The US Family Health Plan’s population health-based approach to caring for its nearly 150,000 military family and retiree members across the country is unique among TRICARE Prime providers in the Military Health System.
Dr. David Howes, president and CEO of Martin’s Point HealthCare in Maine, explains how the US Family Health Plan’s value-based approach to health care promotes better health outcomes.
“Population health means that we will understand the health and needs of each and every member of the US Family Health Plan. And that we will work to help those members to remain healthy and when sick to regain their health quickly,” Howes says.
Preventive health measures, such as weight loss programs and patient risk profiling allow the US Family Health Plan’s member organizations to stay in front of members’ chronic conditions and keep them well.
“Patients come to us, and many times they don’t have a chronic disease yet,” Howes explains. “So by understanding our members and understanding all of their medical circumstances, we can actually often intervene in their diabetes, their high blood fats and their weight, or in other areas of their life where we can help them to reduce the risk of becoming ill and prevent them from getting sick, rather than treating them when they become sick.”
This proactive approach to health care helps military families and retirees if they eventually do develop a chronic illness. According to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of all adults in the U.S. (117 million people) suffered from at least one chronic health condition, while 25 percent had more than one chronic condition.
“It’s awfully likely that most of us will develop chronic illness, and that really requires that we custom-tailor programs to the needs of our members so that they can have the doctors they need, the care support that they need, and the family and personal support that they need,” Howes says. “Those things both improve the quality of their lives, often reduce the progression of their illness, and help them to stay out of the hospital and stay well.”
The US Family Health Plan’s preventive health care initiatives, including disease and complex care management programs and a patient-centered medical home concept that includes in-home patient monitoring, keep members active in lifestyle programs and invested in their health and wellness. This model of care falls closely in line with recent requests by Congress to reform the Military Health System and contributes to keeping US Family Health Plan members satisfied with their health care, out of the hospital and able to experience a high quality of life.