Community Lynk: The BeneLynk Approach

I recently attended the annual AHIP Conference on Medicare, Medicaid, and Dual Eligibles. As with most industry conferences these days, there was a lot of talk about the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH). At BeneLynk we believe that understanding and impacting SDoH barriers is the future of healthcare and we have designed our Community Lynk services to do just that for Medicare Advantage plans.

Our principles:

  1. We put the member’s first in all of our engagement by leading with help. Our engagements begin with us asking the member what challenges they are facing and offering assistance in meeting those challenges.

  2. We focus on addressing common SDOH barriers where we can create a positive outcome for the member. The most common barriers we address are:

  3. Nutrition

  4. Transportation

  5. Financial assistance

We put nutrition first for a reason. Addressing hunger is a fundamental need for humans. There are many powerful programs to help address the challenge of inadequate food, but too often these programs are under-utilized. We focus on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because according to at least 1 study, only 42% of eligible seniors are enrolled in this impactful program. If a member wants help applying for SNAP, we provide the help and address the nutritional challenge.

Beyond nutrition, in our Community Lynk services, we access a wide spectrum of available programs and services. The member drives our services, telling us how we can help, and telling us about the most meaningful challenges.

Improve Health! In a 2018 study from WellCare Health plans and published in the journal, Population Health Management, Researchers compared callers who received social referrals, and said they went on to have their needs met, with a control group of people who reported their needs were not met.

By comparing medical expenses for the year before, and the year after the referrals, they found that those saying their needs were met had an 11% reduction in second-year total health-care costs, while callers who said their needs remained unmet had a 1% decrease. By linking members with needed services we not only produce a satisfied member, and improve quality-of-life, but we give the members the tools they need to live their healthiest lives.

Finally, we objectively document the SDoH barriers using Z-codes and ICD-10s. With the recent proposed expansions of ICD-10 codes to include documenting SDoH barriers we think it is important for Medicare Advantage plans to have a methodology to capture documentation of SDoH barriers as the industry takes these barriers into account more and more.

As always, we are excited to talk about our Community Lynk program or Social Determinants of Health in general. If you want to chat, please drop us a note today at Sales@BeneLynk.com

About the Author

Sean Libby has been an advocate for seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and individuals with low income for over 17 years. At BeneLynk, we are committed to helping managed care plans to deliver superior Social Determinant of Health solutions to their members. We are always looking to learn more and would like to hear your ideas on how best to assist members in need. Drop us a note at Sales@BeneLynk.com.

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