Health Care Trends - Around Florida
Health Care Highlights
» Mental Health Focus
Mat Robie, director of strategic alignment at United HomeCare, one of south Florida’s largest home health agencies, says hospitalizations and “avoidable” hospital readmissions tend to be more prevalent among patients suffering from depression.
To try to combat the trend, United HomeCare is taking a more holistic approach to patient care by incorporating tools and programs that focus on the mind-body connection. The non-profit’s home health aides, for instance, are trained in yoga therapy, and the organization has also implemented a Healthy IDEAS (Identifying Depression, Empowering Activities for Seniors) program that teaches case managers to identify depression in at-risk seniors and help them get treatment. The agency is also using telehealth devices to screen for depressive symptoms in patients. While most patients prefer home care to nursing home care, it’s also considerably cheaper.
Robie estimates that in Miami-Dade County, nursing home care costs $90,000 per year, on average, whereas home care costs approximately $15,000 a year.
» Concierge Service
When Florida Trend wrote about the concierge medicine trend six years ago, MDVIP, a Boca Raton-based management company that helps doctors convert to a concierge practice, had contracts with 100 physicians covering 33,000 patients. Today, the company has more than 550 physicians caring for more than 185,000 patients.
Under MDVIP’s concierge model, patients pay $1,500 to $1,650 a year to the doctor. That entitles them to extensive wellness screenings, in-depth appointments and counseling with the doctor. They also get the ability to reach the doctor at any time and appointments that are promised to start on time. MDVIP physicians, meanwhile, agree to care for only 600 patients, as opposed to the 2,400 or so a typical physician sees.
Andrea Klemes, medical director for MDVIP, says that Medicare patients cared for by MDVIP physicians in 2010 were admitted to the hospital 79% less frequently than other Medicare patients and that patients with private insurance were admitted 72% less. “We had better diabetic outcomes, better cardiovascular disease outcomes — our outcomes beat the top 10 benchmarks,” Klemes says. “We saved the government $300 million last year in decreased hospitalizations.”