ChenMed Dedicated Senior Medical Centers will add two more locations to the three it opened in Jacksonville in 2018.
ChenMed expects to open the next two in late 2021 in Arlington and in Northwest Jacksonville.
“We are happy with the hypergrowth that we have undergone in the past few years, even during the pandemic,” said Dr. Hermena Cerphy-Firmin, regional chief medical officer for Dedicated Senior Medical Centers in Jacksonville, Lakeland and Orlando.
“We are expanding in Duval County,” she said June 8, and possibly into other area counties.
The Miami-based company has grown to more than 75 locations in 11 states since it started more than 35 years ago and expects to have 90 centers in 12 states by year-end.
ChenMed.com says it is a primary care-led group practice that serves low-to-moderate-income patients with an average age of 72 through the Medicare Advantage program.
Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans,” are offered by Medicare-approved private companies that must follow rules set by Medicare.
Cerphy-Firmin said ChenMed works with more than 20 plans nationwide.
“Our model is high-touch primary care for the underserved neighborhoods, primarily Medicare Advantage seniors,” she said.
She said ChenMed chooses its locations based on need.
Services include specialist medical care providers, pharmaceutical services, preventive health care counseling and management of chronic conditions.
ChenMed provides shuttle transportation for seniors who need it through courtesy vans and Uber Health.
James Chen, a Taiwanese immigrant and cancer survivor, founded ChenMed.
Its brands include Chen Senior Medical Center, Dedicated Senior Medical Center and JenCare Senior Medical Center.
ChenMed’s first three Duval County medical centers are at 3059 Edgewood Ave. W. in Northwest Jacksonville; 6841 Blanding Blvd. in Southwest Jacksonville; and at 9422 Arlington Expressway in the Regency area.
The next two will be at a former Walgreens pharmacy at 1220 University Blvd. N. in Arlington and 8000 Lem Turner Road in Northwest Jacksonville.
The city is reviewing permit applications. CBJ Construction Inc. of Dania Beach is the contractor for both.
CBJ Construction applied for interior demolition of a 14,414-square-foot space in Lem Turner Plaza at a cost of $18,950.
In Arlington, CBJ Construction applied for the interior demolition and remodeling of 14,998 square feet of space at the former Walgreens.
The job cost for the interior demolition is $31,500 and the remodeling is $1.27 million.
ChenMed estimates it employs more than 80 people in Jacksonville and expects more than 100 with the new locations.
Cerphy-Firmin said June 8 ChenMed opens its centers with clinical and operational teams. Each physician serves 400 to 450 patients compared with “thousands” for fee-for-service practices, she said.
The locations add teams based on patient demand.
Cerphy-Firmin said ChenMed always is looking for “top-quality physicians” to keep its pipeline active “so that as we continue to grow we don’t reach a capacity issue.”
“We want to make sure we are reducing hospital visits,” she said.
To keep touch with patients, ChenMed gives them their physicians’ cellphone numbers.
“We provide highly personalized primary care,” Cerphy-Firmin said.
“Because of that, we have been able to achieve superior outcomes.”
She said office hours are 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and there is a physician on call at other times.
ChenMed offers telemedicine visits and, as it did during the pandemic, calls patients for wellness checks.
“We are the ones who know them best,” Cerphy-Firmin said.
“We want to be able to give them that support to get the care they need.”
During the pandemic, ChenMed made 1.2 million calls in 2020 to patients to check on their needs, including food insecurity, Cerphy-Firmin said.
“We did a lot of ‘love’ calls and it’s really shown in great outcomes.”