ChenMed Well-Positioned in Healthcare Market

The Miami-based primary care company’s focus on senior care has it sought after by at least one major retailer. 

February 2024 – The Journal of Healthcare Contracting

By Daniel Beaird

ChenMed is a Miami-based primary care company that runs 125 clinics led by physicians focused on providing services to moderate- to low-income seniors with complex chronic conditions. It’s been named one of Fortune’s “Change the World” companies, a “Most Loved Workplace” by Newsweek and a certified Great Place to Work® by the Great Place to Work Institute.

In July, the company appointed former UnitedHealthcare CEO Steve Nelson as president to lead the day-to-day management and operations. Chris Chen, MD, serves as ChenMed CEO but has stepped back to supply support, guidance and board governance. Nelson was hired in 2022 to lead ChenMed’s JenCare Senior Medical Centers. Prior to joining ChenMed, Nelson served as Co-Chairman and CEO of Duly Health and Care, one of the largest multispecialty independent provider groups in the U.S. Earlier in his career, he led UnitedHealthcare as CEO, contributing to its status as the largest Medicare Advantage business nationally, and driving efforts that increased employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

“I’m honored to help lead this organization and to pursue a founder-inspired strategy to steer and grow the company toward a distinctive future,” said Nelson in a release. “The Chen family’s vision and goals have already improved the lives of thousands of seniors who had never experienced the quality of primary and coordinated health care that they deserve. We intend to build on and expand the reach of the exceptional health outcomes and experiences the Chen family has delivered to its patients, while offering the best possible environment for our teams, and achieving sustainable business results.”

ChenMed includes Chen Senior Medical Centers, Dedicated Senior Medical Centers, IntuneHealth and JenCare Senior Medical Centers. It also owns Curity, a technology company which was named a “Best Place to Work in IT” by Computerworld.

Possible retail suitors

In September, Bloomberg reported that Walmart was interested in buying majority ownership in ChenMed. The potential deal was valued at several billion dollars and would be Walmart’s biggest purchase in the healthcare sector. Retailers like Walmart are positioning themselves for the shift to value-based care to treat Medicare patients. For example, CVS Health bought Oak Street Health for $10.6 billion, and Amazon’s One Medical has almost 50 clinics for older adults.

ChenMed is the last scaled, multi-state Medicare Advantage provider that has not sold to a major retailer, according to Rebecca Springer, a healthcare analyst for PitchBook.

Meanwhile, Walmart signed a 10-year deal with UnitedHealth Group in 2022 to treat its customers with Medicare Advantage, the plan that ChenMed is focused on. Springer views Walmart as the best fit buyer but calls ChenMed a prize asset that other potential bidders could bid on.

Scaling ChenMed’s technology platform

ChenMed has signed a multi-year agreement with Thoughtworks, a global technology consultancy, to maximize the speed and agility of its core operating system on AWS to support growth. ChenMed and Thoughtworks are working in stream-aligned product teams, using an event-driven microservices architecture and a cloud-native developer experience platform.

“We’re thrilled to bring Thoughtworks’ scaling capabilities to ChenMed as it continues to innovate with resolute focus on helping healthcare providers deliver the best preventive primary care and value-based health outcomes for their patients,” said Tim Cochran, head of digital scaleups for Thoughtworks North America, in a statement.

ChenMed extended its relationship with Humana in 2023

ChenMed extended its longstanding relationship with Humana in 2023, signing a new five-year agreement supplying in-network care for Humana’s Medicare Advantage members at all its locations. Humana and ChenMed first partnered in the 1990s in South Florida and strengthened the partnership in 2011 with the formation of joint venture JenCare Senior Medical Centers.

“ChenMed and our partners at Humana understand seniors, and together we have deep experience delivering on the spectrum of their primary care needs,” said Michael Redmond, CFO for ChenMed, in a statement. “This agreement guarantees our patients will continue to have access to Humana’s leading health plans, along with the personalized, high touch care we provide.”


ChenMed announces new coordinated care program

ChenMed recently announced it has implemented an “ambitious” program to provide each of its patients with access to the services of a coordinated care team, across its more than 130 senior medical centers in 15 states throughout the country. This company-wide integration coincides with the federal government’s unwinding of the Public Health Emergency it established during the Covid-19 pandemic, a process that now requires all Medicaid recipients to re-enroll in the program within state-by-state deadlines, or risk losing Medicaid benefits to which they might be entitled, according to a release.

Medicaid-eligible older adults are particularly vulnerable to this prospect, ChenMed said, citing a recent West Health-Gallup survey that found a sizable proportion of the older adult population in the U.S. skips treatments and cuts back on basic and essential needs due to healthcare costs. Twelve percent of those 65 and older say they or a member of their household had a health problem in the last year that they did not seek treatment for due to cost. The survey found 11% of Americans in this age group report that they or a family member skipped prescribed pills to save money.

ChenMed’s patients are generally 65 and older and many live in underserved areas. By ensuring that those who are eligible for Medicaid successfully re-enroll within their particular state’s deadline, ChenMed’s care teams enable them to retain a variety of vital resources to support their health and wellness needs.

“We provide this service to supplement the unwinding efforts that are now underway and to make it as convenient as possible for the Medicaid-eligible seniors we serve to maintain their insurance,” said Dr. Say Salomon, ChenMed national chief medical officer, hospital and community care. “Without it, they run the risk of facing unaffordable medical bills and losing access to programs they need to stay healthy and secure.”

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