Program to reduce hospitalizations launches in Missouri

Bethesda Md.-based Coventry Health Care and Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based Medco Health Solutions this week launched a study aiming to reduce hospitalizations and hence lower health care costs for high-risk elderly individuals living in Kansas City and St. Louis.

According to the Medco release, the Coventry program is the first comparative effectiveness study designed to identify seniors most at risk for hospitalization and reduce such risk by using a coordinated health care team that works directly with patients through regular home visits and phone communications.

The care teams - consisting of a Coventry nurse case manager, social worker and medical director, and a Medco specialist pharmacist - will work in tandem with the patient's primary care physician and outside care agencies to identify and address factors that leave patients in poorer health, including improper diet, inadequate management of health conditions and safety issues in the home.

The study will include approximately 2,150 patients living in St. Louis and Kansas City, MO, who are enrolled in Coventry's Advantra Medicare Advantage Plan and have been identified as having several risk factors for hospitalization. Enrollment in the study begins in late 2009 and patients will be monitored for one year after enrollment.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, December 3, 2009; Medco Health Solutions, http://medco.com, accessed December 4, 2009)