The gas station company delving into urgent care

Mackenzie Bean (Twitter)

On the surface, gas stations and urgent care centers don’t have a lot in common. But a deeper dive into their business models reveals striking similarities, Lou Ellen Horwitz, CEO of the Urgent Care Association, told KFF Health News.

Both involve opening easy-to-find locations, catering to walk-in customers and accepting multiple payment methods, she said. That realization is exactly what led QuikTrip, a gas station and convenience store company in Tulsa, Okla., to venture into the primary care business.

The company has opened 12 urgent care clinics in Tulsa since 2020 under its subsidiary MedWise. The clinics are not attached to gas stations and have a separate name, as leaders didn’t want patients thinking they were receiving medical care from individuals who had just been handling gas pumps.

MedWise’s initial launch was supported by the high demand for COVID-19 testing during the pandemic, although patient visits have slowed since then. The company is still on track to grow, though. QuikTrip will open four more clinics in Northeastern Oklahoma in 2023 before expanding to other areas across the company’s 17-state, 1,000-location footprint in the coming years.

Brice Habeck, executive director of MedWise, said the company aims to secure customer loyalty in a competitive market by offering consistent service quality, even if patients see different clinicians each visit.