Aetna Medicare CMO Outlines Aging-in-Place Agenda

America’s greatest wellness care providers continue on to target on property-based mostly care and getting old in spot as 2022 strategies. That consists of CVS Overall health Company (NYSE: CVS) subsidiary Aetna.

Amid its residence- and group-primarily based treatment initiatives, Aetna is doubling down on the use of telehealth and leaning into the CVS HealthHUB network, which provides seniors a assortment of companies, from preventative care all the way to acute treatment. The insurer is similarly investing in “cost-efficient care administration programs” and expanding its interactions with home-centric companions like Papa and Contessa Health, according to Dr. Jamie Sharp, chief health care officer for Aetna Medicare.

“We’re sort of assuming a new landscape for the shipping of overall health treatment and going away from acute,” Sharp explained to House Health and fitness Care Information. “I think it is significant to emphasis on growing old in position.”

As of June 30, Aetna served about ​​9.8 million Medicare users nationwide. Aetna Medicare’s overall footprint stretches across 46 states, with plans for dually qualified men and women obtainable in above two dozen states.

As CMO of Aetna Medicare, Sharp is tasked with improving upon the care practical experience and outcomes for seniors. Alongside with her team, she furthermore supports Aetna’s value-based company relationships.

“We also have a serious focus on driving health fairness throughout the Medicare Edge (MA) place for our customers,” Sharp, an inner drugs medical professional who used her early career operating in the hospital setting, reported.

A single of Aetna’s growing older-in-spot initiatives is its Wholesome Growing older aid software, which launched over a yr in the past. The interactive program is created to assist Aetna’s customers with continual illnesses by offering them equipment to much better self-take care of their circumstances.

As portion of the method, users take part in a sequence of virtual classes, possibly as element of a team or on an personal basis, Sharp stated.

“[Session] matters could be about nutrition or it’s possible comprehending your remedies,” she explained. “It could be the impact of stress on your disorder course of action or a assortment of distinct subjects. We have experienced definitely favourable feedback from our customers about this.”

Other property-centered treatment management initiatives include its readmission prevention courses. Those people are focused on offering high-risk members and their families “all the assets they need” to avoid costly re-hospitalizations.

“After they have an acute event and finish up in a medical center, how do you transition them back house, serving to them remain at home when obtaining again to their earlier life?” Sharp explained. “That may be generating absolutely sure they have the meals they need. Do they need to have transportation to select up their treatment? Have they produced their observe-up appointments with their companies and their specialists?”

Aetna’s getting older-in-put agenda

CVS has made turning much more of its stores into health treatment facilities a critical precedence. Performing so makes a ton of feeling for the enterprise, which seeks to produce much more synergy between its brick-and-mortar destinations and its insurance arm.

HealthHubs play a major purpose in that mission, and CVS expects to have 1,500 hubs in procedure by the stop of the yr. As it invests in the community, it will at the same time shut hundreds of merchants that aren’t core to its wellness care method, CVS executives a short while ago stated.

“We have HealthHubs spread throughout the United States,” Sharp said. “They’re right now redefining what products and services they’re delivering, so they make positive they have a entire plate of products and services to produce to our seniors as a protected reward.”

Within each and every HealthHubs is a care counselor who can support coordinate providers for seniors, including in-house care if it is desired.

“That’s what individuals care counselors are about,” Sharp mentioned. “They’re offering that one particular-on-one particular assistance for our associates, comprehension what their demands are.”

Aetna’s ageing-in-area agenda, in distinct, features a romantic relationship with Papa, the in-property companionship startup that has lifted extra than $240 million given that launching. A number of other big insurers have equally struck partnership agreements with Papa, recognizing the worth of addressing social determinants of well being.

“Companionship guidance, decreasing that social isolation that’s really been existing through the pandemic is a explanation we’ve expanded that connection with Papa,” Sharp mentioned. “[We can] provide in all those companions, make guaranteed that they can meet with a member, consider them grocery purchasing, go on a wander with them. Do that possibly 10 hrs a thirty day period, giving customers the assist they will need so they can continue to be at dwelling, remain secure.”

Meanwhile, on the telehealth entrance, all Aetna MA ideas will protect telehealth for principal care, urgent care, speciality treatment and mental wellness in 2022. That coverage is also aimed at enabling ageing-in-area.

“As the pandemic came up, we all realized that telehealth experienced to be a precedence — and also swiftly recognized that seniors were being extra than keen to acquire gain of it,” Sharp stated. “We observed people promises go up, and we ended up joyful to see that they were ready to tap into that prospect.”

In addition to working with its HealthHub connections, masking telehealth and teaming up with Papa, Aetna is doing work with ground breaking house-dependent treatment players these types of as Contessa Health and fitness, an Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) business.

Contessa has designed its total small business close to shifting acute and intricate treatment into the home, and that generates exciting prospects for Aetna, Sharp prompt.

“Nothing is off the books,” she mentioned. “One of our JVs coming up for 2022 is with Contessa and Prisma Health and fitness in South Carolina for hospital at residence. And I never assume any of us were pondering about that, you know, five decades back.”

Landmark Health is yet another Aetna dwelling-based mostly treatment partner.

“I believe wellbeing treatment is at a new time, where we have to be creative and have to set ahead all those people solutions,” Sharp claimed. “We have to crack down boundaries of common wellness care to make guaranteed that our members really don’t hold off treatment and that they can remain as healthy as achievable in their house.”

Post-acute treatment developments

When it will come to write-up-acute care developments with Aetna’s MA associates, COVID-19 has been “a finding out knowledge,” Sharp claimed.

Originally, Aetna customers “froze,” with quite a few not accessing care throughout the board, whether or not the placing was a nursing residence, in-affected person rehab facility or a little something else.

“All of it just — growth, went down,” Sharp explained. “We continue to have not come back up to these pre-pandemic levels.”

Write-up-acute care utilization is starting to creep back up towards ordinary, aside from standard vacation dips. When utilization of competent nursing amenities (SNFs) has been noticeably down, Aetna has not observed a corresponding uptick in residence health and fitness utilization.

“​​We have not noticed a substance trend raise in dwelling well being to offset that, which is sort of intriguing,” Sharp stated. “And I do not know that I evidently have the solutions for that.”