By Andrea Cordle
Officials at OhioHealth noticed a troubling trend on the westside of Columbus. According to Michael Krouse, OhioHealth senior vice president and chief strategy and transformation officer, a high number of senior citizens were seeking emergency care for non-emergencies.
“That is the most expensive place to receive care,” said Krouse.
A plan is in place to help address this issue and bring more health care options to an underserved community.
OhioHealth has partnered with ChenMed, a privately-owned company that caters to senior citizens, to open a new, geriatric-based primary care practice on the westside. The exact location has yet to be determined but the facility would be roughly 15,000 square feet. It is said to improve the lives of moderate to low-income seniors, mainly those with Medicare Advantage or combined Medicare/Medicaid insurance coverage.
“OhioHealth has a long history of caring for underserved communities and populations,” said Krouse. “We are proud and excited to be continuing that tradition for our senior patients through this partnership with ChenMed.”
According to Krouse, this will not just be any medical center.
“This is a totally different model,” he said.
Krouse said the average primary care physician has about 2,200 patients he/she could see on an annual basis.
“This model blows that up,” said Krouse. “These physicians will have a parcel size of 400 patients, so they can spend more time with the patients and see the individuals more often.”
According to OhioHealth, primary care physicians will invest more than 200 minutes per year of facetime with each patient as part of this partnership. That is more than 10 times the 20 minutes a year in facetime with patients that is the average for general practice doctors.
The new health care center will also feature walk-in appointments and have on-site cardiology, podiatry, medication dispensing, imaging, labs, and more. Patients will have the mobile phone number of their primary care physician and the model also offers door-to-doctor transportation.
“This makes it more likely the patients will stay the course for their health,” said Krouse. “Folks will really benefit.”
OhioHealth partnered with ChenMed on this project because it brings concierge-style medicine and better outcomes to the neediest populations. ChenMed operates more than 50 primary care medical practices throughout the country.
OhioHealth operates 11 hospitals including Doctors Hospital on West Broad Street.
In addition to the westside health care center, OhioHealth and ChenMed will open additional facilities on the north side and far east side of Columbus. The five-year investment will exceed $60 million and provide primary care for approximately 8,000 senior citizens.
The westside practice should be open in the fall of next year.
“We are really excited about this opportunity,” said Krouse. “The community will win.”