MedStar VNA and CareFirst Partnership Provides Life Saving Care to Adults

MedStar VNA Reports 632 Percent Increase in CareFirst PCMH Program Census

ELKRIDGE, MD (March 19, 2015) – MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), in partnership with CareFirst’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Program, reports that program participants are living healthier lifestyles with decreased disease progression and fewer hospital readmissions. As a result of the reported success, MedStar VNA recently experienced a 632 percent increase in the program’s patient census since 2013. 

“The program helps adults who need extra help managing their health conditions,” says Cheryl Shirk, program director, MedStar VNA. “We work with CareFirst’s PCMH providers, including primary care physicians, to provide coordination of healthcare services. This includes how to manage chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); preventative care; medication and nutrition assistance; as well as connecting patients to community resources.” Coordinated by MedStar VNA nurses, Shirk also mentions that additional services are available based on patient needs.

“With increasing cuts to healthcare funding, it is important that primary care physicians change their way of thinking. Currently, the healthcare industry looks at care from a here and now standpoint. However, by proactively caring for the patient before negative symptoms arise, we can provide patients with better results,” advises Shirk. “A holistic approach, like that provided by the PCMH Program, ensures the whole body is cared for regularly, enhances quality of life, and keeps high-risk patients out of the hospital.” According to a study conducted by CareFirst, CareFirst members who saw PCMH providers reported 8.1 percent fewer hospital readmissions.

As for the future, Shirk mentions, that “part of the care process is identifying barriers impairing a patient’s ability to manage their health.” In many situations, these are non-medical in nature, therefore are not covered by health insurance. “CareFirst recognizes this and are looking to provide non-medical assistance to its members.”

Currently in partnership with 282 primary care physicians in the immediate Md., D.C. and northern Va. region, this number will likely increase as the program continues to report positive outcomes. Additionally, as PCMH participants and their doctors recognize more health benefits and improved quality of life, other insurances are expected to develop similar programs to improve their members’ health and help control healthcare spending.

About MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA)

MedStar VNA, a non-profit, JCAHO accredited, in-home healthcare provider, offers skilled nursing, rehabilitation and infusion therapy for homebound, disabled and chronically ill patients in the Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia region. Personal assistance and hygiene care services are also available through their residential service agency. To support good health in the community, MedStar VNA offers traveling vaccination and wellness programs across the region. For more information about MedStar VNA, call 800-862-2166 or visit medstarvna.org

Media Contact

Christina Heilman
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