GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Priority Health is launching a ground-breaking program, Home-Based Primary Care, statewide to deliver health care services to the homes of patients living with advanced chronic illness.
The number of patients who are struggling with multiple chronic illnesses, like diabetes, cancer and heart disease, is growing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2010 that nearly 50 percent of seniors are living with two or more chronic diseases. This is up from 20 percent in 2003. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that 71 percent of each Medicare dollar is spent on patients with both chronic conditions and physical limitations.
“Advanced chronically ill patients struggle with access in today’s health care delivery system, which requires them to travel to a physician or facility to receive routine medical services,” said Jay LaBine, M.D., medical director for Priority Health. “With Home-Based Primary Care, we’ve leveraged our expertise to take the concept of a doctor’s office and broaden its reach to literally meet patients who need support most, where they need it most — in their home.”
Home-Based Primary Care provides each patient with a primary care team that features a physician, nurse practitioner, registered nurse case manager and social worker. Through the program, patients receive important routine and preventive care and direct access to care.
Priority Health is rapidly scaling the model to work with hospitals and local health care providers throughout Michigan. In fact, the company has already begun expanding the program’s capabilities in major metropolitan areas across Michigan and is currently enrolling members.
Priority Health launched the program last year as a pilot with Spectrum Health Medical Group for 90 patients. Since the launch, these patients have seen significant improvements in their health. Emergency room and hospital inpatient visits have decreased by 47 percent. Both organizations credit being able to quickly launch the pilot as a benefit of being part of the Spectrum Health integrated health system.
“We are committed to improving the quality of health care for Michigan residents,” said Kenneth J. Fawcett, Jr., M.D., interim president, Spectrum Health Medical Group. “By working as a system, we can successfully leverage efficiencies and change the model of care for those with complex chronic conditions, ultimately improving their quality of life.”
To be eligible for Home-Based Primary Care, patients must be referred by their primary care physician and qualify for the program. Once approved, each patient receives:
- A complete health assessment
- Around-the-clock medical support
- A patient-specific plan of care that evolves as needs change
- A nurse care manager to monitor patient care
- Occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapy
- Education about medications, telemonitoring procedures and health emergency preparedness
“We’re convinced that by investing early in the health of these patients we’ll avoid costly services later on,” added LaBine. “And this theory is already playing out to be true as we see patients, enrolled in this program, having fewer visits to the hospital and emergency room.”
About Priority Health
Priority Health is an award-winning, Michigan-based nonprofit health plan nationally recognized for improving the health and lives of the people it serves. It continues to lead the industry in engaging members in their health, delivering effective health and disease management programs, and working with physicians to improve health care outcomes and performance. Priority Health is one of only 20 health plans nationwide with wellness programs accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, an organization that also rated our plans among the best health plans in the nation. Priority Health was also named the benchmark plan, by the State of Michigan, for all individual and group plans to model.
Priority Health offers a broad portfolio of health benefit options for employer groups and individuals, including Medicare and Medicaid plans. Its network of health care providers features 95 percent of practicing physicians available in Michigan and more than 900,000 nationwide. For more information, visit priorityhealth.com.