What's in your secret sauce?
My experience as an Administrator, Outreach Director, and Entrepreneur in the healthcare space affords me the luxury of understanding the healthcare system and advocating for myself and others. I don’t have to rely on anyone else to assist with my healthcare decisions yet… (I highly encourage everyone to designate a Power of Attorney for healthcare sooner rather than later).
But what happens to all of the people who don’t understand the convoluted maze of healthcare? Frankly, there are so many parts of healthcare that seem to be developed to mislead us.
We untangle the mess and get results.
One of the biggest reasons we are successful at what we do is that we have taken the time to build relationships with our members built on trust. We meet our members where they are, on their timeline, at their pace.
We don’t hand out referrals or direct people to websites. We work with our members to ensure that each need is met and that the gap gets closed.
Agencies, doctor’s offices, and insurance companies have shared their gratitude for our services because we can connect with them when they have not been successful. Being housed on-site gives us an advantage for connecting with people and keeps communication open.
Just the beginning…
We are grateful for the positive impact we’ve made in such a short time. We’re not stopping there. We are expanding this year into several new markets and look forward to proving that closing the gaps on social determinants of health is not just a dream; we are making it a reality. We take the complicated and make it simple. Our process is lean and cost-effective, making it attractive to affordable housing owners.
We are building stronger communities by improving public health through our on-site wellness programs.
Cheers to your better health!
Case Study: Medication Mayhem
A common, dangerous recurring theme for seniors is medication errors. Seniors who have family or care staff looking after them are less likely to encounter medication errors and take their medications the prescribed way. I’ve spoken with many residents who don’t understand why they have been prescribed so many medications and what the medications are for.
Let's delve into this next case study which, unfortunately, happens quite frequently.
A resident and their neighbor came down for assistance with her medication. The resident’s neighbor dropped a month’s worth of pill pack medications on my desk as well as a medication bottle with another medication in it, mostly full. The bottle of medication’s expiration date was 2017, and the pill packs were from early 2019. You can imagine my surprise. The member wanted to know which medication she should take. She had recently decided to switch doctors and could not remember the last time she went to her doctor, which may have explained why she didn’t have any current medications. She "had a splitting headache and needed to take something right away."
I reviewed the medications and advised that it was not safe to take these expired medications and that I could help call the doctor to see if they will renew her medications and advise her on her headache. I was very hopeful that we could get a telehealth appointment that day. After 40 minutes on hold with the doctor’s office, they said they had not seen the resident since January and could not renew any medications without seeing her. Absolutely, this is the right call. They didn’t have any spots on their schedule for the same day but could get her in the next day.
The resident was thankful that I was able to get through and assist. Due to the long wait time on hold, the resident went back to her apartment to rest and get rid of her headache while waiting on hold and getting her appointment scheduled. When she returned to the wellness office, we discussed the importance of taking medication correctly, attending all scheduled medical appointments, and ensuring that you are taking the right medication at the right time and not letting them expire.
Unfortunately, we see these patterns over and over, a trend we are hoping to break. Residents will ration medication, share medication, and save unused medications- "just in case" and mix medications, forgetting what pills went in what bottles.
We are privileged to be the eyes, ears, and advocates for our residents, helping them get back on track to a healthier lifestyle. While the member’s neighbor meant well and certainly did the right thing by bringing her to the wellness office, she didn’t have the knowledge or tools to reach out to the doctor’s office or counsel her friend correctly on using expired medications.
We have caught many medication errors for our residents and have connected with their providers to rectify the problems. Providing better healthcare outcomes for our members and reducing costly ER visits due to medication misuse is one of the key reasons an on-site wellness program benefits all.
Case Study: Hearing impaired, no transportation, primary caregiver to limited mobility family member also living in the home
One of our members is significantly hearing impaired. They are also the primary caregiver to a disabled family member that lives in the household. Neither member has access to transportation; both are considered low-income and receive financial assistance.
The member came to us for transportation assistance to cardiology and audiology appointments as well as help with a hearing aid invoice they were not expecting. The member also shared that they don’t answer the phone because they receive so many spam calls. This makes it nearly impossible for outside agencies to reach these members.
We called the insurance company and hearing aid vendor and found that the hearing aids were not purchased through an authorized vendor of the insurer therefore, they could not be returned or repaired. We called the insurance company to see if there was a transportation benefit for this member; there was not. They also did not qualify for Medicaid, excluding them from their transportation services. (This process takes hours and is frustrating. Many members do not have the capacity, minutes on their phone, or knowledge to navigate the system to get the results they need.)
We called in our partners at WeCanHelpYou.org to meet with our members and see if they might qualify for a health plan that provides transportation and meets their medical needs. Not only did they find a plan that provides transportation for the member, but they also received a plan that has no co-pays and no drug costs while being able to keep their current providers. Our partner also found that the member qualified for extra help, qualifying them for extra cost savings. They were also able to keep their quarterly over-the-counter benefit. We helped them order the supplies they needed. They did not know how to utilize this benefit and as a result, forfeited hundreds of their dollars because they didn’t understand how to use the benefit and wouldn’t have called to ask for help due to the hearing impairment and spam calls.
We are working with an agency that will pick up the remaining cost of the new hearing aids. We were able to schedule a home visit by a nurse to evaluate the bed-bound member to initiate care at home.
Preserving our client’s dignity and independence is a priority at Trine Healthcare.
Case Study: When prevention and technology collide
Consistent high blood pressure, provider contact information invalid, unable to use technology to find member’s provider
We have a member who would come down intermittently to get their blood pressure checked. This member is generally in good health. However, recently their blood pressure was very high. We retested their blood pressure a few times to see if the reading was consistent, and it was. We asked them to reach out to their doctor for further evaluation. The following week we checked the member’s blood pressure again and it was still high. We asked if they had scheduled an appointment with the provider and they said, “they are not answering their phone.” The member had called their provider a few times, trying to schedule an appointment, with no success.
We received permission from our client to call their provider and try to schedule an appointment. The message on the recording said, "we are no longer accepting calls at this phone number." Our member doesn’t know how to use the computer to find their provider. We were able to locate the provider and schedule an appointment for the member. The member went to their appointment; their blood pressure was still high. The provider changed the members’ medications and gave them two business cards: one for us and one for the member. The provider also asked that we report the member’s blood pressure to the provider weekly so that they can monitor it closely and make sure that the new medication changes are working. Regular testing and monitoring of vital signs can help catch some life-threatening conditions before they end up as a costly trip to the ER or worse, cause irreversible damage. Not having the knowledge or technology to track down providers, being placed on hold and getting disconnected frequently makes members hesitant to stay vigilant with preventative doctor appointments. We are here to close those gaps.