Magellan Healthcare, the behavioral and specialty healthcare arm of managed care organization Magellan Health (NASDAQ: MGLN), has launched a new program to help older adults address the social determinants of health.
To provide these services, Magellan Healthcare has partnered with DOUS, a digital advanced assistant and support tool. New York-based DUOS was founded in 2020. In April, it closed a $15 million Series A round.
As part of the program, members are paired with a personal assistant, or “Duo,” to help them coordinate resources and seek support.
“It’s unique in that it brings together de-stigmatizing support for social determinants of health, as well as pairing with behavioral health services when needed,” said Dr. Alisa Bahl, chief strategy officer for behavioral specialty health at Magellan Healthcare, told Behavioral Health Business.
Magellan Healthcare, based in Phoenix, Arizona, has more than 1,000 employer contracts and 110,000 providers in its network.
To date, 11,123 members have been activated in the DUOS program. Members and their assistants talk weekly. Duos focuses on identifying the needs and concerns of older adults. They can also flag more serious behavioral health needs for specific patients.
“This is a pre-pandemic population, and we’re really seeing an epidemic of loneliness,” Barr said. “Through the pandemic, you’re seeing more people quarantined and also having to navigate the healthcare system.”
The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, one in six people will be 60 or older. During the COVID-19 pandemic, 46 percent of older adults reported that they had little social contact, according to the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
While the program is designed to help address loneliness and other social determinants of health, patients who need more care can be referred.
“When you think about mental health needs, community support, engagement activities, helping to find structure in people’s lives, [this] Really helps them thrive,” Barr said. “So these are some of the ways I think about helping support emotional health. In some cases, you can see very severe isolation, depression, sadness, or loss in older adults. This could be a serious problem. So at that time, being able to hire a skilled mental health professional is really helpful. “
In 2021, Magellan and DOUS announced the launch of their pilot program aimed at helping older adults cope with the social determinants of health.
Magellan reports that the program has an 85 percent and 93 percent retention and success rate, respectively, in addressing the social determinants of members’ health needs.
“We are very happy with the results and we want to move on,” Bahl said. “We have traditional support for behavioral health components. Going forward, we will use Magellan Provider Services, a group of externally owned providers who can provide instant access as needed to help address identified behavioral health issues Any kind of help.”