Doctor On The Go

Concessions International founder opens airport clinic

Atlanta investment banker and lawyer Felker Ward Jr. is ushering the concept of quick, convenient healthcare into uncharted territory — airports.

This past May, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport welcomed the first AeroClinic, an on-site healthcare facility designed especially for time-pressed travelers.

“It occurred to me with knowledge of the airport environment and the length of time travelers spend in airports that healthcare had application in airports, where you have the largest conglomeration of people,” says the chairman and CEO, who in 1979 co-founded Concessions International L.L.C., an airport-based food and beverage concessions venture, with business partners Jesse Hill and Herman J. Russell.

The AeroClinic concept may prove to be quite lucrative, as the Atlanta site alone expects to treat 80 to 100 patients per day for annualized revenues between $1.5 million and $2.5 million. Financed primarily by private investors, each AeroClinic location costs an estimated $350,000 to construct, including about $25,000 for technology enabling Personal Healthcare Record kiosks facilitated through McKesson Corp.

Each AeroClinic medical team consists of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. By incorporating the preventative healthcare ideals of board director Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. surgeon general and director of the Centers for Disease Control, the team can provide traveling patients with medical care in many areas from vaccinations and immunizations to treatment for the common cold. AeroClinic facilities also offer a number of occupational medical services for airport and airline employees including on-the-job injuries and pre-employment screenings. AeroClinic accepts most major insurance plans; however for plans not covered or for clients without insurance, a typical visit runs $25 to $100.

The second site is set to open in Philadelphia International Airport. Ward hopes to construct a total of 20 AeroClinic facilities nationwide over the next five years.

ACROSS THE WEB