Gwen McKenzie

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — It is making a difference in the lives of those on Medicare. Oak Street Health has been serving the communities across the nation for over a decade. Now the company that works exclusively with Medicare patients has set up to serve in the inner city of Knoxville. Its cutting-edge services are being well received by those who need it most. 

One of the unique services is the ability for those with no transportation to be treated at the center. Oak Street provides transportation within a fifteen-mile radius. To ensure the patient is picked up, the driver will call before pickup and on appointment day, if the patient doesn’t answer the door, a well care call is made to the emergency contact. The goal is to remove every barrier to getting health care to a people who have historically been denied.

Staffed with two doctors and a full medical team, the clinic also has social workers on staff, and provides tele health for both behavioral and medical care. Gwen McKenzie, one of the Outreach Executives who lives in the community, spoke of the high-quality difference in service as those who come in never wait over ten minutes and the in-person time with the doctor is never rushed. The center also offers 24/7 support call lines and coordination of health care needs using a team approach with the creation of a care plan for every patient.

Sensitive to community needs, Oak Street is a welcoming space, offering a community room where there are computers available for use and every day at one in the afternoon, there is a community event held. There are also Farmers Market events held in the parking lot of the center during which farm fresh produce is brought into the community; a very needed service as much of East Knoxville lies in a food desert.

The centers are recognized nationally by AARP for their excellent senior care. A very important designation as the number of seniors over 65 will far outnumber those under eighteen by 2034.

For additional information on Oak Street Health call Gwen McKenzie at 865-963-9565.