While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the entire U.S. population at some level, people at highest risk are older Americans and those with multiple chronic conditions (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Knowing that these are also the most difficult health plan members to reach, Matrix Medical Network (Matrix) has implemented a targeted COVID-19 program that uses its proven clinical excellence to balance the social isolation that vulnerable seniors may be feeling during the pandemic. Now more than ever, Matrix nurse practitioners (NPs) are helping this population become informed about safe practices and ensure they become active in protecting their health during these difficult times.
“Much of the information coming from government and healthcare sources is being delivered and shared online,” said Laura Jonsson, senior vice president of clinical services at Matrix. “Yet older Americans, currently considered to be the highest-risk population, often get their information from television, radio and newspapers so they may be missing vital steps to protect themselves. By going into their homes and sitting with them face-to-face, our NPs not only deliver important information and ensure members understand what to do to avoid acquiring the virus, they can also look around the home to make sure members have adequate food and medical supplies, uncover any social determinants of health issues that might put them at greater risk and generally ensure they’re prepared to follow the CDC’s guidelines.”
The key to success is Matrix’s 3,000+ licensed NPs who are dedicated to bringing care and compassion to the individuals they see every day despite working now in very uncertain times. The NPs visit with members in the safety and comfort of their own homes while building a trusted relationship with them. These relationships will enable them to bring vital accurate information to many in the high-risk group. It also avoids the need to seek this information by visiting a potential high-contagion area such as their primary care physician’s office. Matrix is committed to screening practices that help ensure the safety of the members they see every day as well as their own providers.
Although anyone is susceptible to acquiring COVID-19, early data showed higher death rates for people in their 60s, 70s and 80s (source: Bloomberg). According to the CDC, seniors are most susceptible because 85% of adults over the age of 65 have at least one chronic condition such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes, which exacerbates the effects of COVID-19 by creating medical complications. Seniors who are not receiving care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF), assisted living community or other group situation are often socially isolated as well, which means if they have been exposed to COVID-19 they may not have quick access to care.
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“The Internet is filled with all types of misinformation, and even if members didn’t see it directly themselves, it may have been passed along to them through email or a well-meaning friend or family member,” Jonsson said. “We try to make sure that by the time the visit is over members understand what to do as well as what not to do so they can remain safe in their homes until the danger has passed.”
Another target for Matrix’s COVID-19 program are dual-eligibles – members whose healthcare expenses are covered under both Medicare and Medicaid.
“Many in the dual-eligible population don’t have Wi-Fi or mobile phones, so their access to up-to-date information is very limited,” Jonsson said. “With so much changing day-to-day we try to ensure that they understand what is happening now so they don’t panic or accidentally put themselves in harmful situations.”
The COIVID-19 situation continues to be very fluid. As such Matrix continues to seek ways to bring value to the members and communities they serve, while coordinating with its health plan and health system clients, as well as local, state and federal public health authorities to ensure the safety of its corporate staff, providers and members across the country.
Source: PR Newswire