Healthcare in the United States is in crisis. COVID-19 cases increase every day and it’s laying bare the deficiencies in our system. Despite this, we’re proud of everyone who is working night and day to effectively respond, deliver the best care, and save lives.
We want to help.
We’d like to share three lessons we learned from delivering our advanced primary care model in care centers across the country. We believe that they’re especially relevant now, whether you're a payer, an employer, the administrator of a Trust, or a provider working on the front lines of this crisis.
Lesson 1: Shared goals and incentives allow for quicker pivots
Alignment matters. When partners offer our advanced primary care model in addition to a health plan, it delivers greater value. It improves member experience and health outcomes and reduces the total cost of care. These results are driven, in large part, through aligned goals and incentives.
Alignment removes confusion because the entire primary care experience can be designed to support a single set of population health goals. With every level of the system working together, there’s an incredible amount of agility to shift to respond to crises like COVID-19.
Here are three practical things you can do to increase alignment right now:
Make sure providers know the changes you’ve made on behalf of your members in the midst of this crisis.
Make sure your members understand changes to copays and other costs of care.
Keep in touch with your population about where they can get accurate information, like the CDC’s page.
Lesson 2: It’s more important than ever to adapt your care delivery model
Our care teams are busy adapting care delivery to meet the client and patient needs. We’re still striving to provide 80-90% of their care from the care center, whether that be talking by phone, video or bringing someone in who has an urgent need, even in the face of increased appointment demands from COVID-19. And when someone needs care outside of the care center, the care team stays highly involved to prevent gaps in communication and specialist treatment.
Like many providers, we’ve made the decision to shift out annual exams and other elective visits. We’re incorporating telephone and video visits. We’re establishing drive-through testing wherever possible.
Here are three practical ways to support your population right now:
Ask providers in your network to reschedule all non-essential care to free up capacity for acute care appointments.
Work with partners to promote telephone and video virtual visits, and let your population know how to take advantage of this type of care.
Clearly communicate to your population what to do if they don’t feel well and who to call when they need care. Now more than ever, we need to triage patients in a primary care setting to reduce the burden on acute care facilities.
Lesson 3: Health is about more than physical well-being
Our focus today is on meeting the immediate needs of our members. This is just the beginning. From our experience delivering whole person care, we know people will need care for much more than the COVID-19 symptoms in the coming months.
The World Health Organization says that health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Our contribution during this pandemic can’t be limited to our medical expertise, for the simple reason that COVID-19 isn’t limited to threatening our health. It is a global disruptor, impacting economy, race, politics, age, sex, culture, and environment. The same way sickness (bio-psycho-social) can ravage a person’s body, mind, and spirit.
As we move through the acute phase of this crisis, all of us — from payers to employers, healthcare administrators, and providers — need to look for ways to meet people where they’re at, develop strong relationships with them, and treat the whole person with care and empathy.
There are things you can do right now to help yourself and your population:
This is a time of unprecedented stress on our healthcare system. Our hope is that these three lessons will give you some inspiration or the spark of an idea as you develop solutions to mitigate that stress, treat patients in the midst of this crisis, and support your members once the immediate crisis has passed.
If you would like to learn more about how we’ve pivoted our care delivery model or talk with one of our existing clients please get in touch.