June 20, 2017 § Leave a comment
A Harvard-sponsored program to help improve healthcare disparities in Asia has linked up with CCA to provide insight on how to provide high-quality care to underserved populations. Earlier this month a team of Vietnamese Fellows from the Southeast Asia Initiative and the Cambridge-based China Medical Board took part in a home visit with a patient who receives care through CCA. Here, some of the Fellows observe as CCA nurse practitioner Phuong Phan conducts an exam on a CCA member at the member’s home in Medford. Phan has been providing home-based care for the woman for many years, helping her maintain an independent lifestyle while being treated for a variety of chronic conditions. The Vietnamese Fellows are hoping to learn from CCA’s model in order to help improve care for high-risk patients in Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia.
June 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
CCA’s new affiliation with Harrington Healthcare, based in Southbridge, was featured in an article in the Worcester Telegram on Monday. As part of the affiliation, CCA One Care members in the Harrington coverage area will receive integrated care in coordination with CCA care teams and Harrington providers. You can read the story here.
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette is the daily newspaper for Worcester, the second-largest city in Massachusetts. The paper offers coverage of all of Worcester County, as well as surrounding areas of the western suburbs of Boston, Western Massachusetts, and several towns in Windham County in northeastern Connecticut. The print circulation is 74,563 and the online site (telegram.com) reaches 17,400 unique daily visitors.
June 6, 2017 § Leave a comment
CCA was featured prominently in an article that appeared last week in Modern Healthcare, a leading national publication for healthcare industry news and updates. The article, which included an interview with CCA President and CEO Christopher Palmieri, focused on efforts by health insurers and providers to locate members and patients who are dual-eligibles in order to enroll them and assess their needs. You can read the article here.
Modern Healthcare is the industry’s leading source of healthcare business and policy news, research and information – reporting on important healthcare events and trends, as they happen, through a weekly print magazine, websites, e-newsletters and events. In terms of reach, the print outlet has a circulation of 70,295 and online reaches 12,850 unique daily visitors.
June 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
Commonwealth Care Alliance celebrated the arrival of our brand-new Community Outreach Vehicles with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of our office on Winter Street in Boston on Thursday. More than 100 employees gathered to tour and check out one of the two customized vans – specially wrapped in CCA’s brand colors and logo – which will be driven by members of our Outreach & Marketing team in the communities we serve. Chris Palmieri, CCA’s President and CEO, cut the ceremonial ribbon alongside Robert Katzman, CCA’s Director of Outreach & Marketing, and William Boylan, CCA’s Manager of Facilities, who were both instrumental in securing and customizing the vehicles. Similar celebrations are being planned for our locations in Charlestown and Springfield later this month – stay tuned for details. In the meantime, look for our vans in a neighborhood near you!
May 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
When Elizabeth Shaw of Commonwealth Care Alliance discovered that her patient’s Nebulizer treatment wasn’t working, she knew she had to get the situation fixed as soon as possible. The patient had been misleadingly marked as “non-compliant,” leading many caregivers before Liz to ignore the patient’s complaints. Patients given this designation often feel ignored by the overloaded healthcare employees that are responsible for them, making the development of their care plans more difficult. No one had taken the time to listen to the patient and discover why her asthma treatment was not working the way that it should.
“‘Non-compliant’ was written everywhere so people stopped trying to see a solution,” Liz remembers about the patient. “Most people who are labeled ‘non-compliant’ would rather be compliant. If given the means and the tools, they will be.”
Liz worked hard to establish a trusting relationship with the patient. By listening to what worked and didn’t for her, taking the time to get to know the patient, and establishing what her actual goals were, Liz was able to find ways to make her become more invested in her own health. Once Liz discovered that the patient didn’t have a phone and was unable to read, she was able to arrange a much better care system for the patient’s obstacles.
After nearly four decades in the field, Liz has worked in almost every type of nursing environment, including hospitals and rehab facilities. She prefers the gravity of the work she is doing now with CCA, out of Charlestown. “I think this is the biggest job I’ve ever had,” she says.
In the field, Liz faces a series of socioeconomic factors that directly affect the health of her patients. “Probably 70 percent of people I take care of suffer from generational poverty,” she says. They also often suffer from a wide variety of behavior and mental health issues. To overcome these obstacles, Liz uses a simple approach: she establishes trust with her patients before trying to input medical advice.
“We take care of the whole person and not just one part of them,” she says. This holistic approach has guided her success.
At home, Liz faces a different set of challenges that make every day feel just as rewarding: She takes care of the developmentally delayed daughter she adopted from the foster care system 26 years ago. This experience has only helped to shape her views of the patients she cares for on a regular basis.
Balancing her work and home life has shown Liz the importance and power of being flexible when working in the healthcare industry. “You make a plan for the day,” she says. “And you have to be willing to let it go.”
Liz would encourage anyone that is interested to enter this career track. “I wouldn’t be anything else than what I am,” she says. “This is a great field.”
May 11, 2017 § Leave a comment
One of Anita Santana’s first patients at Commonwealth Care Alliance never told her nurse she was blind. Like most CCA patients, the woman dealt with a variety of complex issues. She spoke only Spanish, had no family, and suffered from numerous medical and behavioral health concerns. Because she was unable to manage her medications and control her health problems, she was frequently hospitalized.
Anita, a registered nurse who lives in Springfield, visited the woman in her home a couple of times a week, earning her trust and trying to figure out how to deliver the right care. Eventually, she asked the woman to show her how she measured her blood sugar levels.
“It was clear right away that couldn’t see,” says Anita. “She couldn’t read the screen, she couldn’t administer the test right – she couldn’t actually measure her blood sugar or administer the insulin.”
As Anita learned, the woman was legally blind in one eye, and had impaired vision in the other. Anita referred her to the Mass Association for the Blind, and they provided magnifying glasses and other tools. Anita helped the woman get a glucometer with a Spanish display and instructions, and insulin pens that we easier for her to use.
“For the first time in her life, this woman was receiving the care she needed,” Anita says. “This wouldn’t have happened through the standard ten or fifteen-minute office visit. I had to really get to know her and understand her socio-economic needs.”
After more than sixteen years in nursing, including nearly eight at CCA, Anita has seen a number of changes in healthcare, and worked in hospitals, community health centers, and patients’ homes. At CCA, she treats members in Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee, and prefers the long-term impact of in-home patient care, particularly for underserved populations.
“You get to see the patient through from beginning to end,” she says. “Plus, when you are treating someone at home, you can help identify barriers to care, and spend more time on healthcare education and prevention than on just acute treatment.”
She has also learned a number of lessons about nursing.
“Good nurses look at their patients as a whole,” she says. “Especially when you’re dealing with vulnerable populations, it’s critical to understand that healthcare may not be their primary concern. Learn about their environment and their circle of family and friends. Listen to what they tell you.”
As for any advice she would give people considering a career in nursing, Anita says, “the education process is difficult. But the outcomes once you’ve completed school are much more rewarding.”
May 10, 2017 § Leave a comment
In his keynote address at the d.Health Summit this morning, Dr. David Blumenthal, President and CEO of The Commonwealth Fund, cited Commonwealth Care Alliance’s model of care as one of the “foremost and most hopeful approaches for caring for the frail elderly.” He also stated that CCA has been effective in “reducing hospital and nursing home use and improving care experiences” for this population.
The d.health Summit, convened annually, is a national forum for healthcare leaders, entrepreneurs, technology firms, policymakers and senior care advocates to exchange ideas, create new relationships, and foster disruptive technological and process innovations to improve the lives of the nation’s aging population.
The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.