Truckstops Becoming a Hub for Healthcare

Truckstop and travel plaza opera­tors have always tried to meet the needs of those on the road, and now they’re taking service to a new level and offering a range of healthcare services for drivers as well as their local communities.

Pharmacy And Medical Clinic At White’s Travel Center
White’s Travel Center in Raphine, Virginia, offers drivers a medical clinic as well as a pharmacy on site, and both businesses are doing ex­tremely well, said Bobby Berkstress­er, owner of the location.

“For so many of the drivers, this is their designated route and they may spend more time here than at home,” Berkstresser said. “Walk-in traffic from the interstate is increas­ing every month, but the local traf­fic is increasing as well.”

“The medical clinic is in a 5,200-square-foot building and we’re getting ready to expand it,” Berkstresser said, adding that he originally bought the property the clinic sits on for the parking area. “There was a Yellow Freight relay station here when I bought the trav­el center. It had parking for about 100 trucks and I bought it to ex­pand my parking,” he said.

Berkstresser reached out to a doc­tor, who thought he’d rent half of it for a small office. “The business has just grown and grown and grown. The doctor has had to keep hiring staff. He has about 20 employees now,” Berkstresser said.

Even better, the local hospital, which is 20 miles away, wants to expand the location. “It will have x-ray machines and they are talking about putting in a sleep apnea clin­ic. For a medical complex, it would be the biggest in any travel center in America,” Berkstresser said.

White’s opened a pharmacy in 2015, and Berkstresser said it com­plements the doctor’s office and of­fers a resource for locals as well as drivers. “It will take about a year to build the clientele to where it is profitable, but it is growing. Sales this month were almost $15,000 more than last month,” he said.

The front of the store on the phar­macy is almost 5,000 square feet, and customers can get everything from distilled water for breathing machines and toothpaste to blood pressure monitors and diabetes supplies.

“These are things you never thought about selling in a travel center. The driver is coming in and getting his toothpaste and de­odorant and razor blades. Instead of buying what he needed for an emergency, now he is shopping here,” Berkstresser said. “The other Sunday a driver came and had his blood pressure machine that had quit working and we had one on the shelf. How many truckstops in America can he go to and get a blood pressure machine? We want to be the complete stop.”

Chiropractor And More At Racine Petro Clinic
The Racine Petro Clinic, located in­side the Highlands Petro Truckstop in Racine, Wisconsin, has seen de­mand increase as well. “The key to giving drivers healthcare is for them to get the healthcare, counseling and blood tests right there where they are,” said Dr. Lynn Biese-Carroll, a chiropractor who leases about 200 feet of space from the truckstop and runs the practice. “We’ll see 10 to 20 guys in a day. They come in and have their lunch, waiting to take a shower. We can accommodate 175 trucks. There is always a parking place and something else they have to do there.”

The Racine Petro Clinic provides DOT physicals as well as chiro­practic care and diabetes testing. “We are chiropractors that are cer­tified medical examiners. We try to do nutritional counseling and diet programs to help drivers manage weight, which will help them man­age their blood pressure. We deal with the stresses, the back issues and the other issues drivers face,” Biese- Carroll said.

The Racine Petro Clinic used to provide mobile sleep studies, which allowed drivers to check out test­ing units they could use in their trucks, but the location suspended the studies until the Department of Transportation makes a defini­tive decision on sleep apnea test­ing. “The water got really muddied, but we’ll make the service available again when the DOT issues a final decision,” Biese-Carroll said.

The location also sells comfort­able sleep equipment, sitting and sleeping pillows and small exercise equipment that drivers can use in the passenger seat or the sleeper cab. “These are little pedal bikes, arm peddlers or rowers—things that will facilitate cardiovascular equip­ment in the confines of their truck,” Biese-Carroll said. “Your body doesn’t care what is moving—if it is your feet or your arms—if you have a small pedaler, you have a good piece of cardiovascular equipment.”

Biese-Carroll said more and more drivers are genuinely interested in getting healthy.

Sapp Bros. Offers Employees Program To Talk To A Doctor Anytime
Truckstop and travel plaza opera­tors are also finding that their em­ployees value staying healthy. Sapp Bros. has invested in a new health service for its staff called TeleDoc, which allows staff to talk to a doc­tor anytime from anywhere.

Don Quinn, president of Sapp Bros., said the service improves costs and access to health care for employ­ees. “I used it once when I was travel­ing back from Idaho and came down with strep throat. I got home at 10 o’clock at night and at 4 a.m. I called and I described my symptoms from my couch,” Quinn said, adding that it only ended up costing him $18, which covered his prescription.

The service requires a monthly fee per employee, which Sapp Bros. cov­ers, and employees like the service. “We have had some terrific growth with it. We’re on our third year now,” Quinn said.

via Business Feeds

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