Commonwealth Care Alliance tops 20,000 members

January 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

As of January, Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) is now serving more than 20,000 members, highlighting the growing demand for the organization’s innovative approach to caring for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid in the One Care and Senior Care Options (SCO) programs. This membership level achievement follows close behind news that CCA’s One Care plan was the highest rated Medicare-Medicaid Plan in the nation in 2016.

Commonwealth Care Alliance nurse and patient“This important milestone highlights our growing impact as a safety net for more and more of the most vulnerable individuals in Massachusetts,” said Chris Palmieri, president and chief executive officer of CCA. “This is a testament to the efforts of our tremendous staff, who work every day on new ways to provide the highest quality care to our members at the right time and in the right setting, while reducing the cost to the health care system.”

CCA members have a wide range of complex health issues, including chronic medical problems, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness or a history of substance abuse. CCA’s innovative, integrated approach to care has been proven to enable individuals with complex needs to live as independent and as full lives as possible, while reducing costs to the health care system.

CCA’s OneCare plan tops national rankings

December 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Commonwealth Care Alliance’s (CCA) One Care Plan received the nation’s highest overall health plan rating in the 2016 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey, administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The results were released by CMS as a snapshot of the 2016 CAHPS survey, and CCA’s One Care plan scored atop the 40 Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMP) measured.

“The staff at CCA are tremendously proud of this rating,” said Palmieri. “Our members touch the health care system far more frequently and far more in depth than most people ever will. They have multiple chronic health conditions, often including significant physical or developmental disabilities, and many struggle with behavioral health problems and substance abuse. Some are homeless; some are homebound. CCA’s outstanding results are a testament to the dedication of our staff in providing the best possible care to these members every day.”

According to the Integrated Care Resource Center, MMPs are required to annually conduct the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) CAHPS survey, which is designed to measure important aspects of an individual’s health care experience including the accessibility to and quality of services. Respondents are asked to rate their health plan on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is the worst health plan possible and 10 is the best health plan possible. CCA earned 92 percent of the best possible score, topping MMPs from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.

CCA’s One Care program is the largest Medicare-Medicaid Plan in Massachusetts, with close to 12,000 members from age 21 to 64. Members manage a wide range of complex health issues, including chronic medical problems, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness or a history of substance abuse. CCA’s innovative, integrated approach to care has been proven to enable individuals with complex needs to live as independent and as full lives as possible, while reducing costs to the health care system.

For more information on the MA-PD CAHPS survey see http://www.ma-pdpcahps.org/.

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To learn more about CCA’s One Care program, click here.

CCA’s Senior Care Options earns 4.5 stars from CMS

October 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

This week, Commonwealth Care Alliance was awarded a 4.5 star rating, out of a possible 5 stars, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its Senior Care Options (SCO) program.

capture-1CMS’s quality ratings system is designed to help consumers, their families and caregivers easily compare the highest quality plans available to them. CMS rates Medicare health plans on a scale of one to five stars, with five stars representing the highest quality. The overall scores are based on a large number of care and service quality measures across five categories, including staying healthy, managing chronic conditions, member satisfaction, customer service, and pharmacy services.

CCA’s Senior Care Options program provides and coordinates all services covered under Medicare and MassHealth in addition to other benefits deemed necessary by each member’s primary care team. SCO is available to Massachusetts residents age 65 and older who live in Bristol, Essex, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Suffolk and Worcester counties, as well as some cities and towns in Franklin, Norfolk and Plymouth counties.

Click here to learn more about SCO.

 

Dually Noted from around the web

September 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

Articles, commentary, research, and more from the past week

Family Caregivers
Understanding that it’s becoming more common for families to act as caregivers for older family members, Kaiser Health News offers tips for how to make this work best for everyone involved as “caregivers are, on the one hand, heavily relied upon but on the other hand overlooked.” Tips include documenting the caregiver’s identity in the family member’s medical records, assessing your actual capacity to care for family members, obtain training for care-tasks you’re not familiar with, and include the local community in some aspects of the care process.

Parents, families and drug addiction
An article from The New York Times discusses the struggle with addiction facing our country. The article highlights that the opioid epidemic in New England (and elsewhere) has reached such proportions that it is no longer a shock to see drug users collapse in public. It cites that in Massachusetts alone, more than four people a day die from drug overdoses. The article points out that what is new, is that addicts are increasingly buying drugs, getting high and passing out with their children in tow. “Children are as much the victims of what we’re seeing in this epidemic,” said Marylou Sudders, the secretary of Health and Human Services in Massachusetts. “It’s a poignant reminder that our interventions have to be broader than just treatment for the individual but have to include loved ones, especially children.”

CCA at HUBweek: “Meeting demand through non-traditional new approaches to care”

September 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

This week, Commonwealth Care Alliance’s Chief Medical Officer Toyin Ajayi, MD, MPhil, presented at HUBWeek’s “Synaptic Gap: 21st Century Brain Science Meets Mental Health Treatment and Policy.” During the day-long forum, Dr. Ajayi spoke on the panel “Meeting demand through non-traditional new approaches to care” along with Niels Rosenquist, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, Emma Stanton, BM, MRCPsych, MBA, of Beacon Health Options, and Sara Wakeman, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

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When discussing mental health care and addiction, Dr. Ajayi stressed the importance of ownership by physicians and said this is vital as “We have the same opportunities [to achieve success] in the treatment of substance use disorders that we do with other chronic diseases, like diabetes. We in Primary Care can make a real difference in caring for patients who struggle with addiction, and it’s not acceptable to say that it’s somebody else’s problem.”

Dr. Ajayi went on to highlight how important it is to foster integration between medical and behavioral health providers, similar to what we do at CCA, to ensure patients get what they need, emphasizing that this is crucial for healthcare systems of the future.

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The panelists also discussed how technology is improving and advancing healthcare, the importance of reducing stigma around mental health and substance use, ways to foster improved team-work and collaboration amongst health professionals, metrics for evaluation of mental health outcomes, and models for caring for individuals with severe persistent mental illnesses.

HUBWeek is organized in partnership by The Boston Globe, Harvard, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital, and is billed as a weeklong celebration of innovation and creativity in the greater-Boston area. The topics discussed range from healthcare and technology to philosophy and civic debate.

Dually Noted from around the web

September 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

Articles, commentary, research, and more from the past week

Fall prevention among the elderly
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, in 2014, older Americans (over the age of 65) fell 29 million times, leading to seven million injuries. The study reports that approximately 2.8 million cases were treated in emergency departments, and approximately 800,000 seniors went on to be hospitalized for fall-related issues, where more than 27,000 falls led to death. Fall prevention is crucial and it is recommended that older Americans go for regular eye exams, get rid of their throw rugs, and retire their high heels – among other tactics.

Neighborhoods influence health, for better and for worse
In an article in STATNews, a doctor explains the health disparities his patients experience, correlated to the neighborhood’s they are born and raised in. He explains that there is a “10-year difference in life expectancy between residents of the Upper East Side and East Harlem. In other neighborhoods across the country, the gap is even larger.” He further explains that “To save lives, it simply isn’t enough to provide the best clinical care we can. As we transition from fee-for-service care to population health management, we must do more than “bend the cost curve” and provide health care more efficiently. We must look beyond the walls of our health centers and hospitals and into the communities where people live their daily lives.”

Opioid-linked deaths dip as ODs rise
Opioid-related deaths are down this year in Boston despite an uptick in overall overdoses, and Narcan use has spiked by more than 25 percent, city officials say. According to Emergency Medical Services, from January to September of this year, there were 2,193 narcotic-related illnesses — which, along with overdoses, include withdrawal sickness — up from 1,914 during the same time period in 2015. Overdose reversal agent Narcan was administered 1,151 times this year, up from 857 times last year.

ServiceCorps Helps College Grads Do Good, and Do Well

September 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

ServiceCorps, a new program launched in Boston and New York City, allows corporate bound college graduates to delay their for-profit careers to work full time in the social sector. This means that non-profits like Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) have been able to hire and work alongside top-quality college graduates.

Many entry-level employees today “want a work environment that’s meaningful and motivating, and they want to have impact on a larger community,” said Raymond McGuire, Citi’s global head of corporate and investment banking, “and ServiceCorps allows them to do just that.”

After graduation, Becky Andrews was offered a financial management position at General Electric when they offered her the option to defer her start date for a year and work at a non-profit.

“I still wanted the job, but I also really wanted to do a volunteer or nonprofit experience so I could develop different skills before I went to GE,” explained Andrews.

Becky now works here at CCA, a Boston health care organization for low-income patients.

At CCA, she added, “they’ve given me so many responsibilities, and it’s helping me learn more about myself and my strengths and weaknesses.”

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