Aetna Better Health of Illinois, an Aetna Medicaid plan, and Addus Home Care, a national provider of home and community-based services (HCBS), will conduct a pilot study on the impact of providing smart phones to home care aides who assist Illinois residents served under the state's Integrated Care Program (ICP).
In a release, the groups said that ICP provides assistance such as meal preparation, bathing, housekeeping and transportation to seniors and adults with disabilities who qualify for Medicaid. The pilot study seeks to demonstrate the benefits of smart phones to help home care aides report changing health conditions of members in real time to supervisors and to the members' primary care physicians. Addus Home Care aides are in consumers' homes on a frequent basis, observing changes in the physical, mental and environmental conditions of their clients.
"Through the mobile device, we can really put the home care aide on the health care team," said Mark Heaney, president and CEO of Addus. "Changes in an ICP participant's condition can be communicated in real time, allowing for early identification and intervention by health plan case managers."
According to the groups, in 2011 the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) implemented the ICP for older adults and for adults with disabilities who are Medicaid-eligible. The state's first integrated health care program, the ICP coordinates services across the continuum of care, helping to prevent unnecessary health care utilization and costs. Among the ICP's primary goals are improving clinical outcomes, preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and improving management of chronic conditions. Aetna Better Health and Addus Home Care administer the program, which operates in DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Will and suburban Cook counties, with 18,000 members.
"Aetna Better Health of Illinois has a deep commitment to its members and to using innovative approaches to better coordinate the care of its most fragile members. Our collaboration on this important project clearly demonstrates that commitment," said Sanjoy Musunuri, CEO of Aetna Better Health of Illinois.
Home and community-based services are designed to help members remain in their homes. According to a 2010 analysis of Illinois' long-term care services conducted by HCBS Strategies, Inc., providing these services to at-risk older adults has reduced overall nursing home utilization, and has helped control Illinois' long- term care spending.
In the ICP pilot, Aetna Better Health and Addus expect to leverage home and community-based services to provide similar results with emergency and acute care services. Aetna and Addus plan to conduct an outcome study on the program in 2014.
((Comments on this story may be sent to email@example.com))