For 91-year-old Rhode Island resident, Elvira, living alone,
in a high-tourist area, can be challenging. She suffers from depression,
anxiety and isolation that is only heightened during the off-season, when the
During that off-season time, Elvira became afraid to leave
her long-time home and started missing her doctor’s appointments, a scenario
that could be all too familiar for some Rhode Island seniors. In addition to
being socially isolated, seniors may not be getting the comprehensive
healthcare they need.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI)
recognized the need for better support for in-home care for those managing
multiple or complicated health conditions – and HouseCall by Blue was born.
Launched in 2015, this coordinated care program focuses on improving access to
high-quality healthcare by providing in-home and phone support to those who are
physically unable to visit their healthcare provider. The program sends
physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, behavioral health providers,
pharmacists, nutritionists and social workers to members’ homes day or night,
and also offers a dedicated phone line that members can call 24/7/365 to talk
to a practitioner.
It’s the HouseCall by Blue program that helped Elvira get the
care that she needed. The HouseCall by Blue team visited Elvira in her home and
set up a regular connection for her with a physician over the phone who worked
with her on progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises. Now,
Elvira can identify when she is feeling stressed and anxious, and use coping
mechanisms to help manage her feelings. Without this program, Elvira would have
had to leave her home to get this level of care.
The direct and constant face-to-face communication that is
the hallmark of HouseCall by Blue allows members to remain in their homes and
helps avoid unnecessary emergency services for things such as respiratory
infections, headaches or back pain. There is a significant positive impact on
care when a provider can visit a patient the same day to help manage their care
or help them transition back home from the hospital or a skilled nursing
facility. That visit can give members the added comfort and confidence to
remain at home during their recovery.
HouseCall by Blue also focuses on preventive care. Patients
complete a comprehensive evaluation, identifying the resources they may need,
which is then shared with their primary care provider to create a personalized
health plan. The provider receives regular, real-time information allowing them
to develop a deeper and more complete knowledge of their patient.
HouseCall by Blue complements the care delivered by primary
care providers and specialists, ensuring treatment plans are carried out
accurately. Some recent statistics include:
In 2018, HouseCall by Blue completed 7,082 in-home visits.
More than 1,000 BCBSRI members are enrolled in the program.
From April 2018 to November 2018, the average monthly
readmission rate for patients in the program was 10 percent. Rates at the 80th
percentile or lower (or, under 20 percent) are considered optimal by Centers
for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The team leading HouseCall by Blue’s 24/7/365 phone and
in-home services also offers caregiver training, including crisis management
skills and access to community resources. For more information about how BCBSRI
is helping members access the help they need, wherever and whenever they need
it, visit bcbsri.com/medicare/member/yourhealth
or call (401) 277-2958 or 1-800-267-0439 (TTY: 711).