Helping Homeless and Impoverished Women Get the Health Care They Need

October 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

Commonwealth Care Alliance, together with nonprofit Women of Means, are helping homeless and impoverished women get the health care and support they need.

Reporter Liz Kowalczyk of the Boston Globe talked with Dr. Robert Master, CEO of Commonwealth Care Alliance about this new program designed for Medicare and/or Medicaid patients and Commonwealth Care Alliance’s role.

Below is an excerpt from the article; “Taking Health Care to The Street” that ran over the weekend:

Under the pilot program that Soto joined, the nonprofit health care organization Commonwealth Care Alliance receives a global fee from Medicare or Medicaid — or both, if a patient is “dual-eligible’’ — to provide all care for a group of patients. Commonwealth Care uses some of that money to pay Women of Means, so it can expand its services. Commonwealth Care providers also treat the women.

“We are re-envisioning a primary care model that could potentially significantly improve the care of this group and perhaps start to move more people into housing,’’ said Dr. Robert Master, chief executive of Commonwealth Care. “A physician in a typical practice has 15 minutes to see a patient. It’s impossible to develop the engagement.’’

The program covers glasses, dentures, and most dental services — which traditional fee-for-service Medicare and Medicaid do not — and nurses and doctors see the women in shelters, apartments, coffee shops, or public parks. Providers are trained specifically in caring for trauma victims, since over 90 percent of homeless women report having experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

The women who participate in the program must agree to get hospital care at Boston Medical Center, where Commonwealth Care Alliance has doctors who can help coordinate inpatient care.

Commonwealth Care is spending $400 to $500 a month on each patient for primary care and care coordination, Master said, and the ultimate test is whether this sizable investment pays off in fewer emergency room visits and admissions to hospitals and psychiatric facilities.

“This is very much a learning experience,’’ Master said.

Read the full article here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/10/13/pilot-program-tries-improve-care-make-less-costly-for-homeless-and-very-poor-elderly-women/S6gFSEu1ewdB4iJ3QP9XdO/story.html

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