Thursday, May 19, 2016

How Community Advocacy Improves Health and Outcomes

By Rene Macapinlac

Access to primary care is important, but there are other factors outside of the doctor’s office that determine one’s health. To help its member lead healthier lives, health plans should focus on advocacy and community-based programs.

Speaking to attendees of the Medicaid Managed Care Congress in Baltimore, Carol Steckel, senior director of public policy at WellCare, emphasized how identifying community-based solutions help improve health outcomes of their members and ultimately lower overall cost of care.

At WellCare, Steckel said they examine the health and welfare in the populations they serve. Using that data, they are able to identify the gaps in the network of social services. Where needed they link their members to such services as housing assistance, employment services, food banks and education support. They also improve quality of life for residents by providing transportation for seniors and people with disabilities so that they could go to medical appointments, day programs and shop for groceries.

Linking members with the community and social services improves health outcomes and ultimately lowers overall cost of care.

Rene Macapinlac is the Director of Operations at ManagedCareBiz, an online resource for managed care professionals who need to stay up-to-date on industry news, analysis and commentary.

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