A new whitepaper explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted beneficiaries and how a comprehensive health assessment can bridge care gaps for high-risk members.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a radical refocus of personal health priorities. Prevention and chronic care have taken a backseat to the urgency of a looming health crisis, with many Americans choosing to postpone or forgo reoccurring appointments and annual checkups. Daily routines have been upended as a result of social distancing and stay-at-home orders leading to higher cases of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, ready access to quality care has dwindled with 8 percent of physicians having closed their practices throughout the duration of the pandemic, and 43 percent noting a reduction in medical staff. Even the number of emergency room patients has dropped between 40 and 50 percent nationwide since March 2020, signaling the heightened hesitation many feel in seeking non-COVID-related care.

These compounding factors pose a significant risk to older adults and those managing comorbid conditions who require regular follow-up from their primary care provider (PCP). Equally as concerning are the many who are experiencing mental health and other social determinants of health issues from prolonged states of pandemic-induced isolation that often go undetected.

For almost 20 years, Matrix Medical Network (“Matrix”) has provided quality care through compassionate, clinical excellence, and its Comprehensive Health Assessment (“CHA”) program is a living embodiment of that mission. CHAs provide an opportunity for higher-risk members to be identified for care management or disease intervention through personalized, in-home consultations with a licensed practitioner.

When the pandemic made physical visits impossible, Matrix quickly pivoted its CHA to a virtual telehealth format in order to maintain continuity of care for its members. These sessions produced positive results relating to engagement, satisfaction, and clinical impact over a short period of time by accommodating those who were unable or unwilling to leave their homes. By June 2020, providers were able to re-enter member homes creating a full spectrum of flexible care delivery options.

While the initial surge in virtual doctor visits among Medicare-eligible members has begun to level off, experts predict up to 30 percent of care may be delivered digitally from now on. Matrix will continue to deliver optimal care in each modality to meet the unique needs of its members. Told through story-enriched data points that highlight real member experiences, this paper demonstrates the immense value CHAs deliver in bridging the health care gap, regardless of the modality in which they are delivered. Both physical and virtual consultations have proven effective in educating, empowering, and building genuine relationships with members, while offering the flexibility to meet them where they are.

To read the entire white paper, click here.