Cano Health comes to Brownsville

The newly built Cano Health is pictured Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, on Central Boulevard. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

A fast-growing national company specializing in primary care for seniors now has a location in Brownsville.

An exam room for plasma treatments is pictured Wednesday at Cano Health.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

Cano Health LLC, founded in 2009 and headquartered in Miami, Fla., has opened a location at 1454 Central Blvd. in the space formerly occupied by CVS pharmacy. It’s one of 11 locations to open in the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio since 2020, according to the company’s chief financial officer, Brian Koppy, who said the focus is on meeting unmet needs in under-served communities by providing primary healthcare “all wrapped around access, wellness and quality.”

The company started with a single location in Florida and today has 130 sites and physicians in six states and affiliate physicians in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico, he said, noting that Medicare recipients are Cano Health’s primary market. Koppy said the company partners with insurance companies to help grow in under-served markets, and that Humana is a major partner in Texas.

Cano Health’s primary care centers, like those recently launched in the Valley, are centered around primary-care physicians and practice what the company calls “high-touch population health management,” he said.

“That includes prescription home delivery, various wellness programs, transition of care,” Koppy said. “We have high-risk and complex-care management, tele-health —all those services that you can wrap around primary care. We have a healthy heart program by Dr. Juan (Rivera). All programs that are aligned to meet the primary care needs of our members.”

Many of the patients enrolling with Cano Health in under-served communities haven’t seen a doctor for years, and the company’s health-management approach strives for a high degree of patient engagement, Koppy said. It’s not merely about making the services available but encouraging members to take advantage of them, he said.

Koppy said that on average the company’s members/patients come in eight times a year to see a doctor, but there are many more opportunities for engagement throughout the year.

Individual dental consultation rooms are set up along a hall way Wednesday at Cano Health.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

“Through all the various social, fitness and wellness activities, our members will come in another 12 times a year to these medical centers,” he said. “So that’s more than 20 visits a year, nearly twice a month, for our members to come into our medical centers. So they really become health community centers, where it’s not just about coming in when you’re feeling sick or you have bad knee or a bad back.”

The centers also serve as a place where seniors looking for ways to stay active can come in for physiotherapy, play backgammon, do arts and crafts, chair yoga and so on, Koppy said. Cano Health provides transportation to and from its centers for members, he said.

“We find our drivers are a great brand ambassador for us,” Koppy said. “They really develop strong relationships with many of our members.”

For patients with incurable diseases, it’s about managing care so those patients can live healthier and happier lives with less pain, he said.

Cano Health centers in the Valley accept Medicare Advantage plans from payers such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Centene, Cigna and Prominence Health Plan, with Humana coming soon. No patient is ever turned away for care, though the Valley centers are not currently accepting Medicaid plans, according to the company.

Inc. magazine in 2020 named Cano Health the fastest growing primary-care provider in the United States for the second consecutive year. Koppy said the company intends to keep growing its footprint in the Valley and elsewhere, which means expect to see more Cano Health primary care centers.

“We believe that in order for us to be effective in the markets that we’re in we want to build scale and density,” he said. “That gives us more access points for our members but it also leverages our overall economies of scale as we move into a market.

“We continue to believe the Rio Grande Valley is an excellent market for us to continue to grow in, and for the rest of Texas as well, we like the markets we’re in. We’re going to continue to expand (in those markets) as well as find new markets throughout Texas. We’re right now looking for new locations for expansion.”