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Blog

2 min read

Social Care in a Time of Social Distancing

By Kyle Armbrester on 7/7/20 9:26 AM

In the course of a few months, all of our lives changed in profound ways we couldn’t have possibly imagined. Suddenly, nothing was taken for granted: a trip to the grocery store, spending time with family and friends, and receiving services from a healthcare system that’s overwhelmed.

This uncertainty was particularly felt by those already struggling to obtain basic necessities and social support. Seniors for example, many of whom grapple with feelings of loneliness, have been further isolated in a time of social distancing. Many had trouble accessing food, transportation to run errands, financial resources to afford their medications, and other social determinants of health (SDOH) that impacted their outcomes and quality of life.

As a healthcare community, we must continue to find ways to build a system that’s value-based and human-centered—one that takes care of people’s full spectrum of clinical, social, and behavioral health needs. While this crisis has exposed and exacerbated just how many people need help, it also has the power to mobilize change and inspire action.

Change Starts with a Recognition of the Problem
Providing care and support to vulnerable populations is a moral imperative. It also has financial and economic implications for our healthcare systems and country at large. A recent study found that a lack of social connection is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having an alcohol use disorder. Loneliness also appears to be twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity. When these issues are unaddressed, they end up in the emergency room.

I have the honor of leading an organization that oversees the nation’s largest network of mobile clinicians, who go into the homes of Medicare beneficiaries to identify and address their clinical and social needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our team conducted these visits by phone and video. From April 1 to May 5, 2020 our health risk assessment data showed that 1 in 3 Medicare Advantage patients live alone, 17% have trouble getting around the house, and 22% struggle with everyday shopping or errands.

Social issues like these are far too often the root cause of costly and unnecessary emergency room visits. We must think of healthcare beyond clinical procedures and prescription drugs, to address the very issues that drive these clinical events in the first place.

Breaking Down the Barriers Between Clinical and Social Care
While SDOH has quickly gone from a buzzword to the boardroom, these issues have always existed. We’re fortunate to live in a country with thousands of amazing community-based organizations (CBOs), each with the knowledge and trust of their local communities.

Those of us in the healthcare community must recognize that we cannot do what CBOs do. If we want to create a more equitable system focused on holistic, whole-person care, it’s imperative that healthcare and social service providers work together more effectively in addressing the SDOH that put outcomes at risk.

This isn’t easy. It requires partnership and collaboration across sectors, as well as a steadfast commitment to privacy and patient confidentiality. But when done correctly, the benefits on access and quality of care is immense.

At Signify Health, we have the unique privilege of helping build cross-sector collaborations across all constituencies that touch a person’s life: CBOs, providers, insurers, government agencies, and employers. From Arizona to Texas, Michigan to Iowa, these connected communities are helping residents access vital support services and community programs like never before.

To accelerate an era where each person’s needs are met once they leave the four walls of the hospital or facility, we must acknowledge our limitations. Partnering with community providers, and building safe and collaborative alliances, is the only way to tackle these deeply entrenched and interrelated social issues.

Topics: SDOH COVID-19
2 min read

Health Heads Home

By Nathan Goldstein on 7/2/20 10:18 AM

In the wake of COVID-19, we’re starting to see more and more discussion about the need to support people outside of the traditional health care setting. Setting aside the challenges of social distancing, this makes sense. You only need to think about yourself and those you care about to know that people recuperate and convalesce best in their home. That’s where we have the best chance to be comfortable and happy. That’s where health is won—or lost.

Topics: Homeward
2 min read

Father’s Day Community Partner Spotlight: Hue-MAN Partnership's Clarence Jones

By Signify Health News on 6/21/20 8:00 AM

Building a community network isn’t easy. As communities form social service networks to collaboratively address social determinants of health, it’s important to recognize the trusted messengers that bring people together.

Topics: Father's Day Community Networks
2 min read

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Made Healthcare More Patient and Home-Centric. We Can Keep It That Way.

By François de Brantes on 5/28/20 9:01 AM

Will COVID-19 permanently reshape U.S. healthcare? Many experts seem to believe that’s the case. For Signify Health, reshaping healthcare starts with redesigning the way healthcare providers are paid.

Topics: COVID-19
1 min read

Signify Health Nurses: A Healthy Dose of Inspiration and Heart

By Signify Health News on 5/12/20 7:40 AM

Today, on International Nurses Day, we salute those who care for others so selflessly—especially during a time when doing so may put their own health at risk.

Topics: Nurses International Nurses Day
2 min read

Making A Difference For The Mothers Who Make a Difference Every Day

By François de Brantes on 5/9/20 3:22 PM

More than 6 million women will become pregnant this year, and, of those, more than 1 million will be facing the unknown as first-time mothers. A little over two years ago, one of those first-time mothers was Serena Williams. The story of her complications after delivery shed a light on what health care services and public health experts have known for well over a decade—that complications of delivery, including death, have been going up in the United States. What should be a time of rejoicing can quickly turn to tragedy.

Topics: Episodes of Care Maternity
1 min read

Podcast Series: Healthcare Payment Policy Insights

By Signify Health News on 4/13/20 3:46 PM

Promoting Long-Term Recovery in a Short-Term, Misaligned Delivery System

Today, over 20 million Americans are suffering from some form of addiction. Unlike many other chronic conditions — where “standards of excellence” inform consumers, health systems, and payers about best practices and services that should be available — today’s addiction recovery services are delivered through system that lacks alignment or integrated economic structures that incentivize long-term recovery.

Topics: Episodes of Care Healthcare Payments Healthcare Policy
1 min read

Podcast Series: Healthcare Payment Policy Insights

By Signify Health News on 3/26/20 9:18 AM

Insights on Employer Demand for Episodes of Care and Centers of Excellence: An Interview with Willis Tower Watson

Topics: Episodes of Care Healthcare Policy
2 min read

Answering the Call

By Nathan Goldstein on 3/15/20 7:47 PM

It’s not every day the phone rings and it’s the White House on the other end. Then again, it’s not every day we are faced with a global pandemic. 

Topics: COVID-19

Podcast Series: Healthcare Payment Policy Insights

By Signify Health News on 2/4/20 7:00 AM

This podcast series is brought to you by Signify Health, the market leader in transforming the quality, delivery and cost of care.

Topics: Healthcare Payments Healthcare Policy
1 min read

SDOH in 2020: What You Need to Know

By Jamo Rubin, M.D. on 12/9/19 9:33 AM

Last week, Forbes published an article listing the top 8 predictions that will disrupt healthcare in 2020 according to Frost & Sullivan's Transformational Healthcare Group.

Topics: SDOH
1 min read

Why Social Service Partners Must Have an Active Role in Determining SDOH Funding Models

By Jamo Rubin, M.D. on 10/24/19 10:00 AM

The eHealth Initiative & Foundation (eHI) recently released a set of tools to help promote the use of ICD-10-CM Z codes in capturing social determinants of health (SDOH) data. As the transition from volume to value accelerates, having a unified approach to funding social care gaps is imperative to ensure hospitals and health systems can track needs, identify community-based solutions, and improve the health of their communities.

Topics: ICD-10 SDOH
2 min read

What JAMA's New SDOH Study Got Right...And What It Missed.

By Jamo Rubin, M.D. on 9/24/19 1:54 PM

Last week, JAMA published a study that found few physician practices and hospitals screen patients for key social needs. Specifically, the researchers found that only about 24% of hospitals and 16% of physician practices reported screening for the five key social determinants of health outlined by CMS' Accountable Health Communities model: food insecurity, housing instability, utility needs, transportation needs and interpersonal violence.

Topics: Health Risk Evaluation Enhanced Clinical Services
4 min read

Incorporating SDOH into MA Supplemental Benefits: What Plan Leaders Are Saying

By Jamo Rubin, M.D. on 9/11/19 3:37 PM

Even as the summer winds down, the topic of using supplemental benefits to address social determinants of health (SDOH) in Medicare Advantage is getting hotter.

Topics: Health Risk Evaluation Enhanced Clinical Services
5 min read

Care Coordination for Medicare Advantage: Social Determinants of Health and Care Management

By Jamo Rubin, M.D. on 9/4/19 7:31 AM

Care management and social determinants of health (SDOH) programs must work together to address a more comprehensive picture of member health. Currently, more than 40% of the most substantial impacts on members’ health are social and economic factors. The idea of care is changing with the shift from service-based care to value-based care, especially for Medicare Advantage members with multiple chronic conditions. 

Topics: Care Management SDOH
4 min read

RISE to the Occasion: 4 Lessons for Incorporating SDOH into Value-Based Care

By Jamo Rubin, M.D. on 8/1/19 4:23 PM

Last month, several hundred people congregated in Washington DC for RISE’s National Summit on Social Determinants. It proved to be a rich, dynamic conference, jam-packed with education, discussion, and debate from diverse set of cross-sector attendees. 

Topics: Health Risk Evaluation Enhanced Clinical Services
2 min read

Benefits of a Single Vendor for Health Risk Evaluation Programs

By Lesley Weir on 7/30/19 1:21 PM

Many health plans experience vendor challenges when leaning on multiple vendors for their risk adjustment programs in the home or primary care setting. From inconsistent data, potential member overlap in programs, and more, all which cause several negative effects on your risk adjustment and quality programs resulting in less desirable overall results. 

Topics: Signify Office Risk Adjustment
3 min read

Summer Buzz: Supplemental Benefits for SDOH in Medicare Advantage

By Jamo Rubin, M.D. on 7/19/19 3:42 PM

Medicare Advantage (MA) is abuzz about Supplemental Benefits.

Topics: Health Risk Evaluation Enhanced Clinical Services
3 min read

Improving the OMW Measure with Bone Density Testing in the Home

By Michael Poku, MD, MBA on 6/25/19 9:00 AM

The month of May, National Osteoporosis Month, served as a reminder that osteoporosis is an important part of taking care of members. This condition impacts approximately 10 million Americans (roughly 80% being women) and another 44 million have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk.

Topics: Health Risk Evaluation Enhanced Clinical Services
3 min read

Addressing PAD Through Enhanced Clinical Services

By Murat Mardirossian, MD on 5/28/19 9:00 AM

Approximately 8.5 million people in the United States have Peripheral Artery Disease  (PAD), including 20% of individuals older than 55 years old1

Topics: Health Risk Evaluation PAD Enhanced Clinical Services
6 min read

How to Address Provider Challenges in Risk Adjustment and Quality Gaps

By Joseph Jasser, M.D. on 4/23/19 8:26 AM

Many physicians are feeling challenged by risk adjustment and quality gaps. Many feel fatigue and burnout because they are spending more time on documentation and administrative work than ever before. Risk adjustment and quality gaps have dictated their day-to-day work, especially for physicians who see Medicare Advantage members. These challenges impact how much time physicians have and also their engagement with cumbersome documentation tools.

Topics: Signify Office Risk Adjustment
5 min read

Personalizing Care for a Vulnerable Population

By Joseph Jasser, M.D. on 3/18/19 4:37 PM

Personalizing care for vulnerable populations is about identifying and responding to the unique set of conditions and needs of members.

Topics: Health Risk Evaluation
1 min read

Signify Health Addresses Social Determinants Of Health

By Signify Health Team on 3/15/19 11:28 AM

The first service platform to formally integrate social and clinical care plans

Topics: SDOH
3 min read

What to Consider When Evaluating Clinical Decision Support Tools

By Burke Burnett on 1/22/19 9:43 AM

Clinical decision support (CDS) is redefining the relationship between physicians and health plans, and industry professionals and patients.

Topics: Signify Office Technology
5 min read

The Exciting and Evolving Culture of Healthcare Technology

By Shane Henderson on 12/18/18 8:04 AM

Technology in healthcare has reached a new precipice. We may be a ways from the medical breakthroughs on Star Trek, but the healthcare industry, where once continuously behind in technology, has started to catch up. The industry is moving away from the constraints of working in analog systems and on paper and toward a digital renaissance.

Topics: Signify Office Technology
4 min read

Complex Care Management Services Shifting To A Holistic Home-Based Approach

By Lisa DiSalvo on 10/30/18 7:58 AM

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are evolving to address their growing market—10,000 baby boomers are now retiring every day, and Medicare Advantage health plans are set to become 50% of the Medicare market by 2025—increasing programs for care management and bringing services to the home to improve care and reduce utilization in their high-risk members.

Topics: Care Management Complex Care Management
1 min read

Three Ways to Reduce Health Risks for Adults Age 65 and Older During the Holiday Season

By Signify Health Team on 12/20/16 8:30 AM

Adults age 65 and older are at higher risk for contracting contagious illnesses and diseases such as the flu, and can have a more difficult time rebounding. That’s why it’s especially important to communicate to health plan members ways they can stay happy and healthy during the busy holiday season.

Topics: Member Engagement
2 min read

Important Updates from the CDC for this Flu Season

By Signify Health News on 12/5/16 8:05 AM

Anyone age 65 and older can experience greater severity in symptoms and complications from influenza—and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults accounted for roughly 60-80 percent of flu-related deaths in recent years. 

Topics: Member Engagement Medicare Advantage Risk Adjustment
2 min read

Thanksgiving Is Also National Family Health History Day

By Signify Health News on 11/18/16 2:00 PM

The table is set, and the turkey is carved. Your family is all at the table—for most of us, that’s a rarity. So what will be the topic of conversation with the multiple generations sitting at your table for Thanksgiving Dinner? In honor of National Family Health History Day, consider using this opportunity to discuss the chronic conditions that affect or have affected your loved ones and relatives.

Topics: Member Engagement Care Management
1 min read

Closing the Gap for Diabetic Health Plan Members

By Signify Health News on 11/14/16 2:00 PM

Diabetes impacts approximately 30 million people in the United States. More than a quarter of those individuals are 65 and older, making this a serious health concern for the elderly population. World Diabetes Day 2016 is meant to bring awareness to the vulnerable populations worldwide who battle diabetes every day.

Topics: Member Engagement Medication Therapy Management
1 min read

Honoring Our Veterans With Each Assessment

By Signify Health News on 11/11/16 1:00 PM

In honor of Veterans Day, Signify Health salutes veterans of our armed forces and the commitment and sacrifices they’ve made to protect our nation.
 

Topics: Member Engagement
1 min read

10 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Brain

By Signify Health News on 11/3/16 12:00 PM

Simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
There are more than 47 million people worldwide suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The month of November is dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring action. Knowing the early signs of dementia and taking a proactive role in keeping your brain healthy can help you reduce your risk.

Topics: Member Engagement Behavioral Health
2 min read

High Risk Medication Prescriptions and the Impact on a Plan’s Star Rating

By Signify Health News on 9/20/16 12:01 PM

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) added benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed to treat insomnia and sleeplessness, as potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) according to the Beers Criteria in 2015. Older adults have increased sensitivity to benzodiazepines and decreased metabolism of long-acting agents; in general, all benzodiazepines increase risk of cognitive impairment, delirium, falls, fractures, and motor vehicle crashes in older adults.

Topics: Medicare Advantage Star Ratings Care Management