WellCare and VillageMD are teaming up on a new primary care initiative in Houston.
The two organizations are joining forces to target WellCare Medicare members in the region with in-home primary care services, because many of these beneficiaries may struggle with transportation to appointments, they announced Monday.
VillageMD’s [email protected] unit provides integrated primary care that includes nursing, pharmacy and social services to homebound or otherwise complex patients, according to the announcement. It will also be able to monitor these patients using remote tools.
“With ‘no transportation’ cited as a frequent problem for seniors who miss medical appointments, [email protected] helps ensure our members get the right care at the right time in the most appropriate setting,” Sue Podbielski, vice president of WellCare’s network enterprise performance, said in the announcement.
“Greater access to healthcare has been related to better health status, more frequent use of preventative services and lower hospitalization rates,” she added.
WellCare joins several other insurers announcing new investments in primary care services.
Humana and Doctor on Demand joined forces to launch a new virtual primary care plan, and Humana has also signed on with Aledade for a value-based primary care program. In addition, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas announced plans to open 10 clinics over the next year.
Aetna also announced a new primary care partnership, teaming up with Oak Street Health to expand access to value-based care for its members in Michigan and Indiana.
Putting a spotlight on primary care can drive down healthcare costs and improve outcomes, and experts have called on health plans and policymakers to invest more in getting people to see a primary care physician regularly.
[email protected] has produced notable results to date, according to the announcement, including cost savings and a reduction in admissions.
“This is an important partnership to provide more local care and reach seniors where they are and where they need it most,” VillageMD CEO Tim Barry said.