Director of Health and Human Services Visits CHEMED
Jackie Cornell-Bechelli, New Jersey director of Health and Human Services, Region II, recently met with officials at CHEMED, (The Center for Health Education, Medicine and Dentistry), a federally qualified health care center, 1771 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, to tour the facility and gather information about the health care issues facing Lakewood residents.
Dr. Dovid Friedman, CEO of CHEMED, said, “Our meeting with Jackie Cornell-Bechelli was very productive. She seemed focused on helping us solve issues and working together as a team to better service the entire patient.”
Other officials present to answer questions included Senator Robert W. Singer, Lakewood Mayor Menashe Miller, and CHEMED officials Dr. Aryeh Farkas, CMO; Mark Berkowitz, COO; Chedva Werblowsky, director of strategic planning and compliance; Yaacov Schwartz, project manager; and Daniel Meltzer, special programs and social services for CHEMED and the LRRC (Lakewood Resource and Referral Center).
Dr. Tonya Pagan Raggio-Ashley, chief medical officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Jo-Ann Ayres, RN, M.Ed., and Linda Barren from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services also attended.
Dr. Friedman noted that CHEMED doctors and staff pride themselves on being a one-stop center for health and medical issues that also focuses on education and prevention. It is significant that CHEMED has grown along with the surge in population to service all population groups.
The departments, all in one building, include a pharmacy, internal medicine, pediatrics and pediatric specialty, dental, psychiatric services, specialty cares such as endocrinology, behavioral health, women’s health, social services, and ob-gyn, which recently opened. The radiology department will be opening in the coming months.
Dr. Friedman said, “Since the last census, Lakewood, the youngest municipality in the state, has jumped from 23rd place to become the seventh largest municipality in the state, with about 5,000 births a year. We are striving to cover the uninsured, but a lot of education and services are necessary.”
Senator Singer also pointed out that 26,000 children attend school in Lakewood – 20,000 in private schools and 6,000 in public schools. About 26,000 undocumented individuals reside in Lakewood, necessitating a lot of charity care.
One of the major problems facing CHEMED and other health care providers are backlogs on the state and national levels. Director Cornell-Bechelli is optimistic that both are moving forward.
Cornell-Bechelli said, “Last year in New Jersey, we had 161,000 individuals in Marketplace plans; over 400,000 individuals on FamilyCare, the extension of Medicaid. We’re optimistic that will keep increasing this go-around. In the first eight hours when healthcare.gov went live, 23,000 people across the country purchased plans between 1:00 a.m. to 9:00 in the morning.
“Think about that—in the middle of the night 23,000 of people across the country purchased plans. It shows you the desire, and we have the benefit of knowing that seven million people are happy with it and are re-enrolling, getting their family and their friends involved. So we’re optimistic we are going to have a good enrollment. There are a lot more options, a lot more competition, and a lot more plans. The website is working as are the new window-shopping tool that lets people see what is available.”
Cornell-Bechelli said, “I am grateful to have you (CHEMED) as a partner. You are a trusted provider when someone gets sick, when someone has a confusing or complicated decision to make. Having that relationship is really key.”
Dr. Friedman said, “We all have a common goal at the end of day – encompassing health care and easy access.”
About CHEMED: CHEMED provides comprehensive health and medical services, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, and dentistry, among other fields, all in one building. Uninsured and underinsured patients will be seen on a sliding-fee scale. To make an appointment, call 732-364-6666.
CHEMED Mission Statement: To provide a comprehensive, integrated system of health care to optimize the physical and mental well-being of individuals and families in our community by delivering outstanding health education, preventative, and treatment services.