Visiting Nurse Service of New York Brings VNSNY CHOICE to Seniors in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester

(Yahoo) NEW YORK, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — VNSNY CHOICE, an affiliate of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the nation’s largest not-for-profit home health care agency, has received approval from the State of New York to expand its managed long term care health plan to Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties beginning May 1, 2012. This is good news for seniors and individuals with multiple chronic illnesses or disabilities who are no longer able to live on their own and want to remain at home instead of moving to a nursing home.

For more than a decade, VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans have supported Medicaid and/or Medicare eligible New Yorkers with customized health coverage that addresses the individual needs of each member. Using an innovative nurse-led team approach to coordinated care based on the VNSNY community-based health care visiting nurse model that has been keeping New Yorkers safe at home for over a century, all members have a dedicated Nurse Care Manager who serves as a personal liaison with the member’s physician and other health specialists–encouraging preventive health and lifestyle choices that foster well-being and independence.

“VNSNY CHOICE is a safety net for a growing population that is at risk for falling through the cracks in our healthcare system,” says Christopher Palmieri, president of VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans. “Our mission has always been to help people take responsibility for their own health, while providing the care and assistance they need to live with dignity in the homes and communities that sustain them. We’re very pleased to be able to expand our CHOICE service to Long Island and Westchester County.”

New state regulations scheduled to take effect this summer will require that all Medicaid beneficiaries receiving home and community-based care services for more than 120 days must enroll in a Managed Long Term Care health plan. This change is designed to manage state healthcare costs more efficiently and also provide better care for a growing population with increasing medical needs.

Long Island and Westchester County residents most affected by the new Medicaid regulations include individuals without a regular primary care physician or “medical home” who do not get regular medical exams, patients who frequently land in the Emergency Room when their conditions become life-threatening or serious, and those who manage multiple medications prescribed from a number of physicians. VNSNY CHOICE Managed Long Term Care Health Plans were designed specifically to manage the complex health needs of this population.

“As is often the case when things change, the new law is triggering a bit of confusion and chaos for some people,” Palmieri says. “Because VNSNY has earned a trusted reputation in the communities that we serve, our nurses and healthcare professionals have been able to simplify and clarify the concept of Managed Long Term Care for those who will be affected by the new regulations. When people see firsthand that the VNSNY CHOICE MLTC model brings the right care to them at the right time and ensures more sustainable funding of that care, they can relax a bit and enjoy their lives.”

Upon enrollment in the plan, each VNSNY CHOICE member receives a comprehensive health assessment by a registered home care nurse who works with the individual’s physician to determine the nature and frequency of services the person truly needs.

Each member is then assigned a personal Nurse Care Manager who coordinates all aspects of patient care and is in constant communication with the member’s primary care physician and other health specialists. A team of health professionals, from social workers and nutritionists to physical therapists is at each member’s disposal according to doctor’s orders. The team develops a comprehensive plan of care that proactively keeps people active, healthy and engaged in their communities.

As the “eyes and ears of the primary care physician,” the CHOICE health care team visits members in their own home setting where easy-to-disguise conditions such as depression and poor nutrition sometimes reveal themselves more clearly. By getting to know the patient in the home environment, the team also becomes aware of situations that a patient might not mention in a regular office or ER visit, such as lack of air conditioning or heat, rodent problems, or unsanitary plumbing, which could have a serious impact on health.

The CHOICE MLTC plan offers a personalized approach to care–patients develop relationships with their Nurse Care Manager and other members of the health care team instead of feeling like just a number.

VNSNY CHOICE allows individuals to enroll with practically no wait time, ensuring a seamless transition and access to the care and services they need. This pioneering model for personalized in-home managed care brings a smarter, more efficient healthcare option to residents of Long Island and Westchester County and moves New York a step closer to viable health care reform.

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