(LONG BEACH, Calif. – Nov. 16, 2015) — SCAN Health Plan’s Program for Advanced Illness, which helps members and their caregivers navigate the many health challenges associated with end-of-life care, was featured at the Healthcare Innovation Expo recently held in Washington, D.C. An annual event hosted by the Healthcare Leadership Council, the Expo provided the opportunity for more than 150 members of Congress as well as congressional staff to experience new tools, technologies and practices being developed by some of healthcare’s most innovative companies.
“Advanced illness poses difficult, often heart-wrenching questions for patients and their families; and it is important that these patients receive individualized care that reflects their quality-of-life goals and wishes,” said Romilla Batra, MD, SCAN’s chief medical executive. “SCAN’s Program for Advanced Illness is not about a particular course of treatment but rather a way for patients and their families to review their care options with a sympathetic trained professional who will advocate on their behalf for what is most valuable to them.”
Under the Program for Advanced Illness, a registered nurse, trained in a palliative approach, serves as the member’s personal case manager and ombudsman, offering assistance with care coordination and support with pain management. The nurse works closely with the patient, the caregiver and the entire medical team to ensure that everyone understands the critical decisions that are being made. Focusing on the physical, psychological, cultural and spiritual aspects of the patient’s life, the nurse helps the patient contend with such issues as how certain courses of treatment will impact quality of life and how they wish to spend the time they have left.
“SCAN’s mission is to keep seniors healthy and independent, and that shouldn’t stop as members approach end of life,” says Dr. Batra. “There comes a time when healthy is not an option, but we can help individuals maintain some measure of independence by ensuring their wishes are known and respected at every stage of care.”
Dr. Batra, who presented the Program for Advanced Illness at the Expo, says that since implementing the program in 2014 SCAN has seen a reduced number of hospitalizations, emergency department visits and readmissions among those members in the program as well
as increased referrals to hospice and palliative care. Of the members who died while in the program last year, 85 percent were where they had asked to be when their time came, which Dr. Batra says “respects their dignity and shows appreciation for a life well lived.”
SCAN is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans currently serving approximately 170,000 members in California. Further information may be obtained at scanhealthplan.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/scanhealthplan.
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Y0057_SCAN_9572_2015 IA 11122015