ICS Care Connections Pilot Program: Reducing ER Visits

Home care aide makes sure medication is properly taken

ICS Pilot Program Reduced Emergency Room Visits

Last year about 1200 ICS members were enrolled in a pilot program called Care Connections. We wanted to find out whether increased support and training for their home care aides could make a difference in keeping these members healthy.

Whether alerting us to the need for medical intervention, or providing the hands-on care needed to prevent repeated hospitalizations, the eyes, ears, and skill of home care aides are essential ingredients of our members’ well-being. To make the most of this relationship, the aides of ICS members in the Care Connections program learned from senior aides how to spot early signs of possible health problems in the members they care for. They received instruction on the best ways to communicate their observations, so that ICS care managers could quickly find out and take action when a member needed additional services or medical attention.

In some cases – for example, when a member was in frail health, had endured a recent medical crisis, or had recently returned home from a hospital stay – the aides were also trained to use a telemedicine device to alert ICS about changes in the member’s condition.

By catching a problem early, we believed we could often prevent an emerging health condition from becoming a medical crisis. And, in fact, this is exactly what happened: emergency room visits of ICS members in the Care Connections pilot program dropped by 24 percent.

ICS COO Regina Estela spoke with Crain’s Health Plus about the program last week. You can read the Crain’s story here.

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