Florida Blue, St. Vincent’s HealthCare, & Jacksonville area newcomer Alignment Healthcare present a healthcare model that just may shape the future
We’ve heard of preventive care, but a pioneering new health management company, Alignment Healthcare, is using some newer terms that are becoming more important in the landscape of our healthcare system: coordinated care, care centers and predictive modeling.
Tracking healthcare outcomes – the success and failures of treatments – has been talked about since the ’80s, but is a hard thing to accomplish. Primary care doctors are expected to complete forms to show a picture of their patients’ care, but when it comes to those living with chronic diseases, many of which cause multiple afflictions, this can be cumbersome. Put simply, these patients need more help than a PCP can provide, and coordinating a team of specialists can be a daunting task. It is an even more daunting task to report on their complex health care.
Enter Alignment Healthcare, which offers help to PCPs by managing Medicare patients’ healthcare and gathering necessary data to improve overall care. Florida Blue’s parent company, GuideWell, has partnered with Alignment Healthcare and created the BlueMedicare Preferred HMO plan, a Medicare Advantage plan, to give members access to Alignment Healthcare’s extensivists (physicians who can see patients at the clinic or while in the hospital), care centers and home-monitoring equipment without additional charge. Alignment’s extensivists, as well as all plan PCPs, have admitting rights to St. Vincent’s hospitals, but truly the goal of coordinated and preventive care is, of course, to help these chronically ill patients manage their disease in order to reduce hospital visits. Coordinating healthcare is not just about data reporting, though that is a large piece of the puzzle and leads to that other new term, predictive modeling, in which care is constantly improved by analysis of data. Coordinating patients’ healthcare is about consolidating and explaining information on medications and referrals, keeping patients and all of their healthcare providers in the loop at all times and ending a cycle of mismanaged care that leads to worsening disease.
This type of care begins at one of Alignment Healthcare’s two area care centers, where Alignment’s doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and medical assistants perform a comprehensive, one-on-one baseline assessment of each member’s health that they call the Jump Start. The assessment’s results are shared with both the member and the member’s primary care team. The plan offers free transportation to and from the centers, and even to pharmacies and specialists; each patient is offered twenty one-way trips a year.
Alignment’s centers are designed with seniors’ special needs and common conditions in mind: there are wide spaces and wheelchair-ready scales, low-seated exam chairs that can lift and flatten into tables if needed, a lab for blood and other samples to be taken and measured on site, and an education room where meetings are conducted to make sure patients always feel confident in their care regime.