Aetna (NYSE:AET) and Univita Health are working together to offer a transitional care program to Aetna Medicare Advantage members in Texas in a bid to reduce hospital readmissions.
The Texas partnership began in January and allows eligible Medicare Advantage members who are discharged from certain participating hospitals in Houston, Dallas, Forth Worth, Austin, and San Antonio to enroll in the transitional care program. The program helps participants to transition smoothly from the hospital or skilled nursing facility back to their home, which can help prevent avoidable hospital readmissions.
“Aetna is focused on offering programs and services that help lead to better health outcomes through collaborative care coordination,” said Dr. Randall Krakauer, Aetna’s national Medicare medical director, in a statement. “We already offer our Medicare Advantage members a number of care management programs to help improve the quality of care and reduce health care costs. The new transitional care program will help Medicare Advantage members who are treated in a hospital receive coordinated home-based care as they complete their recovery.”
Aetna and Univita have administered similar programs using evidence-based approaches, which they say have been shown to reduce avoidable rehospitalizations “significantly.”
Once eligible Aetna Medicare Advantage members are admitted to a participating hospital, one of Univita’s specially trained nurses reaches out to the member and their caregiver. The nurse engages with the member about their condition and discharge plan to determine the type of support the patient will need when they return home.
If patients are admitted to a skilled nursing facility before going home, the nurse will also interact with the member while they’re in the facility. Then, when patients are back in their homes, the Univita nurse can help in a variety of ways, including assessing the person’s living conditions, educating the patient and their caregiver on their discharge plan, and describing how to take medications properly.
The nurse can also explain signs and symptoms that may necessitate a call to the doctor and stress the importance of follow-up physician visits, along with coordinating with an Aetna nurse case manager who will be assigned to each member.
“The coordinated home-based care offered in Univita’s Bridges transitional care program has proven to be a valuable element in ensuring a patient’s full recovery,” said Dr. John Mach, president of Univita’s complex case management division.
Written by Alyssa Gerace