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Concierge-like JenCare clinics offer inspiring approach to health care for seniors

Southwest Side clinic putting community in care for seniors
Southwest Side clinic putting community in care for seniors 03:33

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Many studies show that older Americans tend to have multiple, often chronic health issues. Ironically, they tend to need more specialized care at a time in their lives when it can be harder to get, but a group of clinics founded by a doctor who survived cancer is offering an affordable and easy option.

At JenCare Senior Medical Center in the Ashburn neighborhood on the city's South Side, the aim is for doctors and patients to really know each other.

There are 125 centers like it across the country. They provide concierge-like services to seniors in underserved communities.

"Underserved areas are areas that are considered health deserts. There may not be a lot of providers. The patients themselves may not have enough resources," said Dr. Kimberly Webb.

The goal is to make health care effective, accessible, and easy; with almost all services under one roof.

"This is a one-stop shop. You get your labwork, you get your doctor visits, you get your medication, you get your X-rays, you get your consultations. I don't have to travel anywhere but that one center," said patient Pat Logan.

At JenCare centers, there's a long list of benefits here you might not get at your traditional doctor's office; like transportation to and from your visits, and a once-a-week call to make sure you have your medications.

"We see our patients at minimum once a month, because most of our patients have a lot of chronic medical conditions," Webb said. "Just a visit every three to six months is not often enough."

"We want to make sure that we're reducing the likelihood of them needing any emergent or inpatient services; which is where the bulk of health care costs come from," said JenCare director Diane Orosz.

JenCare was born when its founder, Dr. James Chen, was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, and told he had two months to live. He found the health care system frustrating and unsympathetic.

"He decided, 'I want everyone else to experience something different, especially the older adults,'" Webb said.

But he actually recovered, and vowed to make medical care more equitable.

To be eligible for treatment at JenCare, patients must have Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage.

"They make us their primary care provider. Then, at that point, we are able to provide all of their services unless we need to refer them out for services we don't provide here," Orosz said.

For example, there is an X-ray lab at JenCare in Ashburn, but for MRI services, the team helps get patients appointments at other places.

"It is no additional cost, except maybe some services, like our pharmacy services, where patients may have a little bit out-of-pocket service," Orosz said.

There's also a lot of attention paid to emotional and social well-being, like bingo games.

"We have line dancing classes here at our facility. We have exercise classes that, I mean, I've gone in there and I've broken a sweat. Chair exercises. A lot of social events," Webb said.

Both doctors and patients said it's the personal touch that matters most.

"We as seniors, we won't go to a doctor necessarily if we don't trust them, and we won't go to a doctor we don't like," Logan said.

"We're able to develop really strong relationships. We know about their families," Webb said. "We're very invested in not just the health care of the patient, but them as a person."

To learn more about JenCare and how you can find a clinic near you, log onto or call (773) 362-8950.

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