SCAN launches in-home, virtual primary care medical group

SCAN Group has launched a new primary care medical group aimed at reaching seniors with a combination of virtual and in-home services.

The new group, called Welcome Health, will offer affordable, high-quality care to members of SCAN Health Plan as well as other Medicare Advantage insurers. It will welcome its first patients in 2022, according to an announcement from the California-based insurer.

The medical group's care model is built on the "philosophy of geriatrics," which puts a priority on providing care that aligns with a patient's goals.

"We have to meet patients where they are, and the care should revolve around the patient rather than revolve around the provider," said Scott Weingarten, M.D., CEO of Welcome Health, in an interview with Fierce Healthcare.

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Welcome Health's clinicians are experienced in caring for seniors, SCAN said in the announcement, which does require unique expertise. These clinicians will have a background in treating dementia, falls, frailty, polypharmacy and loneliness, common challenges in geriatric care.

Providing care in the home and virtually allows the Welcome Health clinical teams to reach seniors who want to age in place as well as those who may face significant barriers to accessing care in person, Weingarten said. Those challenges can range from lack of access to transportation to lingering fears of going to in-person visits as the pandemic rolls on.

Weingarten said he's inspired in part in the new CEO role by his mother, who avoided visits to her doctor for the better part of a year because she was afraid of exposure to COVID-19.

"We think there are other seniors out there like my mother who would benefit and prefer to receive their care in their home if it were available," he said.

In addition, specialized senior care in the home allows clinicians to more directly examine the patient's environment identifying potential risks such as falls and managing their medications more effectively. Welcome Health's clinical team, for example, can identify drugs in a patient's medication regimen that may be doing more harm than good for their ongoing care.

“With Welcome Health, SCAN is broadening our offerings in keeping with our mission to keep seniors healthy and independent,” said Sachin Jain, M.D., president and CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan, in a statement.

Welcome Health is the second medical group launched by SCAN this year.

This summer, SCAN launched Healthcare in Action, another medical group that aims to provide care to homeless patients. The group's approach is built on providing street medicine to seniors, which is a growing population among the homeless.