CEO of health care provider says company’s goal is to open as many as 10 centers in area.
By Drew Dixon, Contributing Writer
The first of three ChenMed Dedicated Senior Medical Centers in Jacksonville opened Thursday, generating fanfare in an economically challenged area of the city.
Hundreds turned out for the grand opening at 3059 Edgewood Ave. W. in northwest Jacksonville.
The 10,000-square-foot medical clinic opened in a building that previously housed a liquor store and a clothing store.
The grand opening drew community leaders and elected officials.
Keshan Gainey-Chambliss, who is running for the District 10 City Council seat, said the Edgewood area lacked facilities for seniors and ChenMed is filling a need.
“It’s very important for our seniors,” she said.
ChenMed, with more than 40 medical centers in 14 cities in seven states, is expanding with plans to have 53 clinics operational by the end of the month.
The second Jacksonville ChenMed will open Wednesday at 6841 Blanding Blvd. in southwest Jacksonville. Its third location opens Thursday at 9422 Arlington Expressway in the Regency area.
ChenMed said it is investing about $60 million to open and operate the three Jacksonville clinics, which will initially employ about a dozen people at each, over the next five years.
Christopher Chen, CEO of ChenMed, said those numbers almost certainly will grow.
“We don’t typically go to a city unless we think we can really make a difference and there’s enough seniors there. Our goal would ultimately be to open seven to 10 centers,” Chen said of Jacksonville.
Each center serves 2,200 to 3,500 senior patients and has as many as 50 employees. Each clinic doctor sees about 400 patients.
ChenMed was founded in Miami and is based there.
Its centers provide multiple senior health care services on-site for low- to moderate-income patients.
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.
“We developed this focus because we thought there was a need here. It’s interesting, if you look at where people are building hospitals and care facilities, they’re building these things where there are healthy, wealthy people,” Chen said.
“This has been a great reception. We’re excited about the opportunity to serve the broadest population of seniors that we can,” he said.
ChenMed was founded by Chen’s father, James Chen, a Taiwanese immigrant and cancer survivor.
Its brands include Chen Senior Medical Center, Dedicated Senior Medical Center and JenCare Senior Medical Center.