Sentara Home Visits for High-Risk ‘VIPs’ Drive Hybrid Case Management Outcomes

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

When the Sentara Medical Group evolved to a hybrid embedded case management model in 2012, case managers spent time in the practice, but also managed care through other touch points, including home visits, explains Mary M. Morin, RN, NEA-BC, RN-BC, vice president, nurse executive with Sentara Medical Group. How to identify high-risk patients for case management, and home visits in particular? Here, Ms. Morin addresses that question posed by The Healthcare Intelligence Network during a recent webinar.

Question: How does Sentara identify high-risk patients for case management in general and for home visits in particular? Do all patients in the case management program receive home visits?

Response: (Mary M. Morin) This program started as a pilot in 2012. It was targeted at patients that we called very important patients — high-cost, high-utilizers, the top of the pyramid. There are about 2,300 patients within 11 of our primary care sites. We kept it small, with five RN care managers. That population included all payors, most importantly our health plan patients. Because of our health plan, we were able to really study whether RN care management had an impact on the total cost of care — not unlike other organizations, if you can find a cost savings and justify the expense of having RN care managers, it makes the case much more solid moving forward with formalizing the program.

We sorted those patients by high-risk, high-cost or high-cost, high-utilizers because of chronic diseases. We looked at patient with congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), asthma, renal failure and diabetes. We excluded patients that had any traumatic event like a car accident or something that led to high-cost, or they had cancer or they were a transplant patient.

The purpose was to engage that population. It is voluntary. We studied that population for three years. It allowed us to measure our outcomes over time because we weren’t sure if there was seasonality to the patients with chronic disease: did they just not use services because of seasonal issues or because it’s a cycle issue within the chronic disease phase? After three years of data, we determined there is definitely a difference in the outcomes of this patient population and their utilization.

Home visits was one of the big differences in the model. The main reason to do home visits is not to do patient care, but to do an assessment of the patient’s environment. A lot of times, patients don’t share with us their actual living situation. They tell you that they’re walking, and then you find out they walk within a five-foot radius. The real emphasis for home visits was to get in and meet the patient in their environment.

We found that RN care managers in the home facilitated advance care planning. That is best done in the patient’s home with a family member present, not in the doctor’s office or waiting until the patient is admitted to the hospital. We found that patients appreciated the visits. The RN care managers who went in really cleaned up the medications. Patients will hold on to medications.

value-based reimbursement
Mary M. Morin, RN, NEA-BC, RN-BC, is a nurse executive with Sentara Medical Group, where she is responsible and accountable for non-physician clinical practice within the Sentara Medical Group (160 clinics/practices) to ensure integration and alignment with Sentara Healthcare, regulatory compliance, standardization of nursing practice/care, and patient safety.

Source: Hybrid Embedded Case Management: New Model for Cross-Continuum Care Coordination

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