Including Consumers in the Future of Integrated Services

Members | December 05, 2018 | by Aaron Tripp

The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation at Community Catalyst convened a diverse meeting on November 28, 2018 to discuss the future for Medicare-Medicaid enrollees. Community Catalyst is a partner, alongside LeadingAge and the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMASS Boston.

The meeting brought together researchers, service providers, health plans, government officials, consumers, and their advocates around the central question of what is next for integrated care programs serving Medicare-Medicaid enrollees, those people who have coverage through both public health care programs.

Presenters highlighted the fact that Medicare-Medicaid enrollees, often referred to as dual eligibles, are a heterogeneous cohort. Within this cohort there is variation across age, disability status and type, presence of chronic conditions, and functional limitations. Many LeadingAge members can attest to this heterogeneity in the populations they serve.

Having the voice of the people enrolled in these various care models and service delivery systems is crucial to successful program design and implementation. This includes the social determinants of health and the importance of factors such as non-emergency medical transportation, access to affordable nutrition, and adequate supply of affordable housing which were articulated eloquently by the consumers present.

Tim Engelhardt, Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office, noted the importance of consumer input, which “makes us better public servants, makes you (at health plans and hospitals) better executives, and helps us create stronger systems for the people we serve.”

Many of the themes discussed during the panels and presentations resonated with LeadingAge’s work on integrated services, which recommends a person-centered, integrated service delivery model that:

  • Views and addresses the needs of older adults in a holistic fashion,
  • Uses available public and private resources more efficiently,
  • Achieves better health outcomes, and
  • Helps Americans live better lives, regardless of age.

The Financial Alignment Demonstrations have been significant tests of partnerships among states, the federal government, and health plans for integrated care programs. However, as evaluations of the demonstrations continue to be completed and released, it is important to note that the majority of Medicare-Medicaid enrollees do not participate in these programs. LeadingAge members—including the Post-Acute Care Network (PACN), TANDEM365, and the Supports and Services at Home (SASH) program—have a role to play in offering integrated care and serving as examples for new models.

Links to videos of the symposium sessions are expected later in December.