Aetna is taking another step toward the home.
The managed health care company announced Tuesday that it is forming a new partnership with Landmark Health in New York to bring physician-led services into the homes of Aetna’s Medicare Advantage members.
The partnership further highlights a growing desire for more in-home medical and primary care, among other services. Just last week, Aetna — a CVS Health company (NYSE: CVS) — announced a partnership with primary care provider WellBe Senior Medical in the Chicagoland area.
Huntington Beach, California-based Landmark Health delivers in-home medical care to older adults with complex conditions. Founded in 2014, the company has grown its footprint to cover 48 cities in 15 states.
Within its network, Landmark is responsible for 114,000 patients with chronic conditions, according to the company.
Through its partnership with Aetna, Landmark will facilitate care to members in the New York City boroughs, Long Island, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo.
For Aetna, the new partnership with Landmark makes strategic sense for a variety of reasons.
Over the last several months, non-COVID-19 medical services have decreased in different parts of the country throughout the public health emergency. The dip is partly due to government-mandated elective surgery pauses, but also because of general fear over going to see an office-based doctor due to exposure risks.
In an August survey of 636 primary care clinicians from 47 states and Washington, D.C., nearly half of the respondents said in-person patient visits were 30% to 50% lower than pre-pandemic levels.
But Aetna says its relationship with Landmark pre-dates the COVID-19 virus.
“We’re seeing decreases in the utilization in a lot of the other medical services, but we actually started the discussion with Landmark pre-pandemic, almost two years ago,” Lauren Casalveri, Aetna’s vice president and chief Medicare officer in New York, told Home Health Care News. “So at that time, we identified the need to provide more ways of support to our members who have multiple chronic illnesses. The Landmark services will help us toward that goal.”
Meeting patients in their homes will increase their access to care in a more comfortable environment, particularly while COVID-19 fear is high, Casalveri noted.
The partnership will give up to 40,000 New Yorkers access to advanced in-home geriatric care. The types of care that Landmark will help provide includes wound care, lab draws, catheter maintenance, help with adherence to medication therapies, medication management, home safety checks and health screenings.
“[Landmark] is a great partner,” Casalveri said. “We were looking for some additional ways to provide support in the home, and we found we obviously had a common purpose and mission [with them]. They’ve also had extensive experience providing physician care in the home. They had a good track record in New York already and actually had worked collaboratively with some of the other physician practices, so it just looked like the right thing to do.”
Landmark will be an extension of Aetna members’ plans. Landmark will not take the place of members’ main primary care physicians.
Still, it will be working with primary care providers and sharing data from inside the home that those physicians may miss out on, in turn enhancing physicians’ ability to care for their patients.
Other in-home care services — such as ongoing nutrition, medication therapy, emotional and mental health support — are also covered under the plan.
“I would say that we expect the outcome of the partnership to be that it allowed us to provide alternative care and support to our members, particularly those with multiple chronic illnesses,” Casalveri said. “And I think it will also enable us to partner more effectively with community-based physicians, which will help with reaching this vulnerable population.”