Age-friendly care for older adults

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People over the age of 65 make up an increasingly large part of our population. By 2030, it is predicted that there will be 74 million older adults in the United States. For many of us, this includes our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors. Older adults also make up a growing percentage of the patients seen at MinuteClinic.

Recently, The John A. Hartford Foundation sponsored a partnership between MinuteClinic, Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to produce training tools and resources that will be used at MinuteClinic to further improve and evolve how we care for older adults. 

This training will enable MinuteClinic to move towards the adoption of the Age-Friendly care in every clinic nationwide for patients 65 years or older, by the beginning of 2021. These age-friendly visits will include questions around the “4Ms Framework” — What Matters, Medication, Mentation and Mobility, and providers will also share healthy aging tips and suggestions older patients can implement in their everyday life.

Research shows that providing the older adult population with specific, age-friendly care has significant benefits, including a reduction in the number of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and hospital readmissions, improved mobility, a reduction in medication-related problems and early identification of memory loss and depression.

By applying the “4Ms,” MinuteClinic providers will be able to positively impact many of our patients, in a setting that they are comfortable and familiar with. For those opting to seek care through E-Clinic visits, providers will also be able to assess the “4Ms” while patients are in the safety and comfort of their own home.

MinuteClinic is currently implementing the “4Ms Framework” across all locations, with the goal of being recognized as an exemplar of age-friendly care in early 2021. MinuteClinic is pleased to be the largest retail clinic network in the U.S. to adopt age-friendly care system-wide.

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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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Aetna Announces Biggest Medicare Advantage Expansion in Its History

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Aetna’s 2019 Medicare plans offer enhanced benefits and greater value

HARTFORD, Conn. – Aetna (NYSE: AET) announced its 2019 Medicare plans, featuring expanded plan options with low or $0 monthly plan premiums in many areas, enhanced benefits and a more personalized member experience.

“We are proud to be a leader in $0 premium plan offerings, with approximately 72 percent of our 2018 Individual Medicare Advantage members enrolled in $0 premium plans,”Data as of September 2018 said Christopher Ciano, who was appointed head of Aetna Medicare earlier this year. “Our 2019 plan options will offer even more value to Medicare beneficiaries through a variety of expanded benefits, while still emphasizing affordability.”

Expanded plan options for greater access and choice

For 2019, Aetna is offering Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans in 45 states plus Washington, D.C. Aetna added 358 new counties and 6 new states — Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon and Rhode Island. In Minnesota, Aetna and Allina Health will be launching a joint venture Medicare Advantage plan in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area. In total, Aetna will offer MAPD plans in 1,416 counties in 2019.This number includes Aetna’s Joint Ventures in Minnesota (with Allina Health) and in Northern Virginia (with Innovation Health).

This represents the biggest expansion of Medicare Advantage in Aetna’s history, providing about 7.4 million more Medicare beneficiaries (46 million in total2) access to an Aetna plan.

Other 2019 plan options include:

  • Explorer Plan Portable PPO: Medicare eligibles who like to travel will have increased access to our expanded Explorer Plan Portable PPO offering with a multi-state network. This plan is now available in 17 new states for a total of 28 states.
     
  • Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (DSNP): For those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, we expanded our DSNP offering to a total of 9 states: Existing DSNP markets include Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia, with new DSNP markets in Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio and Texas.
     
  • Prescription Drug Plan (PDP): All three plans in our PDP portfolio are now available in all 50 states and DC. This includes the Aetna Medicare Rx® Select (PDP) plan, which has an average monthly premium of $17; no deductible on Tier 1 and Tier 2 prescription drugs; $0 copay for Tier 1 prescription drugs at preferred pharmacies; and enhanced coverage in the doughnut hole.
     
  • Medicare Supplement: We offer standard Medicare Supplement plans in 49 states and ancillary products in all 50 states. This includes a combined dental, vision and hearing product launched earlier this year.
     
  • Group Medicare: Our Group Medicare business offers a suite of products for employers and retirees in all 50 states. This includes a new fall prevention program (also available for Individual Medicare Advantage members) and community-based support services.

Enhanced benefits for added convenience and improved overall wellness

To make it more convenient for our members to get the care they need, we expanded and enriched the following Medicare Advantage benefits for 2019:

  • Meal delivery after a hospital discharge is now available with 73 percent of our plans, up from 5 percent.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) health and wellness productsFor example, vitamins, dental, eye, ear care products, first aid items, cough, cold, allergy OTC medicines. are available with 67 percent of our plans, up from 29 percent.
  • Transportation to plan-approved locations is available with 21 percent of our plans, up from 7 percent.

In addition, we’ll continue to offer Medicare Advantage members access to the following benefits and services at no additional cost:

  • Fitness memberships
  • Routine vision, dental and hearing coverageLevel and type of coverage vary by plan.
  • Resources For Living® service, which connects members to community-based providers that offer social, wellness and behavioral services

“We recognize that good health goes beyond just physical care,“ added Ciano. “That’s why our Medicare Advantage plans take a total approach to health and wellness, so our members can age more actively.”

Need help choosing a Medicare plan?

We’re here for you. Our plans are designed to help meet your health, lifestyle and financial goals. For more information, visit aetnamedicare.com. Or call us at 1-855-335-1407 (TTY: 711), 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15 through December 7, 2018.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 38.8 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental and behavioral health plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see http://www.aetna.com.

Aetna Medicare is a PDP, HMO, PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Our SNPs also have contracts with State Medicaid programs. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call 1-855-335-1407 (TTY: 711) for more information. Members who get “Extra Help” are not required to fill prescriptions at preferred network pharmacies in order to get Low Income Subsidy (LIS) copays. The pharmacy network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary. Aetna Medicare’s pharmacy network offers limited access to pharmacies with preferred cost sharing in: rural Missouri, urban Alabama and urban Tennessee. The lower costs advertised in our plan materials for these pharmacies may not be available at the pharmacy you use. For up-to-date information about our network pharmacies, including pharmacies with preferred cost sharing, members please call the number on your ID card, non-members please call 1-855-338-7027 (TTY: 711) or consult the online pharmacy directory at http://www.aetnamedicare.com/pharmacyhelp. See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.

Aetna Media contact:

Ethan Slavin
860-273-6095
SlavinE@aetna.com

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Help Your Loved Ones Learn About Their Medicare Options

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Heath care is deeply personal. And when it comes to making health decisions, consumers often seek the counsel of those who know them best – family and friends.

Aetna is committed to helping you and your loved ones better understand their Medicare options. Get information on how plans can support total health and wellness and learn the role of a Medicare Advantage plan.

For this Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 through December 7), Aetna created a new video series called Kitchen Table Talk. It explores common health and Medicare-related topics typically discussed within the comfort and privacy of your home.

You can watch the three-part video series on the new Aetna Medicare Solutions website:

“We’re providing resources to help Medicare beneficiaries discuss their health goals and identify what’s most important to them,” said Christopher Ciano, who was appointed head of Aetna Medicare earlier this year. “Based on personal experiences with my own parents, I know these are the types of conversations actually taking place between Medicare beneficiaries and their family members. We hope this video series helps make those conversations easier for everyone involved, so that people can choose the plan that best fits their needs.”

The Aetna Medicare Solutions website also features engaging educational information to help Medicare beneficiaries make decisions that empower them to achieve their unique health goals.

Aetna Medicare is a PDP, HMO, PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Our SNPs also have contracts with State Medicaid programs. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.

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Helping Seniors Save Money Through SilverScript

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SilverScript, our Medicare-approved Part D prescription drug plan provider serving more than 5 million members, focuses on providing seniors and people with disabilities with consistent, worry-free coverage.

For Alexis Spina, one of our Pittsburgh-based colleagues, that focus is integral to her work every day. A clinical pharmacist, Spina works the Medicare call queue, educating members daily on lower cost drug alternatives that have the same clinical benefits as their current medications, tailoring her responses to each member’s specific level of understanding.

Her conversations with members have been so impactful that some of them have been developed into talk tracks that other colleagues on her team now use for their own calls.

Spina says that with each phone interaction she tries to make the patient feel like they are speaking with someone who truly cares about their well-being.

For her hard work and leadership, Spina was awarded a 2018 CVS Health Paragon Award, which recognizes the best-of-the-best among CVS Health colleagues who deliver direct care to patients and customers. Now in their 28th year, the Paragon Awards honor colleagues who embody the core values of CVS Health.

Watch to learn more about Spina’s passion for helping patients save money and live a healthier life.

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CVS Pharmacy Now Offering New Shingles Vaccine at Locations Nationwide

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More than 9,800 CVS Pharmacy locations have the Shingrix vaccine in stock for patients

WOONSOCKET, R.I., March 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), announced today that all of its more than 9,800 pharmacies have the new Shingrix vaccine available for patients.1 The new vaccine was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 and is now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Healthy adults age 50 and older are recommended to get two doses of Shingrix, two to six months apart, to prevent shingles and reduce the course and severity of the disease. The Shingrix vaccine is considered more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and protection stays above 85 percent for at least the first four years after a patient is vaccinated.

Ninety-nine percent of people ages 50 and older are at risk of getting shingles, a painful rash that is also known as herpes zoster, in their lifetime. There are an estimated one million cases of shingles each year in the U.S. It is recommended that patients who have had shingles, have previously received the Zostavax vaccine,2 or who are unsure if they have had chickenpox, receive the Shingrix vaccine. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles, including children, although the risk of shingles increases as people age.

"Vaccination is key to preventing shingles and CVS Pharmacy is pleased to be able to provide patients with convenient access to this new and more effective vaccine," said Kevin Hourican, Executive Vice President, Pharmacy Services, for CVS Pharmacy. "Our pharmacists can help patients determine if Shingrix is right for them and can vaccinate patients at times and locations that work for their busy schedules."

Many health insurance plans will cover the new vaccine, including Medicare Part D. Patients are encouraged to contact their insurance provider to determine if and when their individual plan will cover the Shingrix vaccine. Patients can visit www.cvs.com to find nearby CVS Pharmacy locations and to learn more about the Shingrix vaccine and other immunizations CVS Pharmacy provides. Certain immunizations have age and location restrictions.

About CVS Pharmacy

CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), is America's leading retail pharmacy with over 9,800 locations. It is the first national pharmacy to end the sale of tobacco and the first pharmacy in the nation to receive the Community Pharmacy accreditation from URAC, the leading health care accreditation organization that establishes quality standards for the health care industry. CVS Pharmacy is reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS Pharmacy and CVS Health is available at www.cvshealth.com.

1 Due to state regulations, the Shingrix vaccine is currently not available at CVS Pharmacy locations in Florida.

2 If a patient has recently received the Zostavax vaccine, they should wait at least eight weeks before receiving the Shingrix vaccine.

SOURCE CVS Pharmacy

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Transform Rheumatoid Arthritis Care: Better Care, Better Outcomes, Lower Costs

Transform Rheumatoid Arthritis Care: Better Care, Better Outcomes, Lower Costs
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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic inflammation of the lining of the joints that can cause painful swelling, bone erosion and/or distortion or deformity of the joints.

It is a hard and complex disease to treat and manage as symptoms and the progression of the disease vary greatly by patient. In addition, RA drugs are very expensive for both payors and patients. In fact, at CVS Health, RA is one of the top drivers of specialty drug spend for our pharmacy benefit management clients.

Complicating treatment is the fact that patients may also respond differently to medication therapies. As such, those with RA need holistic disease management and support, which can help address gaps in care, improve medication adherence and reduce condition-related complications and visits to the hospital or ER. This can result in better health outcomes and lower costs for both payors and patients.

CVS Health is uniquely positioned to provide this type of support to RA patients and as such, recently launched a new program to help the company’s pharmacy benefit management (PBM) clients better manage care and costs for RA. The program is the latest addition to the company’s suite of condition-specific, highly personalized Transform Care™ programs and adds value-based management strategies including outcomes based contracts and a new indication-based formulary for autoimmune conditions to CVS Health’s integrated pharmacy care model.

Better controlled RA pharmacy costs

The program helps PBM clients control costs in this category by:

  • Encouraging appropriate use of lower-cost, clinically appropriate RA therapies through pharmacy network and utilization management tools;
  • Employing value-based management strategies, such as outcomes-based contracts and a new indication-based formulary for autoimmune conditions; and
  • Including a trend guarantee for these expensive drugs.

Clients enrolled in the Transform RA Care program could expect to see savings of up to 5 percent on their annual spend for RA drugs.  For example a client that manages 100,000 lives could see up to $500,000 in annual savings.

Comprehensive, personalized care

Enrolled PBM members will continue to receive proactive, personalized care delivered by a team of specially-trained pharmacists and Accordant nurses with disease-specific expertise, who help:

  • Provide symptom, comorbidity and side effective management as well as coaching and education;
  • Coordinate care with members’ doctors;
  • And, coordinate initial clinical assessments, benefits verification and medication dispensing and distribution.

In addition, members with RA also have access to innovative digital tools to help them start and stay on their therapies as well as have the ability to pick up their medications at a local CVS Pharmacy or have it delivered to their home or office by mail via Specialty Connect.

“Our program is unique in that we can pull together resources – enabled by our integrated pharmacy care model -- to deliver both a truly member-focused clinical management program while also helping to manage the rising costs within the autoimmune category through new approaches to contracting and formulary management,” said Alan Lotvin, M.D., executive vice president of CVS Specialty, the specialty pharmacy of CVS Health.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve pharmacy care, visit our Health Care Delivery & Innovation information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. And to stay informed about the most talked-about topics in health care, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.

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Care Coordination Solutions Following the IMPACT Act

Care Coordination Solutions Following the IMPACT Act
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The United States will undergo a population shift over the next several decades, as the number of Americans who are 65 and older increases. In fact, this group will reach 98 million by 2060, accounting for nearly one quarter of the population.https://www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet/ This population change is particularly significant for the baby boomer generation, which is expected to fuel an increase of up to 75 percent in the number of seniors who require nursing home care (about 2.3 million by 2030).

As the population evolves, there is much that can be done to mitigate the associated impact on health care costs. Omnicare, the leading provider of pharmacy care services to senior communities, long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities, is uniquely positioned to help address the needs of our country’s aging population across the spectrum of senior care.

IMPACT Act Implementation

To improve the quality of health care for millions of older Americans, lawmakers passed the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014. The IMPACT Act provides consumers and the government with information regarding outcomes and the cost of care. The IMPACT Act standardizes assessments for critical care issues among post-acute care providers and helps ensure that patient care is delivered holistically, based on what the patient truly needs.

A key component of the IMPACT Act involves changes to the requirements around Drug Regimen Reviews (DRRs). Beginning on October 1, 2018, data from three DRR-related items must be collected, to ensure that all long-term care or skilled nursing facilities are meeting the same standard. Medication reviews following acute care, such as hospital stays, are important because they can identify medication issues. The new requirements reduce the amount of time a post-acute care facility has to conduct these reviews, reducing the likelihood that a patient experiences medication issues, and standardizes the way those issues are communicated to the patient’s prescriber and how they are addressed.

Improving Coordination of Care

To help the long-term care and skilled nursing facilities that Omnicare provides services for, we have developed education materials and tools to help these facilities meet the new DRR requirements.

Omnicare pharmacists will now complete admission reviews within 72-hours (or an agreed upon time frame) of a patient’s admission or readmission. The reviews will identify clinically significant medication issues, as well as evaluate dosing and work to reduce polypharmacy. The DRRs will also focus on optimizing care in the areas of diabetes, pain management, COPD, antibiotic stewardship, heart failure and other areas. Lastly, the reviews will include cost management strategies such as ensuring the appropriate stop dates for antibiotics and post-operative medications.

These enhanced DRR offerings will help the facilities ensure they are meeting IMPACT Act requirements, as well as optimize medication use and improve health outcomes for patients.

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Beauty is Ageless: CVS Health at the 2018 Aging in America Conference

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“Beauty is Ageless” is the theme CVS Health is asking attendees to embrace during the 2018 Aging in America Conference, hosted by the American Society on Aging. As a leading health and beauty destination, CVS Pharmacy locations offer a wide range of innovative products to help our customers, including mature individuals, look and feel their best every day. Product samples will be available to visitors at the CVS Health booth, and a trained CVS Health beauty consultant will be onsite to offer advice and perform makeovers.

Workforce Initiatives for Mature Individuals

CVS Health serves mature individuals as customers in many ways, but mature workers also account for around one-quarter of our workforce. There are numerous reasons why mature workers continue working past a typical retirement age or look for new opportunities at an older age. In fact, workers aged 55 and older represent one of the fastest growing segments of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At CVS Health, we believe there is no age limit on originality and new ideas. Additionally, diversity in our workforce allows us to better serve customers, who come from all backgrounds and walks of life. For these reasons, CVS Health operates the Talent is Ageless program to ensure mature workers are well represented on our team.

Through this program, CVS Health has partnered with organizations like the American Society on Aging, the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, and the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging to identify mature workers for positions within CVS Health. By working to break down unique occupational barriers faced by mature workers, we can help them find fulfilling and appropriate employment positions for a new chapter in their lives. 

For more information about how CVS Health is working to deliver job training and employment opportunities to underserved populations, visit our Workforce Initiatives information center.

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Improving Alzheimer’s Awareness for those with the Disease & Providers

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Alzheimer’s disease has a significant impact on the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease and their 16 million caregivers across the country. Currently, 5.5 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to rise to 7.1 million in 2025 as the population continues to age. “2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” Alzheimer’s Association. 2017. https://www.alz.org To ensure access to care for these individuals, the CVS Health Foundation has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to support the Diagnose, Disclose, and Direct Connect program.

Since entering the partnership in 2016, the CVS Health Foundation has committed $1.1 million to six local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association to expand efforts to educate providers on Alzheimer’s, deliver resources to individuals and families, and develop best practices for Alzheimer’s care delivery.

Educating Providers

Since launching the Diagnose, Disclose, and Direct Connect program, the Alzheimer’s Association has educated more than 7,000 health care professionals, virtually and in-person. Local chapters are hosting continuing medical education (CME) events, developing video and online CME material, building email lists, and conducting in-person outreach.

Delivering Resources to Patients

The Alzheimer’s Association provides people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers access to a variety of supportive and educational resources. These are primarily to help educate families about the disease and its management, as well as to jumpstart a discussion about long-term planning and advanced directives before further progression of Alzheimer’s.

To expand access to these resources, the Alzheimer’s Association has established a direct referral program with providers and health care systems. Local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association have continued working in their local communities to implement the direct referral program at additional provider locations. 

Developing Best Practices

At the local chapter level, Alzheimer’s Association employees and volunteers have explored a wide range of strategies to connect people with the disease and providers. As the Alzheimer’s Association implements and revises processes and procedures, lessons learned from ongoing efforts will be applied to maximize reach.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is a life-changing event. However, by ensuring providers receive up-to-date information on Alzheimer’s and giving patients tools to make informed decisions, diagnosed individuals and their caregivers can be well positioned to live their best possible lives with the disease.

04.10.18

Alzheimer’s patient and caregiver
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