Humana: How Medicare Advantage helps deliver value-based senior care

Home health senior nurse
A Fierce Healthcare-hosted panel Tuesday heard from payer experts on the state of senior care and opportunities for improvement. (KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty)

Primary care for seniors should be purposeful, team-based and recognize the complexities that drive their health outcomes, according to Humana.

“The hallmark of the challenges that seniors face is that their lives are complex, their health problems are complex, they live in complex environments. And we have a fragmented healthcare system,” Humana’s chief medical officer William Shrank, M.D., said this week during Fierce Healthcare's latest virtual summit. 


A key way of bridging that gap is by taking a whole-person approach by tracking elements like social determinants in patients, which play a defining role in their lives, Shrank noted.

And unless their provider tracks these contexts, patients cannot focus on their primary chronic or acute needS, added Renee Buckingham, segment president of Humana’s primary care organization, during the panel.

Patients are receptive to such a value-based approach, said Buckingham. Not only do both patients and caregivers want a high level of integrated care, it also leads to better outcomes. It’s no surprise, then, that the market continues to grow, Shrank said. 

RELATED: BMA: Medicare Advantage enrollment swells to 26M in 2021 thanks to plan offerings, employee options

“Many of our patients come into our centers and participate in activities in our community rooms because they really do think of our centers as their medical home,” Buckingham said of Humana’s clinics. 

The best partnerships, both speakers said, are ones that share in a commitment to value-based care. And a Medicare Advantage plan, Shrank said he believes, can be a better partner to primary care organizations than just Medicare. That’s thanks, in part, to its ability to wrap around care management services and pull on existing deep relationships in communities.

Shrank also applauded the flexibility granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use allocated funds toward benefits that address social or behavioral factors. 

“That payer-provider integration really sets the foundation for those other pieces to be able to be successful,” Shrank added.