Home-based social program provided by a community health and social worker reduces acute care use and improves care for older adults with complex health and social needs.
Many older adults with complex medical needs also have unmet social needs, which can lead to poorer quality of care. Interventions that engage community health workers and social workers have demonstrated positive outcomes in addressing health-related social needs and improving clinical outcomes for patients in home- and community-based settings. This study evaluates Connecting Provider to Home, a home-based pilot program led by SCAN Health Plan, a Medicare Advantage plan in California. This program, which is for older adults with multiple chronic conditions and complex social needs, deploys a social worker and community health worker to connect patients to social services and support access to primary care.
Enrollees in the program experienced significantly reduced emergency department visits and hospitalizations 12 months post-enrollment compared to 12 months before enrollment, when compared with a matched comparison group. Patients also reported improved satisfaction, quality of care, and communication from the community health worker-social worker care team.
Interventions that integrate social workers and community health workers into the care team can potentially lead to improved patient outcomes for adults with complex health and social needs. Through this type of intervention, health plans as well as provider partners with shared or full risk may experience cost savings through resulting reduced acute care utilization.