Innovative Alaska health plan outperforms many others

Ten years ago, patients from the  Southcentral Foundation, a nonprofit health provider serving Alaska Natives, made it clear that the health plan was not meeting patient needs. Southcentral listened, and restructured the entire way that care was delivered.

Southcentral became a patient-focused plan, integrating physical, mental, social and spiritual services. Primary-care teams work closely with mental or behavioral health services, and traditional native healers are involved when appropriate. Southcentral patients can now get same-day appointments, and can also communicate with their health teams by e-mail, phone or fax.

Southcentral is now outperforming many better known health plans in Alaska and in the rest of the U.S in both performance and quality, according to the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS).

(SOURCES: Kaiser Health News, http://.kaiserhealthnews.org, January 26, 2010)