WellCare’s Staywell Health Plan Offers Behavioral Health Care via Telehealth to Increase Access, Convenience and Engagement for Its Florida Medicaid Members

Through its relationship with IMPOWER, an Orlando-based nonprofit mental health and child well-being organization, Staywell members are able to have video conference sessions with clinicians using a computer or tablet from the comfort of their own homes. This convenient option eliminates the time and cost associated with traveling to appointments and missed work or school. If medication is needed, it can be delivered directly to members’ homes, in some cases within 24 hours.

Until this month, IMPOWER was the only behavioral health organization in Florida with permission from the state for its providers to prescribe controlled substances for the treatment of mental illness to telehealth members. The Florida Board of Medicine recently updated its telemedicine regulations to allow other telehealth providers to also prescribe under the right conditions.

Jennifer Castro, 41, of Davenport, is a big proponent of telehealth. She and her 14-year-old son, Angel, are Staywell members.

After the unexpected death of his father, Angel, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, withdrew even further. He stopped eating and didn’t want to go to school. Castro got him the behavioral health care he needed, and persuaded him to give telehealth a try.

“It was hard to convince him, but he loves his therapist now,” Castro said. “It’s been helping. You can see it on his face. His self-esteem is improving big time.”

Castro, who works as a preschool teacher at a daycare center, also appreciates the convenience and savings. She doesn’t miss the hour-long drive to his appointments, or the cost of gas and food breaks along the way. Now Angel just takes the family laptop into his room for his appointments.

“Offering convenient treatment options to help our members get the care they need is critical to maintaining health and well-being,” said Julie Harmon, WellCare of Florida’s director of product operations – behavioral health. “Telehealth is a very convenient option that increases access to care, especially for those who live in rural areas and busy families juggling work and school schedules.”

“IMPOWER has been the pioneer in utilizing telehealth for psychiatric and therapy services in Florida,” said Anna M. Baznik, IMPOWER’s president and CEO. “From the onset of our contract with WellCare, we have been strategic partners to both pilot test and implement our platform in Central Florida and soon statewide.”

IMPOWER entered the telehealth arena due to a lack of available psychiatrists in the state, Baznik said, and quickly saw the benefits for members in improved access to care. Through telehealth, she said, members can get almost immediate access to a clinician versus traditional appointments, which can carry a three-month wait list.

“We are working to change the face of mental illness and improve outcomes,” she said. “Our partnership with WellCare has been key to our success thus far.”

For more information about IMPOWER, visit http://www.impowerfl.org/who-we-are/.

As of Dec. 31, 2015, WellCare serves approximately 781,000 Medicaid members, 55,000 Florida Healthy Kids members, 107,000 Medicare Advantage members and 39,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Florida.

About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. The Company serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2015. For more information about WellCare, please visit the Company’s website at www.wellcare.com or view the company’s videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.

Anthem, Humana, UnitedHealth Partner with Grocery Stores to Keep Members Healthy | FierceHealthPayer

Three insurers–Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealth–hope to compel their members to eat better by partnering with local grocery stores to create special member programs that provide discounts of up to 10 percent on certain healthy foods, reported Kenosha News.

The grocery programs show that insurers increasingly adopt a preventive care approach to insurance. UnitedHealth, for example, has been working to capitalize on the fact that retail is a “significant portion of individuals’ lives” by creating new retail partnerships so consumers can access all aspects of the insurance industry, Tom Paul, chief consumer officer at UnitedHealth, previously told FierceHealthPayer in an exclusive interview.

The nation’s largest insurer has recently partnered with Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Roundy’s Supermarkets to launch its Healthy Savings program, which lets members save money on certain grocery products. (Read more at FierceheathPayer.com)

Innovation Meets Insurance: 5 More Disruptive Payers | FierceHealthPayer

FierceHealthPayer has recognized five more payers that recognized the growing trends this year and made leaps and bounds to revolutionize both their businesses and the industry. Click here to read the article.

Allegheny Health Network, Highmark Health and Johns Hopkins Medicine Announce Collaboration

PITTSBURGH, Pa., Dec. 22, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — via PRWEB – Officials at Highmark HealthAllegheny Health Network, Highmark Inc. and Johns Hopkins Medicine today announced the signing of a new master collaboration agreement that will complement the formal oncology collaboration that began earlier this year. These collaborations aim to leverage the collective strengths of the organizations and improve the availability and affordability of health care to Pennsylvania patients.

“Highmark Health is proud and excited to expand the scope of our partnership with Johns Hopkins to improve patient care today and in the future,” said David L. Holmberg, president and chief executive officer of Highmark Health. “Our goal is to ensure that patients have affordable access to high-quality health care services, and the increased collaboration we anticipate with Johns Hopkins through this agreement is an important step in the fulfillment of that mission.” Continue reading

Colorado Wins $65 Million Health Care Innovation Grant

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo., Dec. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has awarded Colorado $65 million in State Innovation Model (SIM) funding to create a coordinated, accountable system of care that improves integration of physical and behavioral health services.

The award builds on an earlier planning grant Colorado received in 2013, which funded development and identification of four major goals:

  • Create a coordinated, accountable system of care that gives Coloradans access to integrated primary care and behavioral health.
  • Leverage the power of the public health system to achieve broader population health goals and support delivery of care.
  • Use outcomes-based payments to enable transformation.
  • Engage individuals in their care. Continue reading

Wellmark, Hy-Vee & UnityPoint Health Collaborate on New Health Insurance Plans

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Hy-Vee and UnityPoint Health jointly announced a unique new option in health insurance, collaboratively designed to reward customers for healthy behaviors. Blue RewardsSM integrates the true coordinated care of the UnityPoint Health provider network combined with the retail convenience of Hy-Vee’s pharmacy, healthy food, wellness and dietitian services all in an affordable ACA-health insurance option from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

“This collaboration is part of our strategy to keep health care local and sustainable, and promote health through convenience,” said Laura Jackson, Wellmark’s executive vice president for Health Care Innovation & Business Development. “We know consumers turn to brands they know and trust, which makes this collaboration among three strong Iowa brands even more meaningful for Iowans.” Continue reading

AmeriHealth NJ to Offer Self-Funded Administrative Services to Employers with 51-99 Employees

CRANBURY, N.J.–()–AmeriHealth New Jersey today announced it will provide employers with 51-99 employees the option of obtaining self-funded administrative services. Continue reading

2.8 Trillion U.S. Healthcare Market Threatened By Disruptive New Entrants Like Those That Reshaped Retail, Banking and Travel, According To PwC’s Health Research Institute

NEW YORK, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — New entrants are poised to draw tens of billions of dollars in revenue from traditional healthcare’s $2.8 trillion revenue pie as these market disruptors rapidly develop


 products and services like the innovations that transformed banking, entertainment and publishing, according to Healthcare’s New Entrants: Who will be the industry’s Amazon.com?, a new report released today by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI). HRI found that consumers are ready to embrace new options being developed by new entrants from the retail, technology and telecommunications sectors, from smartphone otoscopes to online evaluations of digital photos of rashes. Continue reading

Humana Appoints Christopher Kay as Chief Innovation Officer

LOUISVILLE, Ky.–()–Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies, announced today that it has appointed Christopher Kay as Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, effective March 17. Kay will report to President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Broussard and serve on the company’s Management Team.

In his new role, Kay will lead the company’s innovation strategy. Among other priorities, he will focus on innovations in personalized health designed to simplify the health care experience, leading to better health outcomes. Continue reading

Aetna and Medtronic Collaborate to Help Members Take Better Control of Type 2 Diabetes

HARTFORD, Conn. & MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Beginning this month, Aetna (NYSE: AET) and Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) will work with doctors in a new program to reach up to 300 fully insured members with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes who may improve their health using insulin pump therapy. Eligible members will receive targeted education, case management and other patient support to help control blood sugar, which also may lower their health care costs. Information gathered from the program also is expected to help doctors and other health care providers more easily identify and support those who can benefit most from this therapy.

“We want to help members with type 2 diabetes to enjoy a more flexible lifestyle and have better glucose control. Improving education and assistance for those learning to use insulin pumps may help increase consideration and successful use of a proven therapy that can help them achieve these goals,” said Ed Pezalla, M.D., Aetna’s national medical director for pharmacy policy and strategy. “We also are excited to create value-based arrangements with companies like Medtronic who are ready to share accountability for the role their products and services play in improving members’ health.” Continue reading