LOUISVILLE, Ky.–Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) and Meals on Wheels America are teaming up to provide in-person delivery of warm meals, social visits and safety checks, as a benefit and a means to positively impact the health of Humana Medicare Advantage (MA) members on select plans in Richmond, Virginia; Louisville, Kentucky; and Tampa, Florida.
The two organizations are launching a benefit focused on those living with multiple chronic conditions and more vulnerable Humana MA members in special needs plans (SNPs), who can access this benefit after an in-patient hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF) stay, or to help manage certain chronic conditions. There are about 6,000 members eligible for the benefit, which will launch January 1, 2019.
The goal of the intervention is to improve health and reduce hospital readmissions among this high-risk population by providing access to nutritious food and addressing loneliness. Additional benefits include access to a Friendly Visitor program. Under this program, if a Humana Care Manager determines the MA member needs additional in-home support, a volunteer visits for one-hour weekly for up to 13 weeks to engage in dialogue, companionship and assist with light chores.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to improve health by providing interaction and access to nutritious food,” said Caraline Coats, Vice President, Bold Goal, Office of Population Health at Humana. “Social determinants of health – like food insecurity, loneliness and social isolation – can exacerbate the impact chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease and depression can have on health. By thinking holistically about the needs of members, we can develop comprehensive programs to overcome the barriers preventing them from achieving their best health.”
Louisville, Tampa and Richmond are Humana Bold Goal communities, where the company is working with local physician practices and community organizations to address physical and mental health conditions, as well as social determinants and health-related social needs. Members in eligible plans in the three pilot markets will be contacted by their Humana Care Manager after discharge from an in-patient hospital or SNF stay or when the member has certain chronic conditions. The member will receive information about the program and can elect to participate. Physicians can also refer their patients who are members of these MA plans to the program through their Humana Care Manager.
“The implications of multiple chronic conditions and longer healing cycles, coupled with the social isolation that often accompanies old age, make it a challenge to ensure the health and well-being of high-risk seniors,” said Lucy Theilheimer, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, Meals on Wheels America. “Meals on Wheels programs’ ability to act as ‘eyes and ears’ in the home align well with Humana’s Bold Goal efforts, and together, we can facilitate the delivery of services that improve health outcomes and promote independence among a particularly vulnerable population.”
Elements of the program include:
Meal Delivery, Social Visit and Safety Check: Participant receives a daily warm meal and a chilled/frozen meal, Monday through Friday, for 20 days post-acute and/or 10 days per eligible chronic condition, along with a brief safety check and social visit, conducted by the volunteer who delivers the meal.
Friendly Visitor: Qualifying members experiencing loneliness can choose to receive a weekly one-hour extended visit for up to 13 weeks from a volunteer who will engage in conversation and help with light chores.