New maternity program promotes safer pregnancies through personalized care

New maternity program promotes safer pregnancies through personalized care
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Initiative helps address maternal health crisis by informing expectant moms about the potential benefits of low-dose aspirin to prevent preeclampsia

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — To help address the unprecedented maternal health crisis affecting American women and support prenatal and postpartum care, Aetna, a CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) company, has launched a new initiative as part of the Aetna Maternity Program.

"Over the past two decades we've seen a steady rise in pregnancy-related deaths, and significant racial and ethnic disparities persist that can lead to poor maternal outcomes," said Troy Brennan, M.D., CVS Health Chief Medical Officer. "The main contributors to this crisis reflect deep-rooted issues within our health care system that we must address, including limited access to care."

Building on a long-standing commitment to connect expectant moms with care that meets their unique needs, this first-of-its-kind initiative is focused specifically on preventing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death that is characterized by new-onset hypertension during pregnancy. Preeclampsia can lead to serious maternal complications, including stroke, seizure and organ failure and accounts for 15 percent of all preterm births in the U.S. Rates of the condition have increased 25 percent in the last ten years alone.https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/low-dose-aspirin-use-for-the-prevention-of-morbidity-and-mortality-from-preeclampsia-preventive-medication

According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. is one of the only high-income countries where deaths related to pregnancy or childbirth are on the rise. Black women are also being disproportionately affected, with rates of severe maternal morbidity and mortality two to three times that of white women.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges, as many expectant moms may be attending fewer in-person prenatal care visits. In turn, they may increase their risk of developing complications that go undetected.

Recent recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and multiple medical professional societies recommend low-dose aspirin for the prevention of preeclampsia for women at high risk for developing the condition. By leveraging data analytics, the Aetna Maternity Program identifies pregnant women with risk factors for developing the condition for individualized outreach and education. Women at high risk are sent a personalized prenatal care kit that contains educational materials along with an 81-mg bottle of low-dose aspirin, a low-cost intervention that may reduce the risk for developing the condition. Members receive an appointment reminder card encouraging them to speak with their pregnancy care provider about the potential benefits of low-dose aspirin and whether it is right for them. All pregnant members are also mailed information developed by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine on preeclampsia and prevention steps.

"This is an innovative, simple way to promote safer pregnancies by enhancing awareness about an important cause of maternal and infant harm," said Daniel Knecht, M.D., Vice President of Clinical Product for CVS Health. "This initiative is also designed to help close gaps in knowledge by supporting members in conversations with their providers."

Low-dose aspirin as a preventive therapy

While there is no cure for preeclampsia, taking one low-dose aspirin a day has been shown to reduce the risk of the condition and some of its complications. Pregnant women with risk factors such as hypertension, Type 1 or 2 diabetes, obesity, and a history of preeclampsia benefit from the use of prenatal aspirin, according to the USPSTF. When this therapy was started in the first trimester in at-risk women, it reduced the incidence of hypertension by 24% and preterm birth by 14%.

To further support women's health, Aetna is exploring additional ways to partner with network physicians and provide this latest guidance.

"CVS Health has delivery channels that can bring critical information and resources such as low-dose aspirin right to members' doorsteps. This outreach is coupled with a care management program featuring highly trained and dedicated nurses to support the personalized needs of pregnant members," noted Joanne Armstrong, M.D., head of Women's Health for CVS Health and an OB/GYN.

For more information about the Aetna Maternity Program and the company's efforts to prevent preeclampsia, click here.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company. We're evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that's in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings from HealthHUB locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we're transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

Contact

Kathleen Biesecker
bieseckerk@aetna.com
703-472-8466

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Helping members stay well, at home

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers and other benefit plan sponsors are searching for more ways to support members’ health. People are experiencing both physical and mental challenges as they cope with isolation, economic hardship, disruptions to normal work and school routines, and the virus itself.

CVS Health is making it easier for employers and health plans to meet these growing challenges with the expansion of our Point Solutions Management offering. This program enables plan sponsors to more efficiently administer apps, online trackers and other digital point solutions that support their members’ self-care routines at home.

“Digital point solutions can help people manage important wellness areas like mental wellbeing, fitness and weight loss from the safety and convenience of their own homes,” said Sree Chaguturu, MD, Chief Medical Officer at CVS Caremark. “Employers and other plan sponsors increasingly are looking for better ways to include these kinds of tools in their benefits packages — especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The recently added solutions have passed CVS Health’s rigorous vendor evaluation process to ensure that they support health outcomes while helping to reduce costs. The five new point solutions available to CVS Caremark clients through Point Solutions Management include:

  • Daylight: A fully automated and highly personalized mobile app to tackle worry and anxiety, based on cognitive behavioral techniques. 

  • Naturally Slim: An online program that uses informative videos and learning tools to teach individuals how to lose weight and improve their overall health.

  • Vida: A weight loss program with an app that pairs individuals one-on-one with a health coach, helping members achieve their health goals through phone and video conversations.

  • WW: Weight Watchers reimagined — A weight loss app providing access to food and fitness trackers, thousands of delicious recipes, and community support.

  • Kurbo: A digital program for children and teens ages 8 to 17 that teaches users how to make healthier choices and lifestyle changes through weekly video coaching, in-app chat, messaging, games, and educational videos.

These solutions join Hello Heart, Hinge Health, Sleepio, Torchlight, and Whil that are available to CVS Caremark clients through our Point Solutions Management program.

Point Solutions Management is a full-service offering that leverages the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) infrastructure to help clients evaluate solutions, streamline vendor contracting, billing, eligibility verification and reporting. In total, ten solutions are now included as part of the program — addressing a broad range of health care concerns including chronic condition management, musculoskeletal health, stress reduction, mental health management, weight loss, and caregiver support.

This expansion is the latest in CVS Health’s ongoing innovation strategy, focused on meeting emerging client and member needs — while responding to acute concerns arising during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to regularly evaluate and update the offering to include additional vendors that support improved outcomes and help lower costs across key areas of health, including fertility, financial wellness and the social determinants of health.

For plan sponsors interested in learning more about Point Solutions Management, please visit the Point Solutions Management page on our Payor Solutions website.

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Transforming kidney care

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An estimated 37 million Americans live with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and nearly 700,000 have end stage renal disease (ESRD). Treatment can be challenging and costly for both patients and payers. In fact, dialysis alone costs Medicare approximately $120 billion annually. Yet, despite the enormous cost, patient outcomes are poor, with nearly one in six dialysis patients dying in the first year after starting treatment.United States Renal Data System. 2019 USRDS annual data report: Epidemiology of kidney disease in the United States. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD, 2019.

At CVS Health, we are working to fundamentally transform the treatment paradigm for the millions of patients with CKD and ESRD through CVS Kidney Care, a CVS Health company. Specifically, our CKD management program is focused on early identification of kidney disease, targeted patient engagement and ongoing education to help slow disease progression.

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Earlier identification and better patient education

Many people who have kidney disease don’t know it. In fact, in the U.S., 43 percent of those with severely reduced kidney function are not aware that they have chronic kidney disease. By promoting early diagnosis, we will work to help delay the onset of dialysis and avoid emergency hospitalization, which is one of the biggest drivers of cost in kidney care.

Our CKD care management program is focused on helping people understand their condition, delay the need for dialysis, and make confident treatment decisions when the time comes. For more information, visit the CVS Kidney Care website.

cvs heart

There is hope. A system that pays for kidney health, rather than kidney sickness, would produce much better outcomes, often at a lower cost, for millions of Americans.

Alex M. Azar III, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services

Aligned with HHS priorities

In 2019, an executive order aimed at improving kidney care helped launch a new Advancing Kidney Health initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This marked an important step forward in kidney care as the administration pledged to double the number of kidney transplants performed in the U.S and reduce ESRD kidney failure by 25 percent by 2030 through better education and care during early forms of the disease. Furthermore, the administration wants 80 percent of newly diagnosed people with kidney failure to receive a transplant or move from clinic-based dialysis to less expensive and more effective in-home care by 2025.

Our CVS Kidney Care focus aligns with the core objectives of this new initiative, and uniquely positions us to help advance and support the administration’s directives to improve early detection of and expand treatment options for kidney care. Across our CVS Health enterprise, we are committed to transforming the health care system to better meet the needs of patients and reduce overall costs. Our unique approach to kidney care is one way that we are doing this as we work to help more people on their path to better health. 

Visit the CVS Kidney Care website to learn more about our offerings.

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Women’s heart attacks aren’t like men’s

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"I’ve always lived a healthy lifestyle," says Tasya Lacy from Columbus, Ohio, who has been teaching hula-hoop fitness classes for years. Yet, the day before Easter 2016, at age 50, she had a heart attack.

"I was exhausted and felt like I pulled muscle in my back," Tasya, now 54, recalls. "My husband rubbed my shoulders and felt my heart racing. He told me we we're going to the hospital. I didn’t think I needed to.”

Doctors found 99% blockage in Tasya’s main coronary artery, requiring three stents.

It’s common for women to miss signs of a heart attack because they present differently from men. A man is more likely to have chest pains, a woman may experience flu-like symptoms: nausea and vomiting, excessive sweating, exhaustion, or pain in their arm or back.

Listening to your body could be the difference between and life and death. Literally. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease is the No. one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. Often because they ignored the symptoms. And, 20% of women age 45 or older who have who have a heart attack will have a second heart attack within five years of their first.

CVS Health is the national presenting sponsor of Go Red for Women — the American Heart Association’s heart health movement to end heart disease and stroke in women.

MinuteClinic® offers chronic care management and preventative care all year long, including measuring risk factors for heart disease. “We’ve expanded our available health care services for patients with certain chronic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure,” shares Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner, MinuteClinic. “Our providers are able to screen, assess, treat and monitor these conditions, as well as order lab tests, recommend lifestyle changes, prescribe medications and educate patients about their conditions.”

There's one more risk factor exclusive to women: menopause.

"The combination of estrogen and progesterone before menopause seems to provide a protective element against heart disease in women," explains Allan Stewart, MD, Medical Director for HCA East Florida’s Miami-Dade Cardiovascular Surgery Programs. However, once a woman goes through menopause, her risk of heart attack increases significantly.

Tasya was post-menopausal when she had her heart attack. Now she knows a simple truth about her health — when in doubt, always seek medical care.

Get proactive with preventive care

Visit a MinuteClinic to learn your personal health numbers — a starting point for a discussion with your health provider on your risk for heart disease: Total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI).

Visit cvshealth.com/GoRed to learn more.

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Addressing social isolation among seniors

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With studies showing social isolation can be as damaging to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, loneliness can be just as dangerous as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

That's why addressing social isolation is a major focus for Aetna’s Medicare business and care managers, who are taking a more holistic view of senior health to help get them on a path to better health.

With studies showing social isolation can be as damaging to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, loneliness can be just as dangerous as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
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“The most common challenge with our senior patients, honestly, is that so many of them have no one,” says Aetna Field Case Manager Sarah Fischer, RN. “So many of them don’t have families. One lady said to me, ‘I’m the only one left.’"

Watch the video to see how case managers are introducing seniors to benefits such as the SilverSneakers fitness program, community volunteering and other opportunities for social connection.

“We get them involved, get the area office on aging involved. There are senior newspapers, things like that,” says Sarah. “We just bring these benefits to the member and say, ‘Let’s get you involved in something.’”

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We can all help prevent suicide

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Suicide is a serious public health problem that impacts people, families and communities, including the workplace. While suicide rates have increased in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016, it is a cause of death that is also preventable.  

At CVS Health, we understand that a commitment to holistic health includes supporting mental and emotional health and working to prevent suicide. That’s why Aetna works in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to advocate for suicide prevention through engagement, awareness and education.  In observance of National Suicide Prevention Month, we’re highlighting some of Aetna’s initiatives to reduce suicide. 

To start, Aetna Behavioral Health is endorsing updated screening tools which are easy to administer and more effective at reaching all populations. 

“We believe there should be universal screening for everyone, not just high-risk individuals,” said Aimee Prange, senior strategic planner for Aetna Behavioral Health. “There are lots of individuals who may not demonstrate signs but are still thinking about suicide. If we ask questions, we can begin to create a safety net.” 

Aetna is also integrating patient safety planning and proactive outreach to members days after a suicide attempt with messages of hope. 

“We want to make sure members have a reason, and an avenue, to reach out to us to receive care management and other help,” said Prange. 

We are also working to engage caregivers, family members and friends to help impact suicide prevention. Support systems can help members develop important life skills and encourage them to get treatment and stick with it. In addition, they can provide safety and support to avert a time of crisis.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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Navigating a Behavioral Health Issue (Hint: Avoid the Internet)

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Unlike the flu – which a physician can typically diagnose and prescribe any necessary treatment for in a single office visit – navigating a behavioral health issue such as depression or substance use disorder is less clear.

“Understanding behavioral health conditions, and knowing where and when to seek help, can be a completely new experience for a member,” said Antonio Rocchino, Senior Director, Network Management, Aetna Behavioral Health. “We understand the instinct to try to find a facility on Google or seek help from a doctor featured on the news, but they may not provide the quality or expertise required in the particular situation.”

According to researchAetna Behavioral Health surveyed 273 members of the Building a Healthy Tomorrow and Aetna Medicare Communities from September 14 – 24, 2018. conducted by Aetna Behavioral Health, nearly 50 percent of consumers relied on the internet to identify inpatient behavioral health services. For those seeking an outpatient behavioral health provider, consumers asked their doctor for a referral (29 percent), called their insurance company (26 percent) or utilized a personal recommendation (17 percent).

“When seeking to access behavioral health care, attempting to reconcile a variety of recommendations, and the associated costs, should not be another source of stress,” said Rocchino.

Aetna is ready to help members identify appropriate care in their communities.

Aetna Behavioral Health can help members and their loved ones identify resources that best fits the situation, including facilities that are part of its Institute of Quality® network. These facilities, available in certain states, meet strict criteria and specialize in treating substance use disorder. Aetna Behavioral Health is also collaborating with certain facilities to go a step further and provide a personalized experience for the member, as well as their family and caregivers. Services could include certified peer support specialists and resources to improve social determinants of health, such as financial and legal issues.

Finally, and equally important, going in network may mean less money out of members’ pockets, and more services covered within agreed upon rates with providers.

Ready to learn more about behavioral health and accessing care? Aetna Behavioral Health has produced a series of new Let’s Talk Videos to help members better understand the variety of specialized resources within the Behavioral Health network, and the high-quality and value of the providers. Learn more about quality and costs by viewing the first two videos now. Videos on facing a mental health crisis, specialty resources and questions to ask will be available soon.

Watch Now

Coming Soon

  • Let’s Talk: The Value of a Network During a Mental Health Crisis
  • Let’s Talk: Specialty Resources Available In-Network
  • Let’s Talk: Questions to Consider When Choosing a Program or Facility

Aetna members can use DocFind to ensure they are always using an in-network provider. Members can simply log into their account on Aetna.com and select the type of provider they need and their location. The system will return providers in their area that are accepting new patients.

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Teaming Up to Provide Vision Care to Chicago Students

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Aetna and OneSight partnered with CPS to offer free eye exams and eyeglasses to hundreds of Chicago students.

Nearly 90 percent of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students screened on the first day of a vision clinic provided by Aetna and OneSight – the leading global vision care nonprofit organization – were identified as needing vision correction.

As part of our efforts to engage people with the care they need, when they need it, Aetna and OneSight partnered with CPS to offer free eye exams and eyeglasses to hundreds of CPS students, who would otherwise have limited or no access to vision care.

Glasses were manufactured onsite, allowing students from Youth Connection Charter School – Truman Middle College and the Truman College Child Development Lab School to receive their pair the next day. Roughly, 12,000 adult students from the largest English as a Second Language and GED programs in Illinois were also eligible to use the clinic.

“We have a district of over 361,000 students, many with vision related needs and our school-based/school-linked vision exam program helps us eliminate poor vision as a barrier to learning,” said D. Kenneth L. Fox, Chicago Public Schools chief health officer.

Clear sight helps students comprehend and learn up to twice as much, increasing productivity by 35 percent and reducing dropout rates by 44 percent, according to a study by OneSight and Deloitte. Aetna’s partnership with OneSight will serve this vulnerable student population and help raise community awareness about the importance of vision care.

“At least 60 percent of our overall health comes from our social and physical environment, or social determinants of health, which play an important role in how young people grow and thrive,” said Jerome Dioguardi, vice president, Aetna dental and vision. “We are happy to support an effort that contributes to vision wellness.”

More than 55,000 CPS students have minimal to no access to optometry and ophthalmology services. Vision changes can occur without a child or parent noticing them, and students should have their eyes examined annually, or more frequently if recommended by an eye doctor.

“Our fight for clear sight is essentially a fight for human potential,” said Janet Duke, clinic manager at OneSight. “We have hosted over 900 charitable clinics and are happy to bring this experience to Chicago Public School students.”

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Jersey Cares Launches Fitness Initiative in Newark

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More than 30 Aetna and CVS employees volunteered alongside Sussex Avenue students.
More than 30 Aetna and CVS employees volunteered alongside Sussex Avenue students.
The Health in the Community Initiative will directly impact students across three Essex County elementary schools.
The Health in the Community Initiative will directly impact students across three Essex County elementary schools.
More than 30 Aetna and CVS employees volunteered alongside Sussex Avenue students.
More than 30 Aetna and CVS employees volunteered alongside Sussex Avenue students.
More than 30 Aetna and CVS employees volunteered alongside Sussex Avenue students.
More than 30 Aetna and CVS employees volunteered alongside Sussex Avenue students.

Aetna Foundation grant funds healthy initiative for students

With a $250,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation, Jersey Cares, a nonprofit organization committed to creating impactful projects that address critical community-identified needs, launched the Health in the Community Initiative at Sussex Avenue Renew School in Newark, New Jersey. This innovative experiential learning program encourages a culture of health in schools by providing nutrition and fitness education for kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

The Health in the Community Initiative will directly impact students across three Essex County elementary schools with extended benefits to families and peers. Key aspects of the program include the building of greenhouses and gardens at each school, providing onsite gardening programs to instruct the students on the importance of healthy eating, as well as creating enhanced outdoor spaces to encourage active play as classroom and activity-based fitness workshops are provided.

“Health in the Community is a ground-up program that will be evolved through the participation of parents, guardians, teachers, and school leaders, built with the incredibly generous support of the Aetna Foundation and powered by the intention to give children a real, sustainable likelihood of a healthy and brighter future,” said Brian Dean, President and CEO of Jersey Cares. “This initiative is a compelling opportunity to demonstrate what all of us can accomplish by working together as individuals and as organizations.”

The Aetna Foundation, a philanthropic arm of CVS Health, presented the check to Jersey Cares and kicked off the initiative by having more than 30 Aetna and CVS employees volunteer alongside Sussex Avenue students in activities that included raised garden bed assembly, a fit and fun exercise workshop, and school library organization.

For 25 years Jersey Cares has worked to address social determinants that affect the health outcomes of students in Newark Public Elementary schools, helping hundreds of nonprofits recruit and develop volunteers. They expanded their program offering in 2006 to engage nearly 2,000 volunteers and gave slightly over 4,000 hours of service to programs that engaged more than 26,000 volunteers to produce over 89,000 hours of service last year.

“At CVS Health, we know that the path to good health starts locally in our schools and homes. Today we are excited to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the team at Jersey Cares on this important initiative with the Newark school system,” said Dr. Garth Graham, President of the Aetna Foundation. “The Health in the Community Initiative is an innovative project that will give students and their families’ access to the tools they need to make good decisions when it comes to nutrition and fitness, critical components to establishing long-lasting health and wellness.”

The Aetna Foundation grant to Jersey Cares builds upon the tradition of community investment by CVS Health and Aetna and advances our purpose of helping people on their path to better health. Learn more about the Health in the Community project, here: https://www.jerseycares.org/.

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Aetna 360 Behavioral Health Supports Members, Caregivers Through Health Care Journey

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Prioritizing members’ overall needs – including the time and resources needed to get and stay healthy – Aetna has launched Aetna 360™ Behavioral Health. Through this approach, which launched May 1, 2019, Aetna partners with behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment facilities to coordinate care for members, collaborate on holistic discharge planning and provide support for members and their families during treatment and upon discharge.

“Our focus is on how we can help, rather than limiting members to a number of days or conducting traditional reviews,” said MaryEllen Schuman, Director, Clinical Health Services, Aetna Behavioral Health. “This new approach incorporates both a member’s physical and behavioral health, along with any social determinants of health, to ensure we develop a comprehensive, long-term plan that helps them attain and maintain their optimal health.”

Aetna 360 Behavioral Health combines and builds on a pair of recent programs, Member Care Coordination (MCC) and Utilization Management Transformation (UMT). Both programs, which began in late 2017, led to lower readmission rates, higher ambulatory follow-up rates for mental health visits and high engagement and satisfaction rates among members, caregivers and providers.

Under Aetna 360 Behavioral Health, partnering facilities, as well as members and their caregivers, have a single point of contact with Aetna Behavioral Health. The assigned 360 Care Advocate collaborates with the facility to understand the member, family and caregiver’s needs, and then directly with members and caregivers when needed, both during and after discharge. The 360 Care Advocate is supported by a team at Aetna which includes medical, pharmacy, Resources for Living® and others.

“The 360 Care Advocates work behind the scenes to collaborate with providers to ensure members have the resources they need, and then directly with members, family and caregivers to ensure they have access to everything from a primary care provider and transportation to an appointment, to a support group or daycare if they are a caregiver,” said Lynn Watson, Manager, Clinical Health Services, Aetna Behavioral Health. “They also link members to peer support services, several digital resources and community support services to enhance their care and service.”

The 360 Care Advocates collaborate with members’ medical and behavioral health outpatient providers as needed and provide specific resources to caregivers to ensure they can help members navigate the health care system.

At launch, 304 facilities are partnering with Aetna to implement Aetna 360 Behavioral Health. These partnerships extend the successful work that began under the previous pilots.

“We deal with a sick population, but Aetna has been right there with us,” explained Peter Schorr, President and CEO, Retreat Behavioral Health, which operates several substance use disorder and mental health treatment centers, about MCC. “Aetna ensures patients are provided with the stays that they need. It feels good to be trusted and not fight over reviews.”

Facility staff have also benefited from Aetna’s behavioral health initiatives.

“Both our patients and staff view Aetna as an ally that is helping us to tear down barriers to treatment and recovery,” notes Jay Crosson, CEO, Cumberland Heights Foundation, an alcohol and drug treatment center in Tennessee. “The Member Care Coordination program was a real positive mindset change for everyone.”

Aetna will continue to expand the number of partnering facilities implementing Aetna 360 Behavioral Health. Aetna 360 Behavioral Health is currently for Aetna Commercial members of all ages and Aetna Federal Employee Plans.

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