GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health has closed Strive, the primary care medical and wellness practice started in downtown Grand Rapids two years ago that sought to bring a unique care model to the market.
Despite promising early results, Strive was unable to attain the scale needed to sustain the practice. That led to Spectrum Health’s decision to close Strive, located on the ground floor of the Waters Building on Ottawa Avenue. The practice’s last day was Friday.
“Strive definitely was out of the box. It was out of the box, we think, for West Michigan, and it was out of the box for Spectrum Health,” said Dr. Alejandro Quiroga, the vice president of medical affairs at Spectrum Health.
He called the closing “very sad.”
“It’s very difficult for an organization to first of all have to take back an interesting project like this and make the decision that we can no longer sustain this effort,” Quiroga said. “As we looked at some of the metrics for Strive, we just couldn’t scale that type of model.”
Strive operated under a membership model and blended primary care with wellness services to focus on maintaining and improving a person’s health. The practice sought to better engage patients so they better cared for their own health.
The practice needed 2,500 to 3,000 paying members to sustain itself. By the time the decision was made to close, Strive has signed up about 1,200 members, Quiroga said.
Members paid $159 annually for access to primary care providers and an array of wellness services such as lifestyle, health and weight management and disease prevention. Members also had access to classes on nutrition and cooking as well as exercise groups.
Strive members also could have genetic tests done to determine their future health risks. The results enabled clinicians to craft a personalized care plan for members to follow to maintain or improve their health and mitigate their risk, or to better manage costly chronic medical conditions.
The practice partnered with a number of health-related businesses in the market — fitness, training and sports clubs, and yoga centers, for example — that offered discounts to Strive members.
Although Strive did not succeed as a business, active members “were very happy with the model” and personal approach, Quiroga said. Care providers who worked there found they could spend more time with patients to focus on maintaining their health or managing a chronic illness, he said.
Strive’s inability to succeed “didn’t have a straightforward answer,” Quiroga said.
“Maybe it was too early, maybe it’s too new, maybe it’s just (that) we do not have a big enough of a market yet in West Michigan,” Quiroga said. “Maybe we were early on in this journey and the market was just not completely ready for that, unfortunately.”
Spectrum Health informed Strive members earlier this summer about the decision to close on Aug. 23. Care providers at the practice have been reassigned to other practices within the Spectrum Health Medical Group, which will seek to embed some of what it learned from Strive about patient and care management into its operations.
“Though the physical location is closing, many of the elements of Strive will transition to other primary care offices within the Spectrum Health Medical Group,” according to a notice on the practice’s website. “Our learnings and insights from this innovative approach to wellness will help us in planning for future primary care services.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify that Strive memberships were $159 annually, not monthly, and that Spectrum Health notified Strive members about the closure earlier this summer.