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Jamie J. Gooch is an Ohio-based freelance writer. His areas of expertise include several professional industries as well as marketing and e-media.
Health Choice Arizona has instituted a new scheduling system to help it connect patients with appropriate community health resources on a timely basis. It wanted to find a way to help those members with the lowest incidence of preventive service completion quickly schedule their appointments.
Health Choice Arizona has instituted a new scheduling system to help it connect patients with appropriate community health resources on a timely basis. Health Choice Arizona provides healthcare to 195,000 members in nine Arizona counties. As a managed care organization in the state’s Medicaid program known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, it wanted to find a way to help those members with the lowest incidence of preventive service completion quickly schedule their appointments.
According to Mike Uchrin, Health Choice Arizona’s chief operating officer, low completion scores can have repercussions for patients and providers alike. The state of Arizona rates screening exams very highly. Health plans that do not meet standards set for 29 separate measures, including completion rates for preventive services and physicals, are subject to sanctions of up to $100,000 per standard, Uchrin says.
In the past, Health Choice Arizona used a variety of approaches to make and keep preventive care appointments for their members. Reminders were mailed, messages were left on voicemail, and members were called by phone when requested to help schedule appointments. Oftentimes staffers would spend as many as 20 minutes per patient scheduling a single appointment, largely due to the difficulties in coordinating patient schedules with available providers.
Health Choice Arizona now uses MyHealthDIRECT, which combines a system for building provider inventories with a scheduling platform to facilitate the appointment process. The system helped them go from a 48% to a 68% preventative services completion rate.
“It’s important for managed care organizations to look beyond traditional campaigns that merely encourage members to get preventive care,” says Jay Mason, CEO of MyHealthDIRECT. “Educational programs and mailers to members have a role, but they are not going to make great impact.”
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