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Transforming Care for the Neediest Populations
Episode

Dr. Christopher Chen, Chief Executive Officer of ChenMed

Transforming Care for the Neediest Populations

Community factors affect both health and life expectancy. Today, a better neighborhood means a better and longer life; this problem needs to be fixed, but it’s challenging to navigate in a complex healthcare system. 

Today, we are privileged to feature the outstanding Christopher Chen, CEO of ChenMed,  a physician practice that aims to bring concierge-style medicine and better health outcomes to the neediest populations. Chris shares how ChenMed is revolutionizing the healthcare delivery system by providing accountable, compassionate, and coordinated primary care. He also discusses the need to equalize the massive disparities in the industry.

Chen is showing America that there is a better way to deliver better outcomes, improve the health of a community, equalize disparities and lower the total cost of health care.

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Transforming Care for the Neediest Populations

About  Christopher Chen

Dr. Chris Chen is Chief Executive Officer of ChenMed, a premier physician-led, technology-enabled healthcare organization. A champion for equitable health outcomes, ChenMed is transforming the care of underserved, overlooked seniors.

Dr. Chen is a bold innovator leading a revolution in healthcare through a global full-risk model, custom-designed physician training programs, and a proprietary technology platform purpose-built for value-based care. He has led ChenMed to remarkable outcomes – equalized health inequities, 30-50% fewer hospitalizations, and high net promoter scores.

Since becoming ChenMed’s CEO in 2009, Dr. Chen has built the decades-old, highly successful ChenMed model into a scalable organization spanning dozens of cities across many states.

ChenMed’s unique approach, proprietary technological capabilities, and results have led it to be named to Newsweek’s “Most Loved Workplaces” list, Fortune Magazine’s “Change the World” list, as well as earning recognition by the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.K. National Health System. ChenMed has also been featured in publications such as Modern Healthcare, Health Affairs, Forbes, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, New England Journal of Medicine, The Guardian, and Medical Economics – named ChenMed, “Best Primary Care System in the U.S.”

Under Dr. Chen’s leadership, ChenMed has also won multiple best places to work awards, including being certified a “Great Place to Work®” by the Great Place to Work Institute in 2021 and honored as the only primary care medical practice on the IDG Insider Pro and Computerworld “Best Place to Work in IT” list.

Brought up in South Florida, Dr. Chen graduated from the University of Miami’s Honors Program in Medicine. He completed his medical training at Beth Israel Deaconess, a Harvard University teaching hospital. He completed a fellowship in cardiology at Cornell University Medical College in Manhattan, New York. Dr. Chen, a board-certified cardiologist, sees patients at Miami Gardens’ Florida medical center.

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Transforming Care for the Neediest Populations with Dr. Christopher Chen, Chief Executive Officer of ChenMed: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Transforming Care for the Neediest Populations with Dr. Christopher Chen, Chief Executive Officer of ChenMed: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
Hey everybody! Saul Marquez here with the Outcomes Rocket. I just want to welcome you back to the show. Today, I have the privilege of hosting the outstanding Dr. Christopher Chen. He is The CEO of ChenMed, a physician-practice that aims to bring concierge style medicine and better health outcomes to the neediest populations. Low income seniors managing multiple chronic conditions as their sweet spot, Dr. Chen oversees ChenMed’s operations throughout its senior medical centers throughout the southeastern United States and Chicago, as well as its portfolio of affiliated primary care practices and groups. He was raised in South Florida, home of ChenMed’s headquarters. He graduated from the University of Miami’s Honors Program in Medicine. Then Dr. Chan went to complete his medical training at Beth Israel Deaconess, a major Harvard University teaching hospital. Among other accomplishments in his career, he’s brought these valuable skills to ChenMed, where he served as CEO since 2009. And under his leadership, ChenMed has grown from four senior medical centers in Florida in 2010 to the fifty nine it operates across eight states in the U.S. today. The innovative model that they’re leading here is really looking at so many benefits not only to patients, but also the physicians practicing within their practices. So, Dr. Chen, such an incredible pleasure to have you here with us today.

Christopher Chen:
Saul, it’s great to be here and I know that as we continue to grow so rapidly, I think that number is going to be close to one hundred medical centers in 12 states by the end of the year. So we’re certainly excited, but we’ll get into that shortly about why we have to grow so fast.

Saul Marquez:
It’s just amazing. Amazing. And you know, Chris, I’ve had conversations with so many physicians that are struggling. You know that they’re feeling burned out, that the joy from their work has been stripped away and then at the same time, chatting with patients that also feel the same way, that their physician doesn’t have time for them, that they’re charting, you know, doing stuff in the EMR. Lots of great stuff to cover here, but definitely want to make sure that I give you the opportunity to take this where you want to take it. But before we do, tell us what inspires your work and the work of ChenMed in health care.

Christopher Chen:
Yeah, Saul. You know, what we’ve discovered is that there’s just too many people who can’t get what they deserve. You know, not only do we spend more than any other country in terms of health care, we get less for it. And then just to make matters worse, there’s a compounding problem where we also have widening disparities in this country. I just give you an example. In every single zip code that we’re in today, if you take some of the most underserved neighborhoods and you compare them with some of the wealthiest neighborhoods, you will find a 20 to 30 year life expectancy difference. You know, it goes back to that, there’s a scene in Jerry Maguire at the very beginning when she says, you know, a first class seat used to just mean you got a better seat, right? But now it means you have a better life. Well, turns out that if you live in the right neighborhood, you actually not only get a better seat, not only you get a better life, but you actually get more life, about 20 to 30 years more of life. And so, you know, that is something that needs to be fixed. And the problem is our system is just so hard to navigate. You know, as a family of doctors, when my dad had cancer, when I had COVID, we got an opportunity to really experience what it was to be on the opposite side of the glass and it’s a broken system. And so by us bringing this sort of concierge VIP care model into the depths of some of the most troubling and underserved neighborhoods with the greatest needs, what we are aiming to do is to try and go straight at equalizing these massive disparities. And we’ve got to show folks in America that there’s a better way to delivering better health as opposed to just continuing on this unaffordable mess that we’ve created.

Saul Marquez:
Well said. Well said, Dr. Chan. And there is a huge gap. And big Jerry Maguire fan, love that movie, and great analogy. Extended life and those extra years. That disparity doesn’t have to exist. So let’s zoom into ChenMed. How are you and the business and the people that you lead in this business adding value to the health care ecosystem, right?

Christopher Chen:
Well, you know, we have the same and ChenMed it’s our vision and we say everyone wins when we achieve our vision. And our vision is to be America’s leading primary care provider and we transform care to the neediest populations. That’s our vision. And so what that requires of us is that we have got to go straight into these neighborhoods and we’ve got to deliver great results. So let me just share this with you. The existing system today is built on something called fee-for-service. I like to call that trophies for trying. You know, I have four young kids. Actually, they used to be younger. Now my youngest is 10, and they all play soccer when they’re young. They kick the ball on their own goal. They lose every single game and you know, they get at the end of the season. What do they get?

Saul Marquez:
Trophy

Christopher Chen:
They get a trophy, you got it right out of my mouth. But when they turn about eight or nine, you say listen, you can’t get a trophy anymore for losing every game because that’s not the way the world works. The world works is you get a trophy, yyou get a gold medal the Olympics for winning, and that’s a result. Well, unfortunately, every single person makes that transition unless you’re in health care. See, if you’re in health care, you win by showing up. And actually, in some cases, you may even win more when population is winning less. Let me let me give you an example about that. The existing model today is if there’s more COVID, if there’s more heart attacks, there’s more strokes, if there’s more people in the burn unit, that system makes more money. They financially win. We get more trophies when the population does worse. If a surgeon has a complication, guess what the surgeon gets the, you know, the trophy for doing the operation, maybe even making a mistake and then gets another trophy for fixing that. So you might even get two trophies. And so we have this massive sort of mal-alignment between what customers want, what patients want, and how the existing health care system wins. At ChenMed, we only get paid when we have better outcomes. And so what are some of those outcomes? So you ask, what are we doing for patients? Well, first of all, we are trying to make people healthier and how we measure that by substantially reducing preventable, catastrophic admissions, heart failure missions. We tried to reduce admissions. So one of the leading admissions, I’ll just give an example was heart failure. You all know that the number one cause of death in America today is heart disease. And we study this and we believe that heart failure, the number one or number two cause of admission in every single city in America today is about 90 percent preventable. Can you believe that? And we have evidence the supports that we are reducing those heart failure emissions by 70 to 80, in some cases, 90 percent. And that would fancy procedures and technologies and all kinds of things like that. We are doing it with good old fashioned bread and butter, great concierge primary care. What’s bizarre to me is that, you know, you’d mentioned that I had gone to do my medical training at one of the Harvard hospitals, did my cardiac training at one of the Cornell, one of the top leading cardiac organizations in the world today. I left with the equivalent of five board certifications in cardiac and vascular diseases. And guess what? I did not know how to prevent heart failure admissions, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. But in addition to substantially reducing heart failure missions, we reduced hospitalization rates by 30 to 50 percent. We beat all the industry benchmarks for patient satisfaction when the top decile for quality and for patient satisfaction or ER visits. And let me give you give you one last bit of information about COVID, because right now we’re dealing with COVID.

Saul Marquez:
Right.

Christopher Chen:
Know that COVID kills the old predominantly. It kills people with multiple chronic conditions, so those are patients, and it actually primarily kills minorities. There is data out there that suggests that minority patients that have Medicare have a substantially increased risk of being hospitalized and dying of COVID. It’s about double the risk. But our patients that are predominantly African-American and minorities, almost over 80 percent of our patients are actually minorities of some nature, have actually roughly the same risk as Caucasians and people who are a lot healthier. So we’re able to equalize that massive disparity. Dual eligibles, right? These are patients with Medicare and Medicaid. They actually have almost two and a half times risk of dying in hospitalizations from COVID. And what we’ve done is we’ve actually reduce that disparity by over 70 percent. And so being able to drive better outcomes, which is a result, not that we’re trying, we’re actually delivering that better result. Being able to do that in some of the most underserved populations and neighborhoods. And as a result, our doctors, our nurses, our staff, they have a much lower burnout rate. Why? Is it work easier? No, the work is not easier. Are they working less? It’s not less. What they get that they don’t get any existing fee-for-service environment or working for a hospital system is purpose. They get purpose. They’re making a difference. They’re not just going to work every day, building like crazy and watching the health outcomes for our country continue to drop, which it has been over the last five years and continue to get more expensive. They feel like they’re part of the solution as opposed to being part of the problem.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s fantastic. And I’ve never heard of fee-for-service as trophies for trying. I think the again, the analogy there is spot on. Trophies for trying. Wow, I’m sure you guys are listening to this and you’re like, Oh, that was good, I’m using that one. I am too.

Christopher Chen:
You just have to show up and you and you get a trophy, right? So how about showing up and getting a result? And that’s really what patients need.

Saul Marquez:
It’s about results. Certainly is. And so, Chris, tell us about the model. So, you know, one of the biggest obstacles to the underserved is, you know, really what it takes to pay for it. Right? And so are you guys working primarily in a Medicaid model? Tell us a little bit about the reimbursement strategy and how you’re actually getting these patients that need these results the results that you’re giving them.

Christopher Chen:
So we’re a primary group and we take something called global capitation. That means all upside full downside for one hundred percent of all health care costs, not just professional fees, not just the drugs, not just the hospitalizations, all in full upside, full downside. And being fully capitated allows us to invest very aggressively on the front end on prevention for our population because we can decide how money is spent. And here’s our model. It’s very simple. We’re going to spend a lot more in primary care in the neighborhoods that we serve. The data has come out. Recently, the Journal of American Medical Association demonstrated that there is far less access and far less spent on primary care in these underserved communities, but they spent a lot more on acute care. And so there’s this adage in certain neighborhoods in America today where you have this massive life expectancy difference, guess who a lot of the primary care is for these underserved communities? The emergency room. The Emergency room hospital. I just talked to someone today who said, yeah, their family practitioner is the emergency room for that portion of the population, and it’s not a surprise that they have such horrible outcomes. So here’s what we do. We try to right that wrong. We take our globally capitated premium and we provide patients with concierge medicine on steroids. The typical doctor in our community has a three thousand to one ratio for primary care. Our patients have four hundred and one. The typical concierge medicine that CEOs get is 600. So we do even better than the typical concierge medicine that the CEO gets and we give our cell phone numbers to all the patients. We offer door to doctor transportation. We offer holistic care in terms of acupuncture. We bring specialists on site. We deliver medications on site so patients don’t go then to another location to get their medications. We try to make it easy. We have social events on site prior to COVID, right? And Tai chi classes, Zoom classes. We teach nutrition. We teach them how to improve their lifestyles and behaviors so we can improve their health and lower admission rates. So let’s just do the math. If I can spend that much more on primary care, but the goal is to reduce these catastrophic admissions by 50 percent, well the number one cost for this population is actually hospitalizations. And if I can figure out a way to reduce that by 50 percent, there’s going to be tremendous surplus, which then allows me to take that savings and then reinvest it again on delivering amazing primary care for that needy population and you create this virtuous cycle. Right? So great primary care reduces admit rates and rates are really expensive. And by the way, there’s also pre costs that you incur in patient, and there’s also post-acute costs that when you get admitted. There’s all of this cost that comes from these catastrophic events of falling or breaking your hip or getting admitted for heart failure admissions. We can cut that down substantially. That then goes and allows us to grow that model and then invest in primary care and substantially improve the outcomes of our patients. And we are today equalizing those disparities using that model. We only take Medicare Advantage today waiting for the government to create their own direct primary care contracting and make it much more available. But as of today, we work primarily 100 percent for Medicare Advantage programs through Medicare Advantage Plans, and today our addressable market share is the patients who qualify for Medicare Advantage.

Saul Marquez:
Got it! Fascinating. And are you guys playing in the acute care space or do you refer that stuff out?

Christopher Chen:
You know, it’s interesting. We don’t provide acute care, so we have decided to not follow in the footsteps of Kaiser by owning hospitals. We believe that we can make such an impact on the prevention of it that we can make the economics work and deliver just really great outcomes. Now what we do get involved is we do have hospitals in many of the markets that we’re in that will actually go into the hospitals to ensure that the care is coordinated. So that when discharge is coordinated, that way, the patients have lower length of stay because the longer you stay, the longer you stay. Right? Hospital errors and in-hospital complications is the number three cause of death in America today. So we really want to avoid that first. But if you cannot avoid getting into the hospital, which you cannot avoid them all, we believe that we reduced them by about 50 percent. We want to make that stay as efficient for everybody involved and as coordinated for everybody involved.

Saul Marquez:
So you’re working with the hospitals on some of their 30 day readmit areas, I would imagine. Is that where you guys?

Christopher Chen:
That’s where we have tremendous alignment, right? So we’re trying to substantially reduce remit rates. That’s first of all, we’re trying to lower the length of stay. So hospitals who predominantly ERG payment system, they really enjoyed because we actually cut down their length of stay and make it more efficient. And the other thing, too. Hospitals are beginning to enjoy us. You would think, Chris, the hospitals hate you and I go initially, that used to be the case hospitals to see us as a major threat. Right? Had one large hospital system that we first started growing and said, How dare you come into our city? How dare you come in here? We know what you do? We know you’re trying to reduce hospitalization rates. And I said yes, but it’s good for people. But now they actually are enjoying this. And here’s the reason. They’re discovering that the majority of their profitability doesn’t come from preventable admissions like heart failure and medical admissions. It comes from elective cases. So I get to tell hospitals these days, I said, listen, hospitals, you still get to make money. We’re going to help patients live longer. When they live longer, guess what? They need those elective cases of hips and knees and and all kinds of different procedures that could potentially help them live longer. So we actually can actually help you and we can actually reduce these like medical admissions, of which most of the time you even lose money on it.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, it’s a good volume versus bad volume, right? You’re cleaning it up, right?

Christopher Chen:
And of course, it really depends on which hospital system you’re talking about. So if they already have, they’re already at capacity. They want good volume. They want that those elective cases, which we can help drive because our patients live longer, we have far more preventative services. If they’re predominantly making their money in sort of medical admissions and they figured out how to do that. And that’s the majority of their volume and they’re not at capacity, they tend to not appreciate us lowering hospitalization rates and improving the health of the community.

Saul Marquez:
Wow, that is fascinating. And then how about you mentioned the example of like those vertically integrated, you know, provider systems, Kaiser, UPMC, et cetera. How do you guys work in those areas? Or maybe you don’t?

Christopher Chen:
Well, today we are in the mid-Atlantic. We really enjoy Kaiser’s methodology. We actually have a lot of people that join us from Kaiser, and Kaiser is a beautiful system. The problem isthat and what we’re being told is people are joining us from Kaiser. It’s such a great system, but it really unfortunately isn’t relevant for the whole country. They do a great job on where they are, but they haven’t really been able to scale and and we scale. I mean, we are in twenty four cities in America today. Over the next 18 months, we believe that we can add on another twenty four cities. We don’t need to buy a hospital. We don’t need to be fully vertically integrated to make this work. We just have to have fantastic primary care and then we offer some key specialties on top of that to make the model work. And we’ve been able to replicate these results, the ones that we originally had in South Florida. We’ve been able to replicated in every single city that we’re in today and do it effectively. Today, you’re seeing a large number of companies, many of which have gone public, that are replicating pieces of our results and seeing great success. And you know, you said, Chris, how do you feel about your competition? Saul, it’s awesome. It’s wonderful because in reality, the market is so big. The need is so great. We need over one hundred ChenMeds to get launched in the next three to five years to even make a dent in the need and the massive disparities and inequities that we have in health care today. So please, if you’re out there and you want to create our competition, please do.

Saul Marquez:
We need it.

Christopher Chen:
We can’t do this alone. Right? The more who join this journey into value and getting trophies for outcomes as opposed to trophies for trying.

Saul Marquez:
Man, I love that and we’ve covered organically really a lot of the questions that we usually go through these interviews, Chris. Doing it differently. I mean, it’s clear. What about outcomes, right? I mean, you pointed to a couple, but if you had to crystallize maybe two or three that you feel over and over again, you guys are just hitting them out of the park?

Christopher Chen:
Right, first and foremost, we exist to transform care of the neediest populations. That’s in our vision. Our mission is we want our seniors with affordable VIP care that delivers better health and both of those, I am stating a result. We must transform care for the neediest populations. So we must equalize these massive inequities and disparities. And number two, we must deliver better health. That is not a try. That is a result. We measure delivering better health and transforming the care first and foremost by decreasing this big problem that we talked about, which is acute care cannot be the primary care source for these populations. This is why we believe this population is doing so poorly, so we must reduce hospitalization rates. We must do it. And every doctor that starts with us every morning on Monday morning, every Monday morning, I orient all the new employees and the doctors are part of that. And this is what I tell them. The entire health care system today celebrates when populations are sicker. They financially celebrate when populations are sicker. We will not celebrate that. In fact, we exist to make the population healthier, and we measure that by a reduction of preventable admissions. We prevent those things. Ok? I tell them this is the hardest job you’ve ever had because you are taking on something that is twice the size of Russia. See, what do I mean by that? Health care?

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. What do you mean?

Christopher Chen:
I’m curious. Health care is a three point eight trillion dollar business. It’s one fifth of the U.S. economy. About three point eight trillion in a world of health care is twice the size of Russia. Go look at it. Go look at the GDP of Russia, and you’ll find that U.S. Health care is double that size.

Saul Marquez:
Insane.

Christopher Chen:
So every day, when you’re trying to transform care and you’re trying to help enhance the health of a population, whereas everybody else is enjoying the degradation of the health of the population, you’re taking on something that’s twice the size of Russia. And in the end of the day, change is scariest for those who are in power and who’s in power. And every single U.S. city in America today, either the number one or number two voting entity and the number one or number two largest business in every single city in America today is these large integrated delivery systems. They are in power today. They are the largest portion of this business that actually wins when populations are less healthy. And so they’re going to be disrupted and they need to be disrupted. And the problem is, you know, you can’t expect taxi companies to disrupt themselves. You need at Uber to come in and you needed Lyft to come in to disrupt them. You could not expect car companies to make this massive push into electric cars or electric power. You needed the government to sort of facilitate that and incentivize it. You needed both companies to take it on and they got transformed from the outside in. That’s what our goal is. Our dream, our goal is to bring down hospitalization rates. Show America that there is a better way to deliver better outcomes, improve the health of a community, equalize these disparities and lower the total cost of health care. And we’re demonstrating it every day. It’s no longer a theory. It’s a fact. So now what we need to do is we need to grow faster. We need more people to join this fight, to show and to demonstrate that this is the way and any other way is actually immoral. I mean, if you know that you can extend life by five or seven years or you could equalize disparities or you can reduce hospitalization rates, or you can reduce COVID mortality rates, or you can reduce six month cancer survival rates. If you knew that you could do that, you need to figure out ways to grow faster and that’s what it’s doing today. We have been growing over the last nine years at a CAGR of around 30 to 40 percent. We’re going to test 40 to 50 percent this year next year when it gets 50 to 60. Because we are so technie, people will realize actually that we’re actually a tech company that runs clinics. So, you know, our tech company just won best place to work through IBM for midsize tech companies. So but essentially, we are going to utilize that tech. I want to say how fast we can grow, but even if we grow at 50, 60 or 70 percent CAGR, tt’s still not enough. You still need one hundred ChenMeds out there and meet to 10 minutes to go ahead and disrupt what is, quite frankly, the largest industry in the world today.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, wow, that’s awesome. And it’s such a powerful vision, Chris, that it moves. I mean, it moves us. I know it moved me when you shared it, and I know the listeners are probably also moved by it and hopefully encourage to do something about it. And so talk to us about setbacks. We often learn more about setbacks than successes. What’s one that you guys have experienced and a key learning that’s made you all even better?

Christopher Chen:
Wow. You know, one of my personal biggest setbacks. I hope you don’t mind if I sort of tell a personal story here.

Saul Marquez:
Now, please? Yeah.

Christopher Chen:
Know when COVID was first starting in 2019 at the end of June, I got COVID. And I remember, you know, I actually published my experience. And you know what? I titled it, it’s actually you can google it. It’s Dying in Solitary Confinement. Hmm. That’s what I titled it. And I still remember the morning that I got sick, I told my assistant that I was officially in race shape for Triathlons. I like to do triathlons and of course, that night at I had 103 fever, a week later, I was in the intensive care unit fighting for my life and spent close to a week there, slowly losing my lung volumes, my ability to provide oxygen to my body, really suffering. I had the opportunity. This will probably be one of the most difficult things that I’ve gone through and was a setback, but will end up being one of the greatest experiences that I went through. And there’s a reason why? First of all, I had everything stripped away from me. Everything stripped away from me, even my body. And it was by myself. I couldn’t see my family. I didn’t know that when my wife dropped me off at the hospital, that was good, potentially the last time I’m going to see her in person again. And my children did not know that. And so to be able to experience what it is to be a patient. And have everything taken away from you was very powerful now. I was very fortunate that I recovered and I got everything given back to me and I believe I got all my health, give it back to me and my family given back to me and my opportunity to lead and make a difference given back to me. And that was really powerful. And it was just me and my God sitting in that intensive care unit and you get the test, whether or not what you think you believe is really what you believe in terms of faith and everything else. So that was number one. Number two, being able to experience health care from the other side is really powerful. I got to see how horrible it is. I had a beautiful people taking care of me, but it was so uncoordinated. I had every chief you can imagine working on me, and none of them were talking to each other.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Christopher Chen:
It was highly uncoordinated and highly inefficient, and there’s a lot of suffering. So the first thing that I came out thinking was, we must I’m even more passionate today about having people avoid that. Thank goodness there was a hospital there to save my life with great people. But that shouldn’t be the majority of health care. That should be the minority of health care. And the less that we need of that, the better. Less that we needed it, the better. You know, the third thing that I took from this is really, you know, the great equalizer of being sick. Doesn’t matter what your background is. Doesn’t matter the color of your skin at that point. When you are when you’re dying, we’re all the same. We’re all the same. And, you know, I just laid there and I said, you know what? This disease does not care who I am, does not care what I’ve done, does not care my upbringing, doesn’t care for the first decade of our lives, our family experience, EP poverty was even homeless for a time. Doesn’t care that we had this amazing heart for mission work, which is where I met my wife and and where my brother met his wife was on the mission field in Nicaragua. They don’t care about that. All the things that you’ve done in life or you haven’t done in life, it doesn’t matter because sickness can get you all. And so, you know, we are now very passionate about figuring out ways to fundamentally go after disease and good hands help because nobody should experience what I experienced. And unfortunately, many will.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, we’re really appreciate you sharing that story, Chris. And the contrast you know of from not having to having, getting it back, just like heart and gut wrenching and so many people that we love have gone through that. Maybe, maybe you’ve gone through that listening to this right now, and there’s no need for us to continue giving trophies for trying. And so, Dr. Chen, what are you most excited about today?

Christopher Chen:
Yeah, I’m most excited about the future. We’re at the very beginning of this massive push to trophies for outcomes. And we understand that there’s going to be so much, you know, so many barriers. There’s going to be so much fear. There’s going to be the largest businesses in America today trying to fight it. But here’s one thing I know. The human spirit is very powerful, and now that people know that it can be done, the human spirit can rise above it and continue to innovate and disrupt. Every year, every other year, there are new things coming out, new things scaling out. And so there are those who will try to protect the status quo and those who protect the status quo. The future is clear. One hundred percent of the time, those who try to protect the status quo in this country, they eventually get disrupted. And that provides tremendous hope, that it provides tremendous hope for those who rely on our health care system. That provides tremendous hope for those working in the existing health care system. They’re very unhappy. They’re burning out, not because they’re working too hard. Our doctors work harder. They’re burning up because they don’t have purpose. And it gives them hope. It gives hope to America because the number one cost in America today is health care, and we’ve got to figure out a way to actually improve that cost while we’re improving the health of our communities. And it provides tremendous hope to those neighborhoods that we’re watching them and their life expectancy continue to decline. And there is a massive boom. It’s coming of people like us, people who decide to join us, companies like us, partnering companies who are trying to make a difference and going after this massive inequity. Eventually, we’re going to make a dent and we’re going to make a difference. So I would just encourage everybody to have courage, have courage. If you are a policymaker and you’re hearing this, you’re going to get a lot of pressure, a lot of lobbying power to keep the status quo. If you’re in a business today in health care, know that there is help coming along the way, that there are better models out there that can transform care. If you’re in a hospital system today, we still need you. You will always need you. Be better at what you do well. But please do not stand in the way of delivering better outcomes, and please do not stand in the way of equalizing disparities. Please don’t do that. And in the end, something beautiful is happening.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, you know, and I totally agree with you, Dr. Chen. I think the the seed of hope and the seed of possibility is a great one that you’ve planted with all of us today and with the work that you and and the mission-driven team you’ve put together at ChenMed, backed by the amazing technology you guys are putting together. I think the future of American health care is better, and I’m excited to hear about you guys going beyond Medicare Advantage because I think there’s more to be done on that front. And so today I just want to thank you. I want to thank you for coming on with us. It’s ChenMed.com everybody. And Chris, by the way, is there anywhere else that you would recommend people go visit or learn more about you guys besides the website?

Christopher Chen:
Sure. You know, I like to write a lot of stuff, and I post it very frequently on LinkedIn. On Twitter. LinkedIn is probably easier if we get all those nice blogs and just sort of, you know, it can inspire folks that just think a little differently and kind of pull them out of the status quo and give them an alternative that works so well.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. So we’ll go ahead and put Dr. Chen’s LinkedIn profile there. So you could follow him on LinkedIn, follow ChenMed and change the perspective here because we’re going to give trophies for outcomes now. Dr. Chen, thank you so much for your time today. This is fun.

Christopher Chen:
Thanks, Saul. Great to be here.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • If you live in the right neighborhood, you get a better life, but you actually get more life, about 20 to 30 years more of life.
  • Minority patients have an increased risk of being hospitalized and dying of COVID. 
  • Sickness is a great equalizer. 
  • For healthcare business owners, help is coming along the way. 
  • Those who try to protect the status quo eventually get disrupted.
  • Figure out a way to improve that cost while improving the health of communities.
  • There are better models out there that can transform care.
  • Hospital systems need to be better at what they do well. 

 

Resources