When the COVID-19 crisis was just beginning to sink in as a reality to most Americans some six months ago, CareMax Medical Centers was already changing its health and wellness delivery models for its members spread throughout South Florida. CareMax knew that drastic changes were coming to the healthcare delivery system as a result of the virus and acted accordingly.
“Our goal has always been to provide the best in care for not only our members’ health, but also their mental and social wellbeing,” said CareMax Chief Executive Officer Carlos de Solo. “When the Coronavirus entered our everyday lives, we knew we had to do something and do it right then.”
What de Solo and his 370-person team did was both prescient and powerfully impactful. Within 72 hours from the onset of the pandemic, CareMax crafted policies and procedures to ensure its members were safe and well-informed. Consider the programs that CareMax initiated before the crisis really took hold:
- Virtual appointments – CareMax physicians and specialists have been uniquely trained to conduct appointments with their members over video communication from the safety of their own homes. By utilizing CareMax’s proprietary technology platform known as “HeartBeat,” CareMax doctors were able to make this adjustment immediately and effectively. The HeartBeat platform also assists CareMax physicians in making optimal clinical decisions for their patients and provides the ability to track the patients’ progress and outcomes. For members who have trouble getting connected, CareMax provides a tablet delivery service with a concierge to help get them connected.
- Meal deliveries – Any CareMax member in need of a meal can call their center and have the food delivered to their home. Today, more than 1,000 food deliveries are carried out by the CareMax Transportation team. For the most vulnerable members, CareMax has instituted deliveries of care packages filled with non-perishable items.
- Online Wellness Classes – CareMax closed its Wellness Centers at the outset of the crisis for the safety of its members, but quickly found a way to continue bringing wellness resources to members. Through Facebook Live posts, CareMax offers virtual wellness classes, such as Zumba, yoga, BINGO and relaxation techniques. Both English and Spanish classes are available.
- Flyers in three languages (English, Spanish and Creole ) that give members tips on how to remain safe during the crisis are regularly sent to members.
- Outbound wellness calls – Every CareMax member receives a wellness check every week. These calls provide comforting messages to members, making sure they are doing well, keeping up with safe habits, and staying properly nourished. If something is amiss, the member can be scheduled for a telemedicine visit or a home health nurse can come to the center.
- The CareMax Medical Centers remained open with enhanced precautions, including masks, gloves and responsible social distancing. Triage was installed at the front doors of all the centers, where anyone wanting to come in is screened and has their temperature taken. Inside, members wear masks, and staff don face masks and gloves.
- A “Call CareMax First” campaign was established encouraging members to phone CareMax prior to going to a hospital. This has proven to prevent unnecessary visits and hospitalizations and gives members access to a medical professional 24/7.
- While CareMax has always provided 24/7 care, this was enhanced by engaging a private ambulance company that goes go to members’ homes, stabilizes them, and works with their primary care physicians to carry out a treatment plan.
“Our programs implemented last Spring have been very successful,” noted de Solo. “I am so proud that our members and staff embraced these changes wholeheartedly. We are keeping people healthy – and out of the hospital — during these most trying of times. This is what we mean when we say CareMax is ‘Healthcare with Heart.'”
Founded in 2011, CareMax Medical Centers is a network of value-based clinics in South Florida primarily serving Medicare beneficiaries through high-touch enhanced services. Each of the 11 CareMax centers offers comprehensive care to its members by combining primary care, specialists, dental care, pain management, social services, health education, diagnostics, home health and pharmacy under one roof with transportation to get members to their appointments. CareMax has found proactively fulfilling members’ medical, mental and social needs — what CareMax calls “whole person health” — leads to improved patient health and lower costs to the healthcare system. Five-Star quality CareMax centers use a combination of best practices, technology and social determinants to achieve better healthcare outcomes for senior members in the community. The results: 130% year-over-year growth, the opening of two new medical centers in the next six months, and high-quality scores as evidenced by three contracted health plans receiving a 5-Star quality rating as awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.