MEDICARE MANAGED CARE: Foundation Announces Grants To Improve Care
The California HealthCare Foundation today announced the first cycle of grants in its Program for Elders in Managed Care, a $15 million, five-year initiative designed to improve care for the 1.5 million Californians in Medicare managed care plans. The 13 awards include three full-scale demonstration projects and ten planning projects. Some of the projects will improve care for Alzheimer's patients and provide patient advocates to serve multi-ethnic populations. Others will connect community-level service providers with managed care organizations to help seniors live independently in their homes as long as possible. Andrea Gerstenberger, CHCF senior program officer, said, "California is the most ethnically diverse state in the country. Because of that, we felt it was especially important to address language and cultural differences that may be barriers to care for the elderly. Many of the grants we are announcing today are designed to address these challenges." Dr. Mark Smith, CHCF president, said, "The current system of care for chronically ill and frail elders is really a non-system. We hope through these grants to help fulfill part of the promise of managed care -- the promise of better coordination of services."
And The Winners Are...
A total of $2.72 million is being awarded to three demonstration projects, which will develop new mechanisms for identifying elders who need services; coordinate both the medical care and the supportive service seniors receive; and expand the roles of existing personnel so they can create comprehensive strategies to serve these elders' complex needs. The three-year demonstration projects are:
- Early Intervention: Jewish Family & Children's Services of San Francisco, in partnership with Brown and Toland Physician Services Organization and the University of California-San Francisco, will use a three-year $740,000 grant that will build upon a pilot project begun in 1993. Under that project, physicians and their staffs identified elderly patients who appeared to be in decline and in need of supportive services, and referred them to JFCS. The grant money will be used to expand the identification and early intervention program throughout its physician groups and study the model's impact on costs, patient and physician satisfaction and process of care.
- Alzheimer's: The UCSF/Goldman Institute on Aging and Sutter Health-Central Area, in cooperation with voluntary health agencies, physicians and Kaiser Permanente, will develop and test new ways of providing services to people with Alzheimer's and their caregivers within three separate managed care systems. The grant totals $993,000 over three years.
- Home- and Community-Based Care: Kaiser Permanente Tri-Central Continuing Care will use $990,000 over three years to test the addition of a home- and community-based services benefit (up to $2,000 per member, over a three-month period) for elders enrolled in the health plan's Medicare HMO. Kaiser Permanente will collaborate with the Visiting Nurse Association Foundation, the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, and the County of Los Angeles Area Agency on Aging.
CHCF is awarding a total of $749,408 for the 10 one-year planning projects, which will connect community-based service agencies, managed care organizations and others. One project will establish "care advisers" in ethnic communities to serve as advocates for those enrolled in managed care plans. Another initiative will develop a "one-stop shopping" system to connect Contra Costa County seniors to the full range of services to which they are entitled. Elders in rural Sonoma County will benefit from another planning project that will develop a coordinated delivery system for medical care and services. For more information on the Program for Elders in Managed Care grants, visit CHCF's website at www.chcf.org (CHCF release, 10/14).