Neel Ghoshal was 13 years old when his life changed.
Born in 1978 to Sam and Pritha Ghoshal, who had immigrated from India eight years earlier in search of the American dream, Neel grew up in the Northeast.
There were moments of struggle but life was good in the New York City area, where his father worked at the World Trade Center.
In November 1991, Ghoshal’s mother went back to India to meet her father. She never reached home.
Ghoshal said his mother was suffering from kidney problems, but disagreements among doctors and lack of access to health care led to misdiagnosis. For unknown reasons, family and doctors in India did not contact medical professionals in the United States. He died a few weeks later in 1992.
Ghoshal feels angry at the systems that were created to protect people like his mother.
There was no reason he had to pass, he said. He did this due to lack of access.
Although he has worked in many industries during his professional career, Ghoshal’s desire to help fill gaps in the health care system has always stayed with him. Apart from the family connection to the hospitality industry, he is running their new business venture, Healthpitality.
Ghoshal said, the inspiration behind Healthpitality is directly linked to his mother’s memory. Many American citizens, including most hospitality workers, struggle to access affordable health care. For people who have traditional health care, it may be difficult to see a primary care physician regularly because of long wait times and expensive copayments.
Set to launch in January, Healthpitality is being marketed as a subscription-based alternative to traditional health insurance. It will rely heavily on telehealth services to treat the more than 50 percent of hospitality workers nationally who do not get health insurance from the restaurants or hotels that employ them. At Healthpitality, Ghoshal wants to create an environment where hospitality industry members are partners in their care and are treated to the same VIP treatment they provide to their guests night after night.
Hospitality industry employees can become members of Healthpitality individually, but Ghoshal believes restaurants will make this membership an employee benefit. A monthly subscription will cost employers $38 to $55 per employee per month, plus a $250 onboarding fee, and includes unlimited telehealth visits.
Ghoshal said restaurants will be billed monthly per employee, meaning restaurants won’t have to foot the bill for anyone leaving the workforce. On the other hand, workers will not be laid off when they change jobs.
Membership is $65 per month for individual employees purchasing their own Healthpitality package. Hospitality workers who wish to sign up in person will be asked to provide proof of employment, such as a recent pay check.
Ghoshal, who moved to Charleston in 2018, describes Healthpitality as a virtual-first health care provider. Her experience with telehealth includes working as a consultant for Doxy.me, a telemedicine business that started as a tool for health care providers to provide prenatal care to women who were pregnant, Who usually have to travel long distances for a good checkup and weighing. ,
Although he understands the benefits of telehealth, Ghoshal also recognizes that it cannot meet every health care need. It is not possible to conduct every type of visit remotely, which means HealthPitality members will still need to schedule appointments for imaging tests, blood work and other visits that require in-person interaction.
Personal visits recommended by doctors and nurse practitioners employed by Healthpitality will be at the out-of-pocket expense of the restaurant or employee.
Our providers are experts in leveraging the best practices of telehealth to serve our members. However, when necessary, they are also adept at identifying situations where individualized care is necessary, and will refer members to outside providers accordingly, Ghoshal said.
Telemedicine has been more widely adopted since the pandemic, said Dr. Marty Player, director of primary care telemedicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. It has been particularly effective in treating mental health disorders, Player said.
Limitations of telemedicine include the inability to conduct tests and examinations that must be done in person. South Carolina law also prevents doctors from prescribing certain controlled drugs without personally caring for a patient.
Player said early research before the pandemic had shown that telemedicine provided greater access to people who already had access to health care. He said developments in the field show that moving forward, telemedicine could expand access to more vulnerable populations.
Access to primary care in this country is still limited in general, Player said. I think there is an advantage to having the telehealth option.
HealthPitality currently has six employees and plans to have three doctors and six to nine nurse practitioners by the time it launches in South Carolina and Florida in January. Initially the primary focus will be on acute care. As HealthPitality sees an increase in demand, Ghoshal plans to broaden services to include primary care and preventive medicine, said Ghoshal, whose brother is a certified master chef by the American Culinary Federation. Is a designation given by.
The ultimate goal is to create a comprehensive health and wellness ecosystem where members can manage most of their health needs. They will do this by working with HealthPitalities’ concierge team, who will be trained to understand the realities of working in the restaurant industry.
Ghoshal said his deep understanding of the unique challenges faced in hospitality ensures that every interaction is not only helpful, but also empathetic and tailored.
Ambitious future goals include the creation of HealthPitals, units that will bring health care services directly to members for seasonal needs such as flu shots and physical exams. The overarching goal is to make health care accessible and convenient for all HealthPitality members, Ghoshal said.
For more information, visit healthpitality.life.
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