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Health and Long-Term Care Program Integration

Social/health Maintenance Organization

The first generation of this Medicare demonstration, known as the S/HMO, was implemented in 1985 with the objective of adding a package of chronic care benefits to the acute services and operational structure of the Medicare HMO model. Chronic care benefits included nursing home stays (usually a maximum of thirty days), and personal care, homemaker, and case management services. There was an annual (and in some cases monthly) limit on the amount of services a member could receive. S/HMOs also offered expanded care benefits (such as prescription drugs, eyeglasses, transportation, and preventive dental care) to all members.

The S/HMO demonstration was testing the efficacy of offering and managing access to chronic care benefits (e.g., nonskilled home care), and examining how the expansion of responsibility into community-based care affected the health plan's general approach to its Medicare eligible members. Four sites participated in the initial demonstration. These first generation S/HMOs used a traditional model of outpatient and inpatient physician services and hospital utilization control, with each of these functions operated independently from the functional assessments, and chronic care benefit authorization and case management available to frailty qualified members. Contacts between physicians and case managers were limited—usually to the authorization of Medicare services (Harrington et al.).

In 1995 the Health Care Financing Administration (the agency responsible for the Medicare program) initiated the planning of a second generation model of the S/HMO. The second generation model retains the chronic care benefit package implemented in the first generation plans, and it adds several fundamental refinements intended to better integrate and coordinate primary care and the management of high risk cases. Most important of these was an attempt to develop a strong geriatric service model of care. The "geriatric" approach includes a screening program intended to identify patients at risk for high service costs and disability; timely application of primary care monitoring and treatment to reduce illness and disability; and a geriatric education and consultation program to provide specialty support for complex cases. Care management supports the primary care functions for those requiring home care, those discharged from hospitals or nursing homes, and those who are having difficulty complying with their treatment regimen. Case management efforts are closely integrated with the provision of primary care, including conferences among the various professionals. The proactive attention to clinical care and preventive services requires the definition of "risk" to include acute and chronic conditions and problems, in addition to the limitations of activities of daily living that have been more typical in the long-term care field (Kane et al.). One second generation plan became operational in 1997.

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 2Health and Long-Term Care Program Integration - Program Of All-inclusive Care For The Elderly, Social/health Maintenance Organization, Screening And Service Coordination In Medicare Hmos