"We're trying to break down those barriers and connect these participants with good health care," says Christopher Palmieri, executive director of VNS CHOICE Select.
"Offering a health plan is a way for VNSNY
to introduce itself to members of the community who have no clinical need other than a good health plan, as well as to assist a large portion of our home care patients," says Mr. Palmieri
Forty percent of the people served by VNS who have Medicare are also "dual-eligibles," and the organization participates in a dozen managed care plans, so it has acquired much expertise in this area.
What makes the new health plan unusual is its case-management approach and easy access to the nursing resources of VNSNY
Nurses—not bureaucrats—who work closely with the patient's own health care providers, make the determination of what kind of heath care is needed.
"We really put care first," Mr. Palmieri
According to Mr. Palmieri
, VNS CHOICE Select's
staffing ratios are the lowest in the industry.
Whereas larger companies may often have one registered nurse for every 10,000 customers, VNS CHOICE Select
has one RN for every 250 people who enroll.
That allows nurses to spend an adequate amount of time determining care needs and coordinating primary care and home- and community based services.
If a member wants to talk to a nurse about her
can at any time.
"We have a close relationship with the 2,500 RNs of VNSNY
, and we have contracts with ourselves," says Mr. Palmieri
"If we authorize a test or get someone primary care, it will cost more up front, but in the long run people will be healthier or at least maintain their health," says Mr. Palmieri