A new medical firm has opened in the District to meet the medical needs of seniors who primarily reside east of the Anacostia River in the District and in central Prince George’s County.
Bluerock Care, starting operations in March, functions as a for-profit company located on the second floor of The Shops at Penn Branch off of Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Dr. Marc Berg, the CEO and founder of Bluerock, stated why setting up in a neighborhood east of the Anacostia River was intentional.
“Seniors who live in this area are a market that is untapped,” Berg said. “We saw an opportunity because no one is rushing to provide medical services over here. But there is a need here. Many times, people who live here have to go to places like the George Washington University for medical services but that is difficult because some seniors have to get on three buses to get there and other hospitals in other parts of town.”
Berg said most of his patients are in the Medicare program, the federal comprehensive health care program for people 65 and older.
Bluerock has emerged at a time when Wards 7 and 8 have only one full-service hospital, the United Medical Center, a population of about 150,000 people. The Health Equity Report for the District of Columbia 2018 reported the life expectancy of a Ward 3 resident comes out to 87.6 years in contrast to a Ward 8 dweller who lives 72.8 years.
Berg said setting up east of the river will give his firm the chance to improve the health outcomes of African American seniors who tend to suffer higher rates of diabetes and hypertension than whites and often have to travel farther to go visit a physician due to the lack of a strong transportation network compared to the city’s neighborhoods west of the river.
Berg said Bluerock patients won’t have to come to their offices to be served.
“We will come to you,” he said. “We offer telehealth which is talking with our patients by teleconference while they are at home. Also, we offer home visits to patients so they can be served and not have to come to our waiting room. When you make an appointment to come to our office, we will honor it.”
Dr. Alka Gupta, co-founder and chief medical officer of Bluerock, said her firm uses technology to treat patients so they won’t have to leave their homes.
“Working with a patient, we can get their blood pressure, glucose and sugar readings through the technology we give them,” she said. “When the patients perform the tests, the information comes to our system and we can analyze it and advise them on what’s next.”
Lamont Mitchell, chairman of the Anacostia Coordinating Council, said his organization has been working with Bluerock since the fall of 2020. He said Bluerock has worked with ACC on coronavirus testing, administering flu shots and supplying PPEs. Mitchell, a patient of Bluerock, said the firm has the chance to make a difference where it is needed.
“They have a proactive approach to medicine,” Mitchell said. “This is a good thing for many people in this area where often the emergency room becomes the first appointment they have had.”