In the world today, health is local

On Tuesday, April 7, William Fleming, PharmD, Segment President, Clinical and Pharmacy Solutions, HCS, Humana, participated in the Commonwealth Club’s virtual panel “Hospitals, Doctors and Insurers Face COVID-19: Reports from the Field.”

The panel, which was moderated by Mark Zitter, Founder and Chair, The Zetema Project, focused on how the U.S. health care system has responded to the pandemic. The discussion also featured Wright Lassiter, III, President and CEO, Henry Ford Health System and Steve Strongwater, M.D, President and CEO, Atrius Health.

During the panel, William highlighted Humana’s recent announcement that it will waive medical costs associated with COVID-19 treatment for members, stating that “we cannot allow these things to get in the way of seeking care at this point.” He also spoke about Humana’s use of telehealth and the importance of addressing the social determinants of health. Here are some observations from William:

  • Help older adults and others who are impacted by social determinants of health. “One of the common themes that we’re hearing from a lot of people who have transportation challenges and health conditions is access to food. These shelter in place orders are really challenging and if you’re at risk, the last thing you need to do is go out into the world that’s around us. That’s why we have been doing proactive care management outreach to help our members address not only their physical health needs but also their behavioral health needs.”
  • We need to continue our use of telehealth post COVID-19. “What is the role of the doctor at home? Hospital at home? What is the role of home health? The rise and use of telehealth are examples where I sure hope we don’t go back to what we did before. This virus and this pandemic could teach the US marketplace that there’s a different way of delivering care. Maybe the way we’re triaging patients today with telehealth ought to be the way we should work coming out of this.”
  • Agility and proactivity are essential in serving complex patients. “We’ve demonstrated an agile approach to try to develop the right cohort thinking around things we can do for proactive clinical outreach. We can do proactive clinical outreach to make sure we are doing our part to help the COVID patient who might be isolated or quarantined at home. We’ve done a lot of work to connect with our members around their food needs.”
  • As a payer, it’s critical to understand that every community will experience this virus differently and will recover at different points in time. “When you start thinking about the role to play and how this is going to evolve, you know it’s going to be truly on a local community level. That old adage that health care is local couldn’t be more profound at this point in time.” 

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