Anthem to open CareMore centers in Henrico

Anthem will introduce four new healthcare centers - including two in Henrico - to the Metro Richmond market in January.

The CareMore care centers will open in the Brook Run Shopping Center in northern Henrico; near the intersection of Parham Road and Patterson Avenue; on Midlothian Turnpike near Robious Road; and on Jahnke Road near Chippenham Hospital.

The centers will only accept Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare patients.

CareMore innovated a successful Medicare advantage plan to provide coverage and care for about 54,000 people in California, Arizona and Nevada. In 2011, the California-based CareMore Health Group was bought by Anthem’s parent company WellPoint, Inc.

“The key to understand is although we’re a health plan, we’re really a healthcare delivery system and that’s why we’re different,” said Dr. Michael Neiderer, regional medical officer for CareMore. “We come in with an entire approach of how to take care of patients and a lot of the emphasis that it is on is health maintenance and spending on a more robust benefit to maintain health than to take care of people in the hospital.”

CareMore care centers provide coordinated care plans for patients with multiple doctors and have specialized programs to help those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or congenital heart failure, said Linda Larue, general manager of CareMore for Virginia.

“There really is the care model in the concept of the team, how the team takes care of the patient, that really is so innovative and makes it so successful,” she said. “We don’t really have anything like that in Richmond.”

She emphasized that the services provided by the centers are holistic but do not replace the primary care physician’s role. CareMore’s services also include mental health programs and more social services, such as seminars on phone usage or Nifty After Fifty, a fitness program.

“If you can imagine going to your primary care doctor, you know in the world we live in today you may get 10 or 15 minutes with your doctor and sometimes that’s just not enough for this population of patients,” she said. “Enrollees may see their primary care doctor couple times but they can come to the care clinic as often as they want.”

The CareMore centers and model will have working relationships with the five HCA hospitals in the region, building on Anthem’s previous partnerships with them, Larue said. There also will be a network of associated local physicians.

When new patients visit one of the CareMore centers, they will sit with a physician or physician’s assistance to complete CareMore’s Healthy Start medical history evaluation, Neiderer said. Staff members then will put patients with chronic or preexisting conditions into programs to help monitor their progress.

“That makes it that much easier for the primary care physician when they finally meet their new patients,” he said. “We try to have that healthy start completed and that information to the primary care physician so that when they meet the patient they have that and it can save a lot of time and help them get to the patient more quickly.”

The centers are now hiring, according to CareMore’s official website, for offices in Brooklyn and Albany, N.Y. and the Richmond-area locations.

WellPoint and Anthem run Blue Cross Blue Shield in 14 states, with one in nine Americans receiving coverage from one of its affiliated plans, according to the WellPoint website.

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Knights of Columbus Council 395 will hold a Brunswick Stew sale from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Columbian Center, 2324 Pump Rd. Prices are $8.50 for one quart and $16 for two quarts; additional quarts are $8 each. Proceeds will benefit the charitable projects of the Council. To pre-order, call Tom Giannasi at 355-3866. Full text

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