Care coordinator helps people on Medicare stay healthy

>>>Care coordinator helps people on Medicare stay healthy

Is there an older person in your life you worry about? Is he or she coping with a chronic disease or on Medicare A or B? If you answered “yes” to these questions, your loved one could most likely benefit from a care program offered by Memorial Regional Health called Medicare ACO.

This new program is an added benefit of Medicare A and B. Coverage stays completely the same; recipients simply receive the extra benefit of having a care coordinator help them manage their disease — and their life. The goal is to remove barriers to care, so people can experience stabilized health and ease in accessing care and health information. The program is led by Aimee Haskins, RN, a longtime employee with MRH.

“The goal is to keep people healthier and avoid the complications of disease,” Haskins said.

As a care coordinator, Haskins visits people with chronic diseases in their homes to perform initial Medicare visits and wellness visits, and help teach them how to best manage their disease so they can stay independent and avoid unnecessary hospitalization.

“Nobody wants to be in the hospital or emergency room, so we help catch problems before they become emergencies,” Haskins said.

She also manages care between multiple providers and helps patients resolve problems, such as access to medications, problems with transportation, access to healthy food and more by tapping into local resources. It’s a little like having a personal assistant help you with your healthcare needs.

For example, if you have diabetes, Haskins would meet with you about once per month, in person or over the phone, to follow up on your care plan and complete health checks. If you are elderly, this extra care can help you stay independent and remain in your own home for as long as possible. It’s a proactive monitoring of your health.

People who tend to need extra help managing their health are those suffering from COPD, congestive heart failure, diabetes, perforated artery disease, chronic pain and more. In Craig, Haskins see people with diabetes and COPD most frequently, but she’s there for those age 65 or older on Medicare A or B with any type of chronic illness.

“It’s an exciting new way to provide care. We look at it from the perspective of how can we best prevent health problems from happening, and help people maintain the highest quality of life possible,” Haskins said.

The service is free and includes a no-cost initial welcome to Medicare visit within the first year for those who are newly enrolled. For more information or to make an appointment, contact Haskins at Memorial Regional Health at 970-826-2467.