UnitedHealthcare, Dovetail Health Launch Innovative Program to Reduce Unnecessary Hospital Readmissions in New Jersey

March 21, 2012
  • Aims to reduce preventable hospital readmissions through individualized, at-home support

UnitedHealthcare and Dovetail Health have launched an innovative pilot in New Jersey designed to help Medicare Advantage members avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and reduce readmissions after a stay at a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

The program is designed to help UnitedHealthcare’s AARP MedicareComplete plan members in New Jersey who are recently released from a hospital and face an increased risk of readmission due to challenges associated with managing multiple medications and chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. A specially trained pharmacist care manager from Dovetail Health will visit the patients in their homes, review their prescription and over-the-counter medications, discuss how these medications should be taken, answer questions and identify ways to better coordinate their care.

In addition, for 30 days after the patients are discharged, the program will teach them how to adhere to their medication regimens and manage their chronic conditions to help avoid readmission. At the end of the 30-day period, patients will be referred as needed to other UnitedHealthcare programs that meet their ongoing needs, such as its national High Risk Case Management program, which identifies potential health issues before they become more serious.

“UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage members have lower hospital readmission rates than Medicare fee-for-service members because of our care management and outreach programs that educate and support these members,”* said Rhonda L. Randall, D.O, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “This pilot program with Dovetail Health creates an even higher-touch case management system for our most at-risk members. What we learn from it will help us improve quality outcomes for our members in New Jersey and our 2.4 million Medicare Advantage members nationwide.”

“Nearly one in five seniors across the country is readmitted to a hospital or skilled nursing facility within 30 days of being discharged, which costs more than $17 billion annually,” said Stever Aubrey, CEO of Dovetail Health. “Issues related to medication management and care coordination frequently trigger those secondary in-patient stays. In this pilot, UnitedHealthcare’s AARP MedicareComplete plan members will receive individualized support from Dovetail’s specially trained pharmacist care managers who address their complex needs and can help them stay healthy at home.”

About Dovetail Health
With a sole focus on preventing readmissions among the highest risk patients, Dovetail Health is a leading provider of transitional care services. Combining unique in-home pharmacist care managers with comprehensive infrastructure and customized technology systems, Dovetail has delivered reductions in readmissions for its health plan, provider group and hospital partners. For more information, visit www.dovetailhealth.com.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

*Hospital Readmission Rates in Medicare Advantage Plans, Jeff Lemieux, MA; Cary Sennett, MD; Ray Wang, MS; Teresa Mulligan, MHSA; and Jon Bumbaugh, MA. Am J Manag Care. 2012;18(2):96-104

The AARP® MedicareComplete® plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company and its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company pays royalty fees to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. AARP and its affiliates are not insurers. You do not need to be an AARP member to enroll.

AARP encourages you to consider your needs when selecting products and does not make specific product recommendations for individuals. 

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