Another option for senior healthcare is now available in South Philadelphia.
Family-owned ChenMed will open a Dedicated Senior Medical Center location at the Whitman Plaza on Oregon Avenue on July 1, expanding its footprint across Philadelphia.
The company specializes in providing medical care to Medicare-eligible seniors managing multiple complex chronic conditions. Many patients are moderate- to low-income seniors.
The new South Philly location becomes the fifth ChenMed center to open in Philadelphia over the last two years. Other locations include North Philadelphia, Olney, Mayfair and West Philadelphia.
“We’re so excited about the growth and that we can be in South Philly,” said Dr. Sophie Parker. “There’s a significant amount of seniors in that area that could use our services and who would really appreciate what we do.”
ChenMed, which operates in 10 states across the country, delivers concierge-style care to patients, aiming to reduce expensive visits to overcrowded emergency rooms. ChenMed patients have 33 percent fewer hospitalizations and ER visits, according to the company.
And although the number of patients has grown to 3,000 patients since its inception, the organization prides itself on having a doctor-patient ratio that is less than one-fifth the national average.
ChenMed typically serves 450 patients per physician, compared to the national average of 2,300. Doctors average 189 minutes annually of face-to-face time with patients, which is 10 times the national average, according to the company.
“The reason we have less patients is because our physicians are really in charge of our seniors and their health,” Parker said. “They take a lot of time with the patients. A typical doctor may have 2,500 to 3,000 patients, so their time is divided with that many patients. What we decided was to closely follow up with our patients so they get all the care they need in the time they need it.”
Although COVID-19 has provided challenges to all healthcare organizations, ChenMed has been able to cope with patient needs by offering telehealth appointments as well as in-clinic care as needed. It also offers door-to-doctor transportation and walk-in appointments. Doctors typically give out their cell phone numbers to patients in case of emergencies.
“Our primary-care physicians are focused on providing the best possible care for the seniors,” Parker said. “Often, these seniors have multiple chronic conditions, so our physicians are specifically trained to manage those chronic conditions, keeping our seniors happy and healthy.”
On-site cardiology, medication dispensing, imaging, labs, acupuncture and other services are also available. Almost all costs of care are covered by fixed Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements that are enhanced by Medicare Advantage supplemental insurance.
Services sometimes go beyond normal doctor visits.
“We are committed to our community,” Parker said. “We do a tele-town hall, educating our seniors about COVID, and they can ask questions and they don’t have to be our patients. We also share information on food banks and sometimes we even deliver the meals. During COVID, many of our seniors are stuck at home and are isolated and depressed. We reach out to them and do whatever it takes to keep them healthy.”