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Six ways Signify Health clinicians help meet behavioral health needs in the Medicare Advantage population

By Signify Health Team on 6/20/24 10:00 AM

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 14% of adults aged 60 and over live with a mental disorder. Mental health conditions among older people are often underrecognized and undertreated, and the stigma surrounding these conditions can result in a reluctance to seek help. Recent Signify Health In-Home Health Evaluation (IHE) results validated the risk of mental illness in elderly adults.

In May, Signify Health published a case study that addressed the unmet or unidentified needs of Medicare Advantage (MA) members who experience behavioral health concerns. Behavioral or mental health is directly connected to overall health and well-being. However, historically and generally, different specialists have treated physical and mental health conditions separately.

Below are six key findings in the case study.

  1.   Depression symptoms tend to increase with age.

The presence of depressive disorders often adversely affects the course of and complicates the treatment of other chronic diseases, yet in 80% of cases, depression is a treatable condition. Although the rate of older adults with depressive symptoms tends to increase with age, depression is not a normal part of growing older. 

  1.   Care Coordination Pathways, a service Signify Health offers to support better access to preventative care, may impact health plans’ Star rating objectives.

When elected by health plans, the Care Coordination Pathways service includes referring identified members to behavioral health clinicians. Members are connected with primary and specialty medical or behavioral care appropriate for their individualized needs.

  1.   Using Care Coordination supports appointment scheduling and influences the speed of care.

Research demonstrated a decades-old national challenge of long wait times for individuals in need of seeing a behavioral health provider. The collaboration efforts detailed in the case study led to significantly less wait times for members needing appointments than the national average.

  1.   Signify Health’s In-Home Health Evaluations (IHEs) position health plan members to spend more time with experienced clinicians.

The IHE, a service covered by many health plans, is provided to health plan members at no additional cost.  The IHE, a visit lasting up to an hour, offers extended one-on-one time with a Signify Health clinician. Members have more time to ask questions, and Signify Health clinicians perform a comprehensive health assessment to identify potential care gaps and social determinants of health.  The results of the IHE are communicated to the member’s primary care provider.

  1.   Synergy between health plans and their members resulted in five notable benefits.

Addressing behavioral health care needs during an IHE resulted in identifying gaps in care, which led to improved care outcomes, reduced hospitalizations, cost savings, improved regulatory compliance, and enhanced member satisfaction.

  1.   Holistic, patient-centered health care is the future of U.S. health care.

When Signify Health clinicians identify behavioral health concerns during the IHE, participating health plans may experience quicker interventions and better outcomes for their members. The future of improved care will embody a whole-person, holistic approach that involves treating the individual rather than the illness.

To learn more about the data analyses and the results, read the case study, 'Signify Health clinicians identify and help meet behavioral health needs of Medicare Advantage members.’