It is well-known that in the United States, a world leader in healthcare, millions are either grappling with medical issues without the help of a physician or are going into debt to pay for expensive medications and services. A staggering 40% of Americans delay going to the doctor or even forego treatment because of the financial costs. Nearly 33% lack access to primary care services altogether. Overcoming that widening inequity is the mission of Sagebrush Health, whose leaders and staff are united by a common conviction: everyone, no matter their financial ability, deserves to have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.
The story of how Sagebrush stepped in to solve America’s disparities in healthcare services centers around CEO Guru Charan and President Rajesh Sonani, MD. The two partners were unsettled by the growing number of individuals shut out of the healthcare system, including minorities and people in rural areas. They were particularly concerned by Nevada, where 14% of the population live below the poverty line. The state was also ranked #35 in terms of health in 2019. Knowing that the low-income population often does not enjoy good health, Charan and Sonani founded Sagebrush to bring excellent, affordable services to them and permanently turn the page on America’s healthcare inequity.
Since opening, the clinics have become a vital resource for an overlooked part of Nevada’s population. Sagebrush has helped its patients by lowering the cost of prescription drugs and by providing much-needed services in rheumatology, infectious diseases, wound care, PrEP & PEP, and infusions.
Arguably its most significant impact, however, has been made in the treatment of STDs, as Nevada has seen the fourth highest increase in STDs in the United States. Blacks and non-Hispanic populations in the state have higher rates of reported cases of HIV than other races/ethnicity groups between 2013-2017. These alarming statistics are behind Sagebrush’s efforts to empower underserved Nevada communities with comprehensive sexual health programs, including increased testing, education, and free STI services.
The sexual wellness programs spearheaded by Sagebrush, already successful, recently received a significant boost when the center acquired the Ryan White HIV/AIDS grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Backed by the national grant, staff are unveiling more sexual health programs designed to benefit a larger population, such as seminars, workshops, community awareness campaigns, STI testing, and treatments. As Sagebrush’s doctors and staff expand further into rural Nevada communities, their goal remains the same: to empower people everywhere with the knowledge and treatments to enjoy improved sexual wellness and overall health.
While the success of Sagebrush exceeds their hopes and expectations, Charan and Sonani concede that the issues in America’s healthcare system are extensive and complex. Even so, they are firmly convinced that Sagebrush will continue to innovate solutions. As they say, empathy, vision, ambition, and expertise are an unbeatable combination, one that is enabling more people to walk through the doors to healthcare and receive needed treatments.
About Sagebrush Health
Sagebrush Health is committed to providing accessible and comprehensive sexual health services nationwide, emphasizing health equity. We are dedicated to eliminating healthcare disparities by promoting social justice in healthcare and ensuring equal access. We prioritize community-engaged health improvement and adapt to meet the needs of our patients and communities. We strive to stay abreast of advancements in HIV, AIDS, STIs, and viral hepatitis so that we can eliminate new infections. Our services, including free STD testing, PrEP, PEP, and copay coverage for medications, are aimed at individuals facing financial barriers.
For more information about how we are achieving nationwide accessibility and equity in specialty healthcare services, please visit our website.