New health portal comes to Plattsburgh

ROBIN CAUDELL/STAFF PHOTO Capital District Physicians' Health Plan President and CEO Dr. John Bennett speaks at the recent grand opening of the health plan's Plattsburgh office located at 24 Margaret St as New York Assemblyman Billy Jones (right) Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman and Regional Director Joel Wood from U.S. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik's office listen.

PLATTSBURGH — Capital District Physicians' Health Plan (CDPHP) is the latest healthcare portal available to North Country residents.

Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, member-focused community-based not-for-profit health plan that offers high-quality affordable health insurance to members in 26 counties throughout New York state, according to a press release.


Now, North Country residents can access the health plan in the CDPHP's new Plattsburgh Office located at 24 Margaret St.

"I'm thrilled to celebrate the opening of this Customer Connect Center, which we really envisioned over a year ago," Dr. John D. Bennett, president and CEO of CDPHP, said.

"Our journey to expand to what we all call the North Country goes back really probably a couple of years. CDHP is headquartered in Albany and most of our members are in the immediate capital region, but the North Country is contiguous to our area and we're just thrilled to be up here. We've been optimistic that our brand, which is noted for superior customer service and quality in our quest to make our members healthy, happy, safe and secure. We're excited that our brand would be well received here, and indeed it has been."

CDPHP exceeded its membership targets for this area, nearly 10,000 now, in a short year of planning the Plattsburgh office.

"We're truly grateful to the North Country community, and the folks here," he said.

"To further cement our commitment to this community, we're opening this Customer Connect Center. We have these centers in various other locations, and we're really excited to bring this center to this area."


What can people do at the Plattsburgh Customer Connect Center?

"Well, they can meet face-to-face with a customer service representative, (who) can answer their questions for everything from benefits to deductibles to all those confusing things that we have in healthcare," Bennett said.

"Part of our mission is we understand that healthcare, particularly health insurance is a fairly complicated, and we try to take that complication out. So we are going to have people on site here to answer questions. They can answer questions, generally and specifically."

CDPHP reps will be able to enroll shoppers into a free or low-cost health insurance program.

"CDPHP does participate in all lines of business, both public and private insurance, the New York State Exchange, the New York state Medicaid, the Central Plan, so we are a full-service company so people will be able to find out information about those plans as well as enroll there,” he said.

“They can receive their insurance ID cards. They can schedule doctors' appointments.”

In other centers, health literacy instruction has begun to be offered as well as health classes to help people lead healthier lives.

"So what is coming down the pike might be classes in healthy eating, classes in exercise, etc. etc., so the full gamut of everything that we can do,” Bennett said.

“We're excited about this. We are very committed to meeting our members where they want to be met and to treat them and see them at the right time at the right place at time of place of their choosing.”



New York State Assemblyman Billy Jones was at the opening to welcome CDPHP to Plattsburgh.

“What this is all about, as Dr. Bennett said, we're trying to connect members of our community with high quality, affordable healthcare and being representatives of the community what we want to do is have healthy communities and to have that you have to have your residents have access to healthcare and access to knowledge on how to wade through this complicated healthcare system we have,” Jones said.

“Even if you're lucky enough to have health insurance which many of us here do and I hope we do, it still can be a complicated, bureaucratic mess actually to wade through. And CDPHP helps people in connecting them with proper healthcare and also to make sure they find the resources out there.”

Jones said his office is going to use CDPHP quite a bit.

“Because we get questions about that as well, about healthcare and how we go through the steps in getting it,” he said.

“I see some of our healthcare partners back there. It's great to have you here as well because the more we can collaborate and get people access to it and answer their questions it makes our communities healthier. It really does make a difference to have people here answering those questions, connecting them to other areas of healthcare.”

Jones commended CDPHP for its proactive healthier lifestyle initiatives.

“I think when we talk about healthcare in many years past, we connected a patient to a healthcare service after they were sick," he said.

"I think we have to change that mindset, and we are trying to change that mindset and connecting people to proper healthcare, fitness, what a healthier lifestyle really means.

“That way there we can get affordable healthcare and help people in that way. When we talk about healthcare, we really need to come full circle in to making sure our communities, our residents in those communities are healthy and if something were to happen to help them connect to healthcare facilities and certain healthcare opportunities they have out there.”



Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman also extended his welcome to Bennett and CDPHP.

“One of the things that I was most impressed about was by you folks was your early commitment to access,” Cashman said.

“One of the biggest components to this job, and it is a large job in front of you folks, is creating the access and the comfort factor so that people feel comfortable having those difficult conversations but providing them an opportunity to live well and be well.”

He researched the company's reputation online.

“We kind of look for the Yelp! Responses, and I have to tell you that you have a phenomenal record in the state,” Cashman said.

“When you folks were coming up (Interstate) 87, I was very excited that you were coming to the greater Plattsburgh region. Already constituents throughout the North Country are talking about the added benefit that you bring them.”



U.S. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) was unable to attend the grand opening but sent her regards via her Regional Director Joel Wood.

“The Congresswoman regrets that she is unable to be here in person as the House is in session and she is required to be in D.C. for votes, however she would like to congratulate CDPHP on their North Country expansion and the grand opening of their new Plattsburgh customer service center," Wood said.

“The Congresswoman has a great working relationship with CDPHP having met with their leadership team in Washington and the district and now hopefully soon in Plattsburgh.”

CDPHP's Plattsburgh location partnered with its entrance into other North Country counties, means more choice for North Country residents, which thrilled Stefanik.

“The Congresswoman commends CDPHP for offering access to affordable, high quality, healthcare related services in New York's 21st congressional district and she believes we must continue to work to ensure that families all across our district have access to the healthcare services that they need,” Wood said.

For more information, call 518-641-4400.

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