Health Care as a Human Right? Why Not?

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Let’s get this right out on the table: At Avita, we believe health care is a human right.

Polarizing politics aside, as an advanced, civilized society, we have an ethical obligation to care for the medical needs of every U.S. citizen compassionately and equitably, regardless of their race, gender, sexual identity, or ability to pay. It’s a principle our covered entity partners fight for daily, not to mention a pivotal reason behind the creation of the 340B program: Together, we must use every resource at our disposal to serve the underserved—forming a “safety-net” that catches patients who might otherwise fall through the cracks—and empower them to unlock the full potential of health.

But the truth is that alleviating the nation’s massive health equity crisis will take both introspection and innovative thinking from every single player in the industry, including 340B service providers, covered entities, drug manufacturers…the list goes on and on. Earlier this month, we announced that Avita is reinforcing its commitment to reducing health inequities by broadening its impact beyond pharmacy services. Our acquisition of AbsoluteCare Atlanta’s medical center and pharmacy was a crucial first step toward Avita becoming a national health services organization that offers best-in-class HIV, LGBTQ+, gender-affirming, and sexual wellness care, in addition to our legacy pharmacy and 340B management solutions.

Why? Because while our covered entity partners are and always will be their communities’ source of trusted health care, we’ve learned that many struggle to maintain consistent access to experienced providers. So, we’re gearing up to help them source a network of compassionate and culturally competent care teams. Teams like the one headed up by Avita’s new Executive Medical Director, Dr. Joel Rosenstock, whom I’d like you to meet.

Dr. Joel Rosenstock, executive medical director of Avita’s Atlanta medical center and pharmacy

Bending Over Backward to Achieve the Best Clinical Results

Dr. Rosenstock is undoubtedly no stranger to the health equity crisis in the United States or across the world. After completing his fellowship in infectious diseases at the National Naval Medical Center, he taught tropical medicine to physicians at the world-renowned Gorgas Memorial Institute in Panama City, Panama. He then opened his own private infectious disease practice at Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital. In 2000, to offer “health care choice to Atlanta’s inner-city patients who had no choice,” Dr. Rosenstock founded a medical center and pharmacy for people living with HIV. Over the years, the facility (known as AbsoluteCare Atlanta before being welcomed into the Avita family this month) has grown dramatically. What was originally a group of 12 care providers focusing on HIV-related wraparound services is now a staff of nearly 80 individuals across 14 care teams providing the latest HIV prevention and treatment, sexual wellness initiatives, gender-affirming care, and primary care services to patients from all walks of life. The clinic has been designated as an HIV Center of Excellence by Georgia Medicaid and recognized as a Top Performer in the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index.

But while Dr. Rosenstock jokes that his lengthy experience in infectious disease means he’s “lived a couple of professional lives,” he’s serious about the Atlanta clinic staying true to its original roots. “We now offer care to a wider demographic, but we’ve maintained our position to always offer care to anyone who needs it,” he says. “We bend over backward for our patients; there is never a limit to what we will do for them to achieve the best clinical results.”

Earning Trust, Building Health Equity

Dr. Rosenstock and his care team at our new Atlanta medical center and pharmacy are a potent example of how Avita is enhancing its existing service model to offer our covered entity partners more robust and reliable access to the providers they need to bring health equity to life.

Consider, for example, the facility’s longstanding partnership with MedCura Health, a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in the Atlanta community. “Over the years, we’ve acted as providers and prescribers for MedCura and are dedicated to helping them fulfill their mission of caring for vastly underserved populations,” Dr. Rosenstock says. “And because of our mutual commitment to the 340B program, MedCura has been able to expand its reach even further. Who benefits in the end? MedCura’s patients.”

What’s more, as Dr. Rosenstock’s team has proven repeatedly, it’s not just about helping covered entities gain access to reliable providers. It’s about ensuring those providers are united in their allegiance to a patient-first mentality. At Avita, we’re not only devoted to offering individualized, compassionate care but also to doing so in a safe space where patients feel welcomed, understood, and appreciated. In exchange, patients give us their trust, one of the most critical determinants of health care success.

“My team is continually working to knock it out of the park when it comes to serving patients who have historically received terrible care,” Dr. Rosenstock says. “It’s not just that we care a lot and are compassionate. When I opened the clinic, I was determined to do things no one else was doing and offer a unique model of wraparound health care services. And in the process, we’ve changed innumerable lives.

“Because it’s not just the homeless patient struggling with health equity,” he adds. “It’s the person taking care of four generations in their household and making $25,000 while working two jobs. It’s the guy driving a BMW who is struggling with substance use. You never know who is going to walk in the door to the clinic. But they all have a right to our non-judgmental care.”

Thoughtfully Asking, “Why not?”

In getting to know Dr. Rosenstock better, I discovered that he often circles back to one of Robert F. Kennedy’s favorite quotes as a guideline for his care philosophy: “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask, why not?”

It’s also a very fitting mantra for Avita as we grow into a health care services organization. We’ll continue to ask ourselves, “Why not?” as we innovate our integrated suite of value-added solutions—including pharmacy services, 340B administration, and award-winning HIV, LGBTQ+, and sexual wellness care. In lockstep with our covered entity partners, we’ll thoughtfully assess new ways to bridge the nation’s health equity gap collaboratively.

Likewise, we encourage covered entities to ask for more from their strategic partners. Find out:

  • Is your pharmacy or health care services provider committed to a compassionate care model that keeps patients coming back?
  • Does your 340B administration expert place a laser-like focus on efficiency so you can concentrate on helping patients?
  • When times get tough, will you find your business partner next to you on the front lines advocating for the future of the 340B program, the right to stigma-free care for all, and the irreplaceable role community health centers play in securing public health?
  • Have you joined forces with a true collaborator you can trust to future-proof your mission and the well-being of your patients?

I invite you to reach out to us with questions about who Avita is, what we stand for, and how we can be of service. Until then, here’s to leaning in together as champions for the comprehensive health care everyone deserves.

Michael Yount is Avita’s chief executive officer.

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