WVP Health Authority Seeks CMS Innovations Grant for Power of Wellness Program

February 6, 2012 -- WVP Health Authority is seeking a $6.3 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to launch a “Power of Wellness” project as part of its ongoing commitment to create a quality community-based care organization  for the Mid-Willamette Valley.

WVP Health Authority is taking the lead role in the project that targets three types of chronic illnesses and utilizes strategic participants from the health care and social services disciplines including NorthWest Senior and Disability Services (NWSDS), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503, Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network (MVBCN), and ATRIO Health Plans.

“The Power of Wellness Project will enhance a quality workforce by engaging and incorporating non-traditional wellness workers,” said Veronica Sheffield, RN, MS, and Transition of Care Director at WVP Health Authority.

“Oregon leads the nation in supporting consumer choice for in home and community based care so that people can live in their own homes rather than in a nursing home.  Most of this care is provided by in home care givers and adult foster home providers.  We believe that by integrating these providers into our care teams, we can better equip them with the tools and professional support they need. By working together to break down the traditional barriers, we are building on Oregon’s reputation as a leader in the delivery of long term care services,” Sheffield said.

The wellness program targets three distinct areas of the health care delivery system. It uses a more integrated and holistic approach to improve the health of program participants, enhance the effectiveness of the health care system and lower overall costs by promoting positive health behaviors. 

A December 2010 study of Medicaid services published by the Center for Health Care Strategies, analyzed the profiles of Medicaid’s highest cost beneficiaries. The study found that patients with multiple chronic conditions were most likely to end up in high cost care that could be prevented.  The most prominent chronic conditions included chronic heart failure (CHF), asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes.

As a result, the Power of Wellness project will target people who live in Marion or Polk County and who have been diagnosed with CHF, COPD, and/or diabetes.  By targeting those with chronic diseases earlier, the “system” can save money and providers can enhance their relationships with their patients through the development of team approaches and self management programs such as Living Healthy.

Sheffield said by relying on an integrated care team model, each participant provides a unique perspective and adds critical capabilities to the program.

NWSDS is a local intergovernmental agency serving over 22,000 seniors and people with disabilities in Marion, Polk and three adjacent counties.  As  the designated  Aging and Disability Resource Connection, NWSDS is one of the most visible advocates for seniors and people with disabilities in the greater Salem area, providing financial and medical assistance, in home and community based services, senior meals, peer counseling, family caregiver support, adult protective services, Medicare counseling and a variety of wellness programs.

SEIU 503 is the statewide union representing more than 18,700 homecare workers and 5,020 adult foster home workers who provide long term care services for seniors and people with physical, developmental or mental illness disabilities.  Currently, there are approximately 1,900 homecare workers and 600 adult foster home workers in Marion and Polk counties.

Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network (MVBCN) currently contracts to manage mental health services for over 70,000 Medicaid members.

ATRIO is a Medicare Advantage organization that administers the Medicare benefits for approximately 3,100 full dual eligible members in Marion and Polk counties through its Special Needs Plan.

WVP Health Authority (WVP) is a 500 member-plus independent physicians association which owns Medicare and Medicaid health plans with 65,000 Medicaid eligible individuals with more than 3,600 dual eligibles.

News source: