A Master Class in Entrepreneurship

Rudrax Patel is Making a Difference in the Healthcare Space

by Kristen De Deyn Kirk

Two decades ago, Rudrax Patel was studying biomedical sciences at Old Dominion University. A challenge, for sure—but a task more predictable and less varied than his current work as president of Pashm Global. As a business visionary, he’s stroked deals in retail, hospitality and healthcare.

Patel’s simple advice for fellow entrepreneurs: Stay involved every day.

“If you think, ‘I’ll do it when I have time,’” he says, “that doesn’t work in business.”

For Patel, working every day made it possible to open Acorn Care Primary and Urgent Care in Chesapeake last fall, despite roadblocks, while also directing local ARCpoint Labs locations and helping introduce Virginia Strikers, a cricket enterprise.

And laying the groundwork for another business.

The idea for Acorn started pre-COVID, when Patel saw a gap in service. He heard about urgent care patients waiting three, four, five hours to see a doctor. In person, they filled out paperwork and answered questions about their ailment, while not feeling well and waiting in a crowded room near others who were also ill. Patel predicted technology—used at home to book an appointment, fill out an initial health intake and alert providers as to which patients they’d soon evaluate—could speed up the care process.

“Our goal at Acorn is less and less wait time,” Patel says, “[so] patients can spend more and more time with the provider, and providers are not rushing either.”

Lessons learned
The former-PhD-candidate-turned-formidable enterpriser faced different wait times of his own as he executed his Acorn business plan. Approvals to participate with health insurance companies took longer than he anticipated. Delays ensued with securing medical supplies and equipment, too. Patel did not want to postpone his October 2023 opening because of either hurdle.

“We just gave free care,” he says. “We never turned away any patient, whether we were credentialed or not with the payor (insurance).”

He persisted, finally earning the right to accept a variety of health insurances. The supply backlog eased as well. While it’s all worked out, Patel advises that others launching similar businesses obtain credentials and secure supplies early.
“Very, very early,” he emphasizes.

Master classes in success
Another challenge Patel is conquering: Attracting quality healthcare providers.

Offering better pay, a better work environment and better flexibility with scheduling is Patel’s approach to hiring stellar providers – along with experimenting with revenue-sharing options.

“We’re looking at different models …with different providers, and seeing what works best for them and us,” he says, “and without compromising the quality of care. It’s a learning process.”

So far, Acorn employs four providers and treats up to 75 patients a day.

Patel plans to grow Acorn into 10 locations in Coastal Virginia. Where exactly and how quickly depends on the market and his realtors, who have been scouting sites. Maybe a care center in Virginia Beach or somewhere on the Peninsula will be next. Or perhaps in Portsmouth, where ARCpoint Labs providers identified an urgent care gap.

By June 2024, he sees himself swinging open the doors to yet another business, one providing “high-class, high-tech” images for patients needing CT scans, MRIs and X-rays.

“We’re almost there,” Patel says.

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