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Meet the social impact investor who’s funding medical facilities for seniors in Tampa Bay

Margie Manning

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Dr. Chris Chen holds the scissors that cut the ribbon at a grand opening for the Dedicated Senior Medical Center in north Tampa.

For Bobby Turner, principal and CEO of Turner Impact Capital, the Dedicated Senior Medical Center that just opened in North Tampa is more than just an innovative facility to bring affordable care to older adults.

Bobby Turner, principal and CEO, Turner Impact Capital

It’s part of Turner’s effort to improve the cost and outcomes of healthcare and better the community, while also providing a financial return to investors.

Turner Impact Capital, based in Los Angeles and focused on investments designed to generate positive change in society, and ChenMed, a Miami-based physician practice, have partnered on six Dedicated Senior Medical Centers throughout Florida, including the one that opened Wednesday at 1901 Fletcher Ave.

Turner Healthcare Facilities Fund develops the centers, and ChenMed operates them.

Dedicated Senior Medical Center in St. Petersburg

The first Dedicated Senior Medical Center they partnered on opened just over a year ago in south St. Petersburg, and since then other centers have opened in Tampa, Jacksonville and Bradenton. The newest center in North Tampa, a 10,000-square-foot facility, was the first built from the ground up.

ChenMed and Turner are taking on one of the biggest needs in society, to make healthcare more effective and affordable, Bobby Turner said.

The United States spends more money on health care than any other country in the world, but outcomes in the U.S. rank in the bottom quartile in key metrics, and it’s worse in urban communities, he said.

Eighty-five percent of healthcare spending currently is on treating chronic conditions among the elderly, and that’s unsustainable, Turner said.

ChenMed focuses on “high touch” preventative health care, allowing Medicare Advantage patients more frequent contact with their primary care physicians to prevent or delay complications of chronic conditions.

Dr. Chris Chen, ChenMed CEO, left, speaking with Dr. Leonard Fromer, Turner Impact Capital’s president of healthcare initiatives

There are walk-in appointments, and patients have their doctor’s cell phone number for immediate attention, said Dr. Christopher Chen, CEO.

ChenMed physicians spend 189 minutes face-to-face with each patient annually, which is nine times the national average. ChenMed patients have 50 percent fewer hospital admissions, 28 percent lower total cost of care and 41 percent higher preventative medication use, according to the September 2018 American Journal of Managed Care. Emergency room admissions for ChenMed patients are 34 percent lower than the national average among Medicare beneficiaries.

The focus on prevention makes sense from an investor viewpoint, because Medicare is moving away from its historic reimbursement model of paying on a per-visit basis and moving towards a model that reimburses based on outcomes. By 2025, 70 percent of reimbursements will be outcome-based, Turner said.

He has three ways of measuring success:

One is financial, driving risk-adjusted returns to investors.

The second is environmental impact, building facilities that reduce water consumption and carbon footprints.

The third is impact on the community, both directly and indirectly. The six Dedicated Senior Medical Centers that Turner and ChenMed partnered on serve 14,000 patients.

He also expects the centers to bring change to the neighborhoods in which they are located. Turner cited a separate investment in a charter school in one of the most crime-ridden areas of Washington, D.C. A year after that school opened, violent crime fell by 40 percent at the housing project across the street, he said.

“When a community that has been deprived of external investment then sees they are worthy of investment, they begin to hold themselves accountable for the actions of their community,” he said.

The grand opening of the Dedicated Senior Medical Center in North Tampa.

The Dedicated Senior Medical Centers are too new to measure their community impact, he said.

Turner Impact Capital was founded in 2014, and is on course to surpass $3 billion in investment. It has funds focused on workforce housing and education, in addition to the healthcare fund, which is positioned to invest up to $500 million in healthcare facilities focused on primary care, transitional care, ambulatory care and other specialties.

ChenMed has said it will invest $200 million in the Tampa Bay area.

“I hope to partner with them for the next decade as they make meaningful, sustainable and scalable changes,” Turner said.

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