At United Ag Health & Wellness Clinic, it’s all about the patient. The clinic, which recently opened a location in Santa Maria, is hoping to change people’s perception of the service and care a healthcare clinic can provide.
“What a clinic is, what a health plan is, what a health insurance company is all about – it’s often not focused on the patient,” explained Kirti Mutatkar, President/CEO of United Ag Health & Wellness Clinic. “At United Ag, we take our experience with employees here, with our patients, and even our personal experience with the healthcare system and we ask “how do we really help a patient?”. That’s how we try to make sure we’re constantly thinking of our patients and providing the best service possible to them at United Ag Health & Wellness Clinic.”
United Ag is a member-owned agricultural trade association dedicated to providing innovative solutions for a strong and healthy agricultural industry. Their Santa Maria clinic is open to all United Ag members’ covered employees and dependents. And unlike many similar organizations, the focus of United Ag Health & Wellness Clinic is centered around patient care.
“Usually when you see a health plan, they have a clinic because they are trying  to bring the cost down for the health plan. They want to drive patients to the clinic and control the cost,” explained Mutatkar. “United Ag does not open a clinic for that reason. United Ag is actually an advocate for a patient, the members. So what we are trying to do, through our clinics, is to help educate our members. Really bring them in and take care of their healthcare needs. Changing their behaviors, getting them to use telemedicine, looking at any innovation we can bring in healthcare and being truly advocates for our patients and our members.”
The clinic, located at 2605 S. Miller, Suite 100, provides a full range of services focused on the unique needs of the agricultural community – from acute and episodic care to health-risk and disease management to wellness and prevention –all without charging service co-pays or
deductibles for most plans.
United Ag opened it’s first clinic in Visalia, CA. Mutatkar said they chose Santa Maria for its’ second location because many of its larger members, like Rancho Guadalupe Farms, Plantel and Babe Farms, are located in this area.“You could say a big part of our heart is in Santa Maria,” Mutatkar said, “Because we have so many of those members who have been with us since the beginning located here. It made perfect sense to open a Health & Wellness Clinic in this location”
And so far, the feedback from the Santa Maria community has been overwhelmingly positive. The clinic has
been open just over a month, and word is already starting to spread amongst the local agricultural community about United Ag’s patient-centered approach to healthcare.
“Sometimes when you come into a clinic they can delay the process of providing care because that’s how they control cost. But with us you can make an appointment, see the provider and you’re out of the office in a half hour,” explained Mutatkar. “When people saw that happening, the word spread. They talked to other people about the service and the care we offer, the quick turnaround on getting to see a doctor, and people in Santa Maria are becoming more interested in checking us out.” Despite the positive response so far, Mutatker sees the constant room for improvement. The clinic has already made some changes, like modifying their hours, to better accommodate their clients