Aetna Better Health announces Medicaid STAR Kids contract award in Texas

Aetna Better Health announces Medicaid STAR Kids contract award in Texas
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DALLAS — Aetna Better Health of Texas, a CVS Health company (NYSE: CVS), today announced the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) awarded the company a STAR Kids Medicaid managed care contract in the seven-county Dallas service area. With this new award, Aetna Better Health will now serve the state's STAR Kids beneficiaries across the entire Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex. Aetna Better Health's entry into the Dallas service area complements its ongoing, successful STAR Kids operations in the neighboring six-county Tarrant (Ft. Worth) service area, where it has served STAR Kids beneficiaries since 2016. More broadly, Aetna Better Health of Texas has covered Medicaid beneficiaries in the state since 2006, beginning with the state's separate STAR and CHIP programs in the Bexar and Tarrant service areas, which comprise a total of 14 counties across the state.

"Through our longstanding relationships with the State of Texas, our provider partners and community-based organizations, Aetna Better Health has provided Medicaid beneficiaries in Texas with access to quality care for more than 14 years," said Cheryl Harding, CEO, Aetna Better Health of Texas. "By expanding our footprint into the Dallas service area, we have an opportunity to help an additional 7,500 children and young adults in the STAR Kids program achieve better health outcomes."

STAR Kids is a Texas Medicaid managed care program that serves children and young adults (ages 20 and younger) who have disabilities. The program provides benefits such as prescription drugs, hospital care, primary and specialty care, preventive care, personal-care services, private-duty nursing, and durable medical equipment and supplies. Children and young adults who receive additional services through the Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP) waiver receive those MDCP services through the STAR Kids program.

Aetna Better Health of Texas currently serves 85,000 members across the state through the STAR, CHIP, and STAR Kids Medicaid programs. The STAR Kids expansion into the Dallas service area will bring an additional 7,500 enrollees to Aetna Better Health of Texas. The Dallas service-area STAR Kids contract is expected to become operational September 1, 2020 and runs through at least August 31, 2022.

About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health business, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of the most medically vulnerable, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has particular expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve approximately 2.4 million people in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas. For more information, see www.aetnabetterhealth.com.

Media contact

Leigh Woodward
818-395-0928
woodwardl1@aetna.com

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Data analytics uncovers opportunities to help members at risk for COVID-19

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Aetna’s clinical and customer service teams are helping to support Medicare and other members who at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and may suffer serious illness from the virus. The enhanced outreach is thanks to a new patient risk tool developed by a cross-functional team of CVS Health clinical and data analytics colleagues.

The unique tool, which utilizes data from published clinical studies, Aetna claims data and publicly available COVID-19 tracking information, helps identify members who live in areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases and may be at increased risk for severe infections.

“The COVID-19 pandemic does not impact our membership evenly. Medically complex members living in hotspots are at particularly high risk,” said Daniel Knecht, M.D., Vice President of Health Strategy and Innovation. “This new model, which offers a county-by-county overview, helps us direct our telemedicine, nurse case management, and other patient resources where they’re needed most.” 

A number of pre-existing health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and hypertension, are believed to increase the risk of serious outcomes from contracting COVID-19. By determining which Aetna members live in geographic areas with large numbers of COVID-19 cases and may have higher risk factors, clinical and customer service teams can connect with members by phone and other means to help them understand their personal risks. Case managers also discuss the importance of proper social distancing, good handwashing and other hygiene techniques, as well as potential symptoms of COVID-19.

“This model allows us to produce a daily map that lets us understand what’s happening across the country,” said Gui Woolston, Vice President, Clinical Product Analytics. “By calculating the high-, moderate- and low-risk Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial populations, we can ensure that our outreach is appropriate to the patient’s needs.”

Engagement ranges from phone calls to digital outreach or mailed postcards, all centered on sharing critical prevention strategies as well as helping to assess symptoms, where needed. Case managers and customer service representatives educate members about enhanced benefits that have been put into place during the pandemic. And they connect members with the additional social support and other services they may need to stay well during the pandemic.

“If there’s a second wave of the pandemic, it will be important that we have this infrastructure in place and ready to deploy,” Knecht said, adding that the model could be helpful in other types of public health incidents.

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New Aetna care packages help members recovering from COVID-19 to heal at home

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Being hospitalized with COVID-19 can be an intense and frightening experience, as patients and their families cope with the diagnosis and treatment and focus on the best path to recovery.

As the scope of the coronavirus pandemic continues to expand, Aetna is showing its commitment to help support and protect its members who have been through this experience with a new initiative focused on the healing process.

Aetna has developed Healing Better COVID-19 care packages that arrive to members’ homes within a few days once they are discharged from the hospital with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.Distribution is dependent on recent hospital discharge for COVID-19 diagnosis and supply availability. As of April 15, more than 1,200 kits have been mailed.

“Patients are facing fear and uncertainty upon being discharged from the hospital; it can be difficult to keep track of everything that’s being communicated to them,” said Dr. Daniel Knecht, vice president, Health Strategy and Innovation. “Delivering these care packages directly to members’ doorsteps is an opportunity for us to go beyond what most people would traditionally expect from their health insurer, especially at such a vulnerable time.”

A COVID-19 care package, provided to members through the Aetna Healing Better program.

The packages include CVS Health store brand personal care items and informational content adapted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on how to best manage symptoms and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additional resources include access to the Aetna COVID-19 microsite and emotional support, including information on the 24/7 Resources For Living crisis hotline.

“By partnering across the organization, we are pleased to provide in-demand CVS Health products that reflect our commitment to going the extra mile for the people we serve,” said Mike Wier, senior director, Omnichannel Merchandising, CVS Health.

A cross-functional collaboration between Aetna and CVS Health Marketing, Commercial Product, Strategy, and Clinical colleagues led to the creation of the care packages. The group led a proactive approach to reach members by taking into consideration immediate and long-term member needs. The program will continue for a limited time.

“We’re committed to helping members heal better,” said Justin Steinman, vice president, Commercial products, Aetna. “There are still so many unknowns about COVID-19, and we understand that for many people hospitalized with the virus, it’s not uncommon to worry about the road to recovery. The care packages won’t solve everything, but we’re hoping these deliveries help members focus on recovering.”

Aetna’s Healing Better COVID-19 care packages are an extension of the Healing Better program, which helps members who schedule hip or knee replacement surgery to prepare for the surgery and navigate recovery. Resources for this program include proactive outreach from care managers; personalized education on recovery resources such as assisted mobility devices; mental and physical health support resources; pain management options; and a pre-surgery care package.

Visit our COVID-19 resource center to learn more about how CVS Health is responding to the coronavirus.

A COVID-19 care package, provided to members through the Aetna Healing Better program.
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CVS Health announces actions to support health care providers and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

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CVS Health today announced several steps to support Aetna-contracted health providers and their patients in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re committed to helping providers, plan sponsors and our members navigate through this unprecedented time,” said Karen S. Lynch, President, Aetna Business Unit and Executive Vice President, CVS Health. “The actions we’re announcing today are designed to offer relief to our community of health care providers and clinicians facing financial and administrative strain, allowing them to focus on delivering high-quality patient care.”

Actions include:

  • Commitment to prompt and accurate claim payments. CVS Health and Aetna business continuity plans ensure timely and accurate payment of claims. Provider payments will continue to be made without disruption even while Aetna supports plan sponsors with financial flexibility through this challenging economic environment.

  • Helping hospitals prioritize COVID-19 patients. Aetna changed prior authorization requirements for post-acute care hospitals and long-term acute care hospitals nationally, helping hospitals and emergency rooms make room for more patients, especially those suffering from COVID-19.

  • Enabling greater capacity with healthcare providers. Aetna is streamlining its provider credentialing process so there can be more health care professionals caring for patients.

  • Enhancing telemedicine policies to enable more providers to visit patients virtually. Aetna reimburses all providers for telemedicine at the same rate as in-person visits including behavioral services, with the exception of some telephone-only services in commercial plans.

  • Ensuring full provider reimbursements for waived member cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Aetna will pay the amount of the cost-sharing the member would have ordinarily paid related to COVID-19 testing or inpatient treatment so there is no financial impact on the provider.

  • Providing behavioral health support. Frontline health care workers, first responders and other essential workers are playing a pivotal role helping individuals and communities through the pandemic. Resources for Living®, Aetna’s employee assistance program, is offering support to solve housing and childcare issues, facilitating group counseling and providing materials on the importance of self-care, safety, and mindfulness.

These steps build on previously announced efforts to help Aetna members access the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, including cost-sharing and co-pay waivers for diagnostic testing and telemedicine visits, in-patient treatment and expanding patient access to medications.

The company is providing the latest information on its response through its frequently-updated COVID-19 resource center.

Anyone presenting symptoms compatible with COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. We're evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that's in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings – from HealthHUB® locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions – are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we're transforming health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

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Medicare COVID-19-related inpatient treatment update from Aetna President Karen S. Lynch

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Aetna, a CVS Health company, will waive member cost-sharing for inpatient admissions at all in-network and out-of-network facilities for treatment of COVID-19 or health complications associated with COVID-19. This policy applies to all Aetna Individual and Group Medicare Advantage members and is effective March 25, 2020 for any such admission through June 1, 2020.

This policy for our Medicare members is similar to the policy in place for Aetna Commercial insurance members announced on March 25 waiving member cost-sharing for COVID-19-related treatment.

“This action is one of many we’ve taken to support our most vulnerable Medicare members during this unprecedented crisis,” said Karen S. Lynch, President, Aetna Business Unit and Executive Vice President, CVS Health. “We are doing everything we can to make sure our Medicare members have simple and affordable access to the care they need as we face the pandemic together.”

For the latest information on our response and steps consumers should take to stay healthy, please visit our frequently-updated COVID-19 resource center.

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Aetna Whole Health Launches In Atlanta Providing Fully Insured And Self-Insured Health Care Options For Employers

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ATLANTA Aetna, a CVS Health company (NYSE: CVS), is now offering fully insured and self-insured health care network options to its Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Exclusive Product Organization (EPO) product portfolios through Aetna Whole Health℠Atlanta.

As part of the greater metro-Atlanta area launch, two local distinguished health systems, Emory Healthcare and Northside Hospital System, are teaming up with Aetna Whole Health Atlanta beginning on April 1. These award-winning and nationally recognized health care systems and other providers will offer Aetna Whole Health Atlanta members access to approximately 900 primary care doctors, 3500 specialists, 14 hospitals and more than 500 outpatient care facilities across the metro-Atlanta area.

"Our Whole Health offering is the first of its kind in Atlanta, developed to support a unique PCP delivery model, providing quality medical care by way of doctor-driven plans," said Frank Ulibarri, Aetna's president in Georgia. "Over the past two years, we worked diligently to improve both the experience and cost structure for our members in the market. The result is a product that truly acts as a bridge, allowing more coordinated and accessible health care options, designed to lead to better outcomes."

Aetna Whole Health features a new model of health care delivery created to:

  • Reward doctors for improving patient care quality
  • Lower medical cost growth over time by reducing waste, improving care coordination and closing care gaps
  • Enhance each patient's experience with care management programs
  • Support effective patient and primary care doctor relationships

Northside Hospital leads the U.S. in newborn deliveries and is among the state's top providers of cancer care, sports medicine, cardiovascular and surgical services. As the most comprehensive academic health system in Georgia, Emory Healthcare offers exceptional care and innovative discovery across more than 70 specialties, including national rankings in nine specialties and Georgia's first and only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

"Emory Healthcare and the Emory Healthcare Network are pleased to collaborate with Aetna as it offers a new health care network option to Atlantans," says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, president, CEO and chairman of the board of Emory Healthcare. "Providing health care options will allow local residents to choose the most appropriate plan for themselves and their families, with a continued focus on excellence in quality, care delivery and outcomes."

As a key feature, CVS HealthHUBs are fully integrated into this new care model for Atlanta. HealthHUBs are recognized for an expanded range of services, including primary care and wellness products. Today, there are 16 HealthHUBs operating in the region with 15 to 20 additional locations planned for 2020.

"This new infrastructure allows doctors and their care teams to do what they've been trained to do focus on providing quality medical care," said Eric Anderson, regional vice president, Aetna. "We are excited about the positive impact this innovative product may bring to employers, employees and their families in greater Atlanta."

About Aetna

Aetna, a CVS Health business, serves an estimated 38 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental and behavioral health plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, visit www.aetna.com and explore how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world.

Media Contact

Katherine Wetzel
404-859-0703
wetzelk@aetna.com

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Columbus-based Dedicated Senior Medical Centers founded and operated by ChenMed in partnership with OhioHealth establish relationship with Aetna

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Three Columbus primary care locations accepting Aetna HMO and PPO Medicare Advantage members

COLUMBUS, OhioDedicated Senior Medical Center (“Dedicated”) and Aetna today announced that Aetna Medicare Advantage (MA) plan members in the Columbus, Ohio Metro area have a new quality provider option. Those enrolled in Aetna HMO and PPO MA plans can now receive covered services from Dedicated.

Dedicated provides personalized services and value-based care to Medicare-eligible people with a focus on seniors age 65 or older. Its primary care doctors welcome scheduled and walk-in appointments. They also share their mobile phone numbers with patients for when health needs arise. Dedicated promotes smooth transitions of care through coordination with OhioHealth.

Dedicated centers are operated by ChenMed. Several months ago, ChenMed opened three Dedicated centers in underserved areas of Columbus. ChenMed expects thousands of people to soon benefit from care at the north (2260 Morse Road), east (Whitehall; 5156 East Main Street) and west (Hilltop; 50 North Wilson Road) Dedicated locations.

Aetna’s work with providers like ChenMed aligns with its aim to support seniors in underserved, diverse and low-income areas. Besides the three Ohio clinics, Aetna contracts with ChenMed centers in Florida and Pennsylvania.

“ChenMed gives our Medicare Advantage members access to quality, value-based care across the country,” said Charles Brown, Aetna’s Chief Medicare Officer of Ohio and Kentucky markets. “The three Ohio clinics help us serve Aetna Medicare Advantage plan members through personalized and coordinated care.”

The Dedicated centers provide the access to care patients expect. This includes timely appointments, longer office visits and on-site specialists. They also provide X-rays, echocardiograms, ultrasounds and medication dispensing. Transportation is also available to patients when they need it.

The Dedicated concept is simple and particularly beneficial to seniors age 65 or older, many of whom live with chronic health issues. “The more our doctors see their patients, the better they know them,” notes Paul Hicks, M.D., MSHCM, Associate Chief Medical Officer for the Dedicated centers in Columbus. “And, like all ChenMed doctors, we earn trust every day by helping people stay healthy with preventive care that’s highly personalized.”

ChenMed plans to help improve the health of people at nearly 80 medical centers in 10 states, by the end of August 2020. ChenMed medical records show primary care doctors in their clinics average 10 times more face time with patients than a typical doctor does. Instead of the national average of 21.7 minutes of direct time with patients yearlySource: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ahcd/namcs_summary/2016_namcs_web_tables.pdf, 2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey; Mean time spent with internal medicine physician., ChenMed doctors average more than 210 minutes annually.

About Aetna

Aetna, a CVS Health company, serves an estimated 38 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental and behavioral health plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, visit www.aetna.com and explore how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world.

Aetna Medicare is a HMO, PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Our SNPs also have contracts with State Medicaid programs. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area. Other physicians and providers are available in our network. The provider may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary. Participating physicians, hospitals and other health care providers are independent contractors and are neither agents nor employees of Aetna. The availability of any particular provider cannot be guaranteed, and provider network composition is subject to change.

About OhioHealth

OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church. Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth has been recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics, an honor it has received six times. It is also recognized by FORTUNE as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has been for 13 years in a row, 2007 to 2019.

Serving its communities since 1891, it is a family of 30,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a network of 12 hospitals, 200+ ambulatory sites, hospice, home-health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area.

OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Berger Hospital. For more information, please visit our website at www.ohiohealth.com.

About ChenMed

For seniors most in need of care, high-quality health care often is beyond reach. ChenMed brings concierge-style medicine — and better health outcomes — to the neediest populations. ChenMed is a privately owned medical, management and technology company that currently operates 59 primary care medical practices for diverse populations of seniors. ChenMed brands include Chen Senior Medical Center, Dedicated Senior Medical Center, and JenCare Senior Medical Center.

Results of ChenMed’s high-touch approach to primary care are impressive, as illustrated in the Modern Healthcare cover story (October 20, 2018), which reports, “Indeed, ChenMed's approach has resulted in 50 percent fewer hospital admissions compared with a standard primary-care practice, 28 percent lower per-member costs and significantly higher use of evidence-based medications.”

Inspired by ChenMed Chairman and Founder James Chen, M.D., Ph.D., the company has been serving low-to-moderate-income seniors with multiple complex chronic conditions for over 30 years. Learn more about the high-growth company by visiting www.ChenMed.com.

Media Contacts

Robert Joyce
CVS Health
860-273-3965
JoyceR@Aetna.com

Mark Hopkins
OhioHealth
614-309-8674
Mark.Hopkins@ohiohealth.com

Jim Brown
Dedicated Senior Medical Center, ChenMed
305-310-7214
James.Brown@ChenMed.com

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Addressing social isolation among seniors

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With studies showing social isolation can be as damaging to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, loneliness can be just as dangerous as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

That's why addressing social isolation is a major focus for Aetna’s Medicare business and care managers, who are taking a more holistic view of senior health to help get them on a path to better health.

With studies showing social isolation can be as damaging to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, loneliness can be just as dangerous as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
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“The most common challenge with our senior patients, honestly, is that so many of them have no one,” says Aetna Field Case Manager Sarah Fischer, RN. “So many of them don’t have families. One lady said to me, ‘I’m the only one left.’"

Watch the video to see how case managers are introducing seniors to benefits such as the SilverSneakers fitness program, community volunteering and other opportunities for social connection.

“We get them involved, get the area office on aging involved. There are senior newspapers, things like that,” says Sarah. “We just bring these benefits to the member and say, ‘Let’s get you involved in something.’”

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

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Building lifelong connections for children in foster care

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Groups of child welfare professionals work as teams.
Groups of Kansas Department for Children and Families' child welfare professionals and other child welfare professionals from agencies across the state work as teams at the Family Finding Boot Camp. Credit: Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal
Kevin Campbell addresses about 100 social workers during an event.
Kevin Campbell, founder of the Center for Family Finding and Youth Connectedness, trains about 100 Kansas social workers during the Family Finding Boot Camp. Credit: Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal

For many of us, the concept of finding family members often involves searching on a genealogy site or signing up for an at-home DNA testing kit. There is an element of fun and intrigue, inspiring individuals to better understand their family roots. For many young children and teens in foster care, however, locating family members isn’t a pastime, but a necessity for daily living. These connections will help them grow and thrive.

Recently, more than 100 child welfare professionals in Kansas participated in the Family Finding Boot Camp, led by child and family welfare expert Kevin Campbell. Aetna Better Health of Kansas, the Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF), and Casey Family Programs sponsored the four-day event. As the founder of the Family Finding model, Campbell spoke about key methods and strategies to locate and engage relatives of children currently living in out-of-home care. The goal of Family Finding is to connect each child with a family or a “network” (blood relative or not), so that every child may benefit from the lifelong connections that a family would typically provide.

Healing Children and Families

Over the years of developing Family Finding, Campbell found that most foster children have a large extended family, and if they could connect with five to eight adults who would make a “permanent relational commitment” to the child, it could change outcomes significantly.

“The training is really about how do you heal children who have had such harm done to them? And how do you heal the whole family? Because this kind of generational experience has to stop somewhere.” — Kevin Campbell
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“The training is really about how do you heal children who have had such harm done to them? And how do you heal the whole family? Because this kind of generational experience has to stop somewhere,” said Campbell.

Kellie Hans Reid, foster care coordinator with Aetna Better Health of Kansas, affirmed, “Research shows that traumatic experiences affect children’s health, like metabolic and cardiac health. We also know that we build our lifelong health in childhood. Yet, if we start early enough, there is so much we can do to alleviate the effects of childhood trauma, prevent reoccurrences, and hopefully improve long-term health and disease outcomes.”

Expanding Safety Networks

During the boot camp, Campbell empowered attendees with information on how each of them can help extend the overall safety networks of the children they work with — meaning family, friends or acquaintances that genuinely care about the child and who can serve as a relational resource. Campbell also discussed how to facilitate a community of unconditional love and healing to combat and lower the toxic stress and loneliness these children and their families are experiencing — improving mental and physical health outcomes.

Organized into 27 teams, social welfare professionals collaborated throughout the week to apply the Family Finding model to their current cases. Based on a series of criteria, they prioritized the children who were their biggest worry. By the end of the training, participants reported locating an average of 19 contacts per child, for a total of 500 contacts across all teams combined — this was an increase of 84 percent from the beginning of the week. This number broke the American record for the average number of relatives identified in a Family Finding Boot Camp, which typically averages 14 connections per child.

Key Takeaways

Attendees expressed how the boot camp training had an immediate impact on their practice with families and their individual outlook. Sample words used to describe experiences included: hopeful, moved, excited, inspired, connected, empowered, optimistic, transformative, motivated, challenged, refreshed, and appreciative, among others.

Looking to the Future

“This work has huge implications for connection, healing, improved health outcomes and combating loneliness in Kansas and beyond, potentially reducing the reliance on foster homes and congregate care,” said Josh Boynton, a member of the Medicaid Growth team focused on complex populations strategy. 

David Livingston, CEO of Aetna Better Health of Kansas, added, “This week’s Family Finding training represented preliminary efforts to empower local communities to take action and create meaningful changes in the lives of young individuals. As we look ahead to 2020 planning efforts, our goal is to continue investing both significant time and resources to improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families throughout Kansas.”

About Aetna Better Health of Kansas

Aetna Better Health of Kansas believes that members should have the opportunity to be leaders in their care. Aetna Better Health uses a model of care management that empowers members to decide what their health goals are, and then the plan works with them, their families, providers and caregivers to help them achieve their goals. The payoff to our members comes in the form of increased quality of care and quality of life. Aetna Better Health services individuals who qualify for KanCare in the State of Kansas.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

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Fighting Pneumonia With a Toothbrush: New Program Is Yielding Results

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A woman smiling with a toothbrush in front of her mouth.

A first-of-its-kind CVS Health initiative to combat hospital-acquired pneumonia through better oral health is improving outcomes and receiving rave reviews from patients. Launched earlier this year, the Rush to Brush program has supported more than 10,000 Aetna members undergoing surgery with kits containing high-quality oral care products, education and a personalized ‘get well soon’ card.

“The program has allowed us to offer members a simple health care solution right at their fingertips,” said Daniel Knecht, M.D., Vice President of Health Strategy and Innovation for CVS Health. “It also shows the power of bringing key industry stakeholders together to solve a problem unearthed by member data.” 

Leveraging the information contained within surgery pre-certifications, the kits arrive in-home to members approximately one week before their scheduled hospital admission. The effort is designed to help reduce the incidence of pneumonia, the number one hospital-acquired infection and one of the most life-threatening illnesses patients can contract. 

Oral care is critically important in the post-operative setting because the mouth is filled with bacteria. “We want to shift the paradigm around oral health in hospitals. It’s actually more important to take care of your teeth and mouth when you go in for surgery, not less,” said Mary Lee Conicella, DMD, Aetna’s Chief Dental Officer. One study found disease-causing bacteria—especially those linked to pneumonia—present in 90 percent of patients within 72 hours of being admitted to the hospital. Those bacteria don’t just stay in the mouth, however; they are often inadvertently inhaled into the lungs.https://www.aha.org/2018-03-29-what-your-hospital-doing-about-1-hospital-acquired-infectionhttps://msphere.asm.org/content/1/4/e00199-16https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4414413https://aricjournal.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s13756-016-0150-3

Brushing one’s teeth greatly reduces the population of bacteria in the mouth, according to nurse-researcher Dian Baker, Ph.D., professor at California State University, Sacramento. “When patients brush their teeth, they’re basically taking their bacterial count from hundreds of millions down to just a few, and this greatly reduces their risk of pneumonia.”

Dr. Baker’s research inspired the Rush to Brush program, which is paying dividends in terms of clinical results, member satisfaction and reduced health care costs. Early results demonstrate decreases in the incidence of pneumonia among members who received the Rush to Brush kit when compared to those who did not.Data based on early observations of pneumonia claims within 90 days of procedure, not yet statistically significant. Additionally, estimates project that the program will yield substantial savings in avoidable medical costs across Aetna’s commercial and Medicare business.

A note from a patient who took part in the Rush to Brush program.
A note from a patient who took part in the Rush to Brush program.

And members love it. Seventy percent took the kit with them to the hospital, and 95 percent have expressed positive feelings toward the program and Aetna. Members who received the kit have been effusive, saying the initiative “shows that Aetna is caring and considerate” and that “the fact that Aetna took a vested interested in my recovery meant so much.” One member noted that the kit “took the guesswork out. All items were needed, all items were used – this was better than flowers!”

In addition to collaborating with Dr. Baker, Aetna worked with plan sponsor Johnson & Johnson as well as Colgate-Palmolive and IntelliDent to outfit the kits with Colgate Total toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, Listerine Zero mouthwash, disposable toothbrush shields and tips on good oral health.

The program illustrates CVS Health’s and Aetna’s unique ability to use clinical and member data insights to unlock members’ health care needs, allowing us to bring together the resources to meet our members on their road to recovery and better health.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

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