between a full-service urgent care operation or something different. Operators that met the standards could apply for UCA certification and accreditation which required rigorous on-site inspections with UCA teams to ensure clinics followed staffing, scope of services, quality, and other measures. Premier was one of the nation’s first urgent care operators to receive certification and accreditation 

Today, UCA accreditation is the standard by which all urgent care networks are judged. That forward-thinking “rising tide lifts all boats” approach earned urgent care a new level of respect within established medical circles. It also demonstrated Premier Health’s “outside the box” thinking, prompting other leading health systems in the U.S. to enter into equity partnerships with Premier Health. Others wanted to take advantage of Premier’s expertise by seeking consulting relationships. 

Premier Health has come a long way since opening the doors of its first Lake After Hours Urgent Care clinic. Premier’s affiliated clinics have led the way with innovations that enhance patient experience and convenience while increasing operational efficiencies. It has also experienced significant expansion. Today, Premier Health has 16 urgent care joint ventures with hospitals and health systems in nine states. Through those partnerships, Premier Health is responsible for the day-to-day operations of over eighty-five urgent care clinics.  

At its core, Premier Health remains steadfast in its mission to deliver exceptional, consumer-friendly care in an urgent care setting. As they commemorate 25 years of innovation and service, Premier Health reaffirms its commitment to pioneering new frontiers in healthcare and ensuring every patient receives the care they deserve. Thanks to its unparalleled experience and expertise, Premier Health continues to grow its nationwide footprint of partnerships and clinics. Premier’s consulting and management services division has also taken on heightened importance amidst the increasingly complex business challenges facing urgent care operators today.  

While the healthcare climate has changed, the insightful, innovative leadership exhibited by Drs. DiBenedetto and Graham, when they opened their first joint-venture urgent care clinic in 1999, remains embedded in Premier Health’s culture. So is the company’s drive to help the urgent care industry as a whole adapt and thrive in a new era of healthcare.  

Youre invited to join Premier Healths 25th anniversary celebration by taking the time to learn more about us. Explore our joint venture model or how Premier can put its quarter century of expertise to work for you through a comprehensive suite of management and consulting services. Get started by visiting the Premier Health website, clicking on services, and telling us what we can do for you!