Health and Fitness

Tallahassee is a regional medical center serving a large area of the Florida Big Bend. The core of Tallahassee’s medical services are its two outstanding hospitals, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Capital Regional Medical Center, as well as the award winning Leon County Emergency Medical Services. The only local HMO in the Tallahassee area, Capital Health Plan is ranked top in the nation by the NCQA. As a regional medical center, Tallahassee is home to a full range of highly trained primary care and specialist physicians. The Florida State University College of Medicine and the other Tallahassee public and private universities emphasize the training of primary care doctors and allied medical care personnel. The Tallahassee medical community is Medicare friendly and supports the life style of today’s active retirees through the most modern preventive and therapeutic medicine.

Tallahassee’s unique health resource

Tallahassee is home to a very unique health resource: a local, nationally recognized health plan with two clinical facilities. For almost 30 years, Capital Health Plan has provided area residents with quality, comprehensive, health care protection. CHP offers health plans for employer groups and Medicare eligible individuals. These plans include comprehensive coverage with no deductibles.

Two modern health center complexes on Centerville Place and Governor’s Square Boulevard offer physicians, nurses, and allied health care professionals directly employed by Capital Health Plan provide coordinated care for CHP members in facilities that offer the convenience of “one stop shopping.”

The Centerville Place facility is also home to CHP Urgent Care Services. Members can access urgently needed care seven days a week. This important resource helps you avoid time consuming trips to the emergency room for acute, non-life threatening conditions.

Capital Health Plan members also have the advantage of extensive network of affiliated primary and specialty care physicians who provide care to members in their own offices, located throughout the service area.

Capital Health Plan is the only local HMO in Tallahassee. The local member services and administrative professionals live where you live. You can even stop by and talk to someone in person about your benefits at the Raymond Diehl location.

This local plan is only offered in seven counties in the Big Bend Area, but it has received some impressive national recognition. Capital Health Plan has been an “Excellent” accredited health plan by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) since 2001. NCQA has also named CHP among the best health plans in the nation since 2005.

For more information about Capital Health Plan, visit

Health care: New facilities and increased services

Health-care services in Tallahassee have taken giant steps forward with more facilities and treatment options to serve residents.

The new Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Cancer Center is a 52,412-square-foot facility at 1775 One Healing Place that hospital officials say brings the most powerful cancer-fighting technologies and tools yet available to the area.

The center houses TMH’s outpatient clinical cancer services, including one of the most advanced linear accelerators in the world for radiation therapy. Having everything in one location benefits patients and TMH’s ability to meet their needs.

“The idea of having one center that kind of encompasses not just radiation therapy but cancer care in general has always been there,” said Dr. Dale Wickstrum, radiation oncologist and medical team member. “This is the culmination of those thoughts and ideas that have gone on over the years.”

Capital Regional Medical Center opened its new Comprehensive Breast Center, which provides screenings, diagnosis and treatment all under one roof.

The center features the most advanced cancer-fighting technology, including HDR Brachytherapy, Radiosurgery and Mammosite, so that women can get back to their normal lives as quickly as possible.

“With the proper education and screening, the proper equipment and technology, the right team and right personalities, we can catch this early with a lot less stress for everyone involved,” Dr. Roy Schwartz said of treating breast cancer.

CRMC also expanded hospital services to the Quincy area with the opening of its Gadsden Memorial Campus. That hospital is a 24-hour facility with emergency care, diagnostic imaging, laboratory and full medical and nursing staff.

The Red Hills Surgical Center, a new facility of 17,000 square feet on Surgeons Drive, is the latest addition to the 86-acre medical complex east of TMH. The center is the result of a joint venture between TMH and 35 local physicians from various medical practices.

While TMH has surgical suites, including outpatient facilities, it was difficult for all the doctors to schedule the operating-room time they needed, given that facilities here draw patients from Leon and the surrounding 14 counties.

The Red Hills Surgical Center features five operating rooms and several pre-op and recovery rooms. The facility is used by physicians representing five medical specialties — otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), orthopedic surgery, general surgery, ophthalmology and gynecology.

Senior Center

Getting involved is as easy as a visit to the Tallahassee Senior Center. Think it is for the sedentary? Think again. The Senior Center is for anyone over 50 and serves up a menu of exciting opportunities for lifelong learning and activity.

Interested in art? Classes are offered in watercolor, pastels, oils, acrylics, landscapes and more. Artwork by mature artists living in Tallahassee and the surrounding area is displayed in three galleries at the Center and in a juried showcase. Woodcarving, ceramics, crafting, quilting, model ship building and working with clay are only a few of the craft courses available. When it comes to health and fitness, there are classes galore to fit every ability and need. In addition to regular exercise classes, the Center offers yoga, Tai Chi and Zumba. Discussion groups on books, current events, creative writing and languages (French, Spanish and German) provide even more outlets for inquiring minds.

Like to travel? In 2011 alone, the Senior Center organized trips to the Gulf of Mexico for dolphinwatching as well as to the Canadian Rockies, New England, Ireland and the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu.

Barbershop quartet, guitar, folk music, senior singers, bridge and ballroom, contra and line dancing are among other opportunities offered by the Center.

If this doesn’t whet your appetite — consider that this is just a short menu of all that is going on. Talk to anyone who is involved and they will tell you the Senior Center is the best thing that has happened to them. Learn more at

Senior resources

The Tallahassee-Leon County community is fortunate to have a host of senior service organizations to assist individuals, caregivers, and adult children with a broad array of services and needs.  The aging network, consisting of service providers, home health organizations, adult living communities, skilled care facilities, elder law attorneys, senior real estate experts, builders, financial planners, and many other senior-focused professionals meets monthly to share information and learn new ways to best serve our senior population.

Any of the following non-profit organizations will be happy to help you connect with the services and information you need.

Alzheimer’s Project Inc.: Volunteers offer respite care and support to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and their caregivers.  Newcomers welcome. 850-386-2778,

Area Agency on Aging for North Florida: a nonprofit organization that serves as an aging resource center, Providing information and assistance in linking individuals to resources such as Medicare, Medicaid, Elder Abuse, Health and Wellness, and other programs and services for seniors and their caregivers., 800-963-5337

Elder Care Services Inc.: A nonprofit United Way Agency that helps improve the lives of seniors through programs such as Meals on Wheels, adult day care, in-home services, transportation and more. Senior volunteer opportunities also available. 850-921-5554,

Tallahassee Senior Services:  the focal point for active aging and senior resources in the community.  A division of the City of Tallahassee, TSS staffs a professional Resource Coordinator who helps connect individuals, caregivers, and adult children to appropriate services.  850-891-4000,

Additional Senior Information

AARP: National organization.  Anyone age 50 and older may join.

AARP Florida Legislative Representative: Legislative advocacy program for state issues affecting Floridians age 50 and over. 866-595-7678,,

AARP 55-Alive/Mature Driving Program: The nation’s first and largest classroom driver-improvement course intended to help drivers 50 and older improve their skills while teaching them to avoid accidents and traffic violations. Classes are taught in two, four-hour sessions spanning two days, or one eight-hour class on Saturdays. This class could qualify you for a discount on insurance.  888-AARP-NOW.

Aging with Dignity: This organization strives to provide practical information, advice and the legal tools necessary to ensure that aging loved ones’ wishes will be respected. (888) 594-7437 or 850-681-2010,

Florida Council on Aging: Committed to serving Florida’s diverse aging interests through education, information-sharing and advocacy. 850-222-8877,,

Florida Department of Elder Affairs: The primary state agency responsible for administering human services programs for the elderly. Its purpose is to serve elders in all aspects to help them keep their self-sufficiency and self-determination. Programs include SHINE as well as the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which is a statewide, volunteer organization seeking to ensure the health, safety, welfare and rights of long-term care facility residents. The LTCOP program trains and certifies volunteers to respond to the concerns of, and advocate for, individuals in Florida’s nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. All services are confidential and free. (888) 831-0404, 850-414-2000, http:\\; This website serves as a resource for seniors, publicizing special offers from merchants, plus local events and senior-specific information.

Social Security Administration: Office hours: 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., 2002 Old St. Augustine Road, Building B, Suite B12, 942-8978, 800-772-1213, or 800-325-0778 TDD,

Tallahassee Memory Disorder Clinic: Free public screenings, diagnosis, care plans plus caregiver training for memory disorders. 850-431-5001,

TMH Adult Day Care Services: Services include: nursing care, social activities, recreation and rehabilitation services. 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. 850-531- 0712,

Staying fit in Tallahassee

Staying active as we age is a key component to living a long and healthy life.

Many health clubs and gyms in Tallahassee offer discounts for seniors, or discounts for being a member of a specific health plan. When you sign up for a gym membership, be sure to tell them about your health care provider and ask about any special deals.

Some insurance providers, like Capital Health Plan, also provide reimbursement for memberships at local gym and fitness centers. Contact your health care provider for more information.

Find senior-specific fitness opportunities on the City of Tallahassee’s Senior Services resource page.

Or call the following departments directly to talk with a staff person:
Tallahassee Senior Center & Foundation, 850-891-4000 or
Tallahassee Parks & Recreation, 850-891-3866 or
Leon County Senior Outreach, 850-891-4065

Tallahassee YMCA: Three locations provide opportunities for seniors to continue to improve their spirit, mind and body through social activities and fitness programming, including senior fitness classes and water aerobics.

Medicare plans in Tallahassee

Find a Medicare plan in Tallahassee:

–        Consumer Hotline                 1-800-435-7352

–        Medicare Hotline                  1-800-633-4227

–        SHINE Insurance Counseling    1-800-963-5337

Or search for a plan online:

–        Got to

–        Click “Compare Drug and Health Plans,”

–        Type in your new Tallahassee zip code (ex. 3201) to find a plan in this area.

Capital Health Plan Ranked Among Top Three in Nation

CHP Highest-Ranked Plan in Florida for Six Years by NCQA

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today recognized Capital Health Plan (CHP), a local nonprofit, among the top three plans in the nation.  According to “The NCQA’s Private Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2011-2012” CHP’s commercial plan was ranked third in the published results.

“It is a great honor to be ranked among the top plans in the country,” said Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, Capital Health Plan chief medical officer. “We are constantly working to improve the quality of our programs and CHP is proud to be recognized by the NCQA.”

This is the first year that the NCQA has included preferred provider organizations (PPOs) in the rankings, instead of only HMOs. Therefore, the pool included almost twice as many plans as last year. It is a significant achievement to maintain such a high ranking after the criteria have changed so dramatically.

“NCQA’s Medicare Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2011-2012” ranks Capital Health Plan’s Medicare plan as the nation’s sixth in the published results.

“Capital Health Plan is the only plan in Florida that has earned these high rankings consecutively for the past six years, even with the new changes to criteria,” said John Hogan, CEO of Capital Health Plan. “The NCQA’s rankings reflect the dedication and care our staff and medical community strives to provide for all of our members.”

Capital Health Plan’s commitment to member satisfaction shows in the outstanding results of member surveys.  CHP Connect, a secure, online personal health record, helps members take control of their health. CHP Health Coaching gives members access to online Web modules and 24/7 advice from health care professionals to guide them through important medical decisions. Capital Health Plan’s local member services department consistently delivers efficient, expert service.

NCQA uses scores from HEDIS®, CAHPS® and NCQA Accreditation standards to calculate plan rankings. These scores reflect the results of consumer surveys and the plan’s success in prevention and treatment compared to other plans. Health plans voluntarily report their scores to NCQA using data from HEDIS® and CAHPS® in categories related to overall satisfaction, access to care, prevention and treatment.

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. For more information on NCQA ranking visit