CareMore Health Plan, a Medicare Advantage plan for seniors, has opened a full-service, one-stop neighborhood senior health care facility in Mesa, and is generating new jobs.
The Mesa CareMore Care Center is a facility for members of the CareMore Health Plan to use. The center is located at 8435 E. Baseline Road, and held its grand opening on Tuesday.
The Mesa CareMore Care Center is the third Care Center to open in Maricopa County. The other centers are located in Scottsdale and Phoenix.
CareMore expects to enroll 2,500 members in Phoenix in its first year. To be a member, seniors must purchase the CareMore Medicare insurance. There is no charge for use of the CareMore Care Center once someone is a member.
The Mesa CareMore Center is expected to provide a boost to Mesa's economy by creating new jobs. CareMore will employ about 100 people to work at the three centers in the Valley.
"If you can add jobs it helps the economy," vice president and general manager Kristi McShay said. "It's great to be part of an organization that is growing and can offer that."
The president of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Charles Deaton, believes that new businesses like CareMore will help turn Mesa's economy around.
"Any time you have a new company or new business come into the area and create jobs when you have a down economy, it's a positive," Deaton said. "If you look at where Mesa is, we've still got a ways to go, but things are coming together."
Most Medicare Advantage plans don't have facilities to offer to members.
CareMore made its first entry into Arizona in 2009, with the introduction of CareMore Care Centers in Tucson. CareMore currently has about 4,000 members in the Tucson area.
The Mesa Care Center will employ local physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinicians to provide care to seniors at the facility.
"Unlike a typical Medicare advantage plan, we have these clinical programs that we offer, which are staffed by our own clinicians," McShay said. "It produces high quality outcomes and significant improvements in health and well-being for our members."
The clinicians at the center educate seniors about health and wellness. Some topics include fall prevention and wound care prevention.
CareMore partners with local physicians and hospitals to provide the services its members need.
"We have a neighborhood concept," McShay said.
The center also offers a "Nifty after Fifty" fitness center for members to stay in shape. It also provides special disease management programs that address diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure among others.
Seniors that use the center can find answers to all of their health questions, something that a regular Medicare Advantage plan might not provide.
CareMore promotes keeping seniors healthy, and provides ways for them to learn how to accomplish that goal, which is something the company believes makes it stand out from its competitors.
"Prior to CareMore's entry into the state, Scan Health Care was the only Medicare Advantage plan in Arizona to offer a facility for member use.
Tom Lescault, president of Scan Health Plan Arizona, welcomes the competition that CareMore brings.
"This is a very competitive marketplace when it comes to Medicare Advantage, and Scan welcomes newcomers because it provides the Medicare beneficiaries with more options," Lescault said.
Scan Health Plan offers a wide range of physical and educational programs for seniors at its facility, and recently added a Silver Sneakers program, and free health club memberships in Maricopa County at 45 different locations, Lescault said.
"This is the first time we will be offering it and the response to it has been phenomenal."