Updated Jan 24, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A Vitals "Check-Up" event on health outcomes and care options for seniors

On Tuesday, January 24th, Axios senior health care editor Adriel Bettelheim and health care editor Tina Reed hosted a virtual event exploring the impact of factors such as policy and social determinants on health outcomes and care options for seniors. Guests included Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) and National Hispanic Medical Association president and CEO Elena V. Rios. The View from the Top sponsored segment featured UnitedHealth Group chief medical officer and executive vice president Margaret-Mary Wilson.

Rep. Raul Ruiz discussed how Congress could help expand seniors’ access to quality health care and the success he has seen with home-based community health worker visits as a health care delivery model.

  • On short-term solutions for health care equity: “A very concrete short-term solution would be to extend the flexibilities that Medicare has on telehealth, and telehealth in general, from the Department of Health and Human Services, beyond the extra two years that we just did in the omnibus.”
  • On home-based care from community health workers: “That has shown to work during the pandemic in terms of utilizing the community health worker model to reach the hardest to reach, hardest hit vulnerable populations from COVID-19 and to decrease the disparities that we saw with vaccinations. So if I were to pick a grandiose plan in helping our community get healthier, especially seniors, and improve their social determinants of health in terms of access to care, social networks and check-ins in home-based care, that’s the system that I would design.”

Elena V. Rios explained how pandemic-era flexibilities in telehealth and at-home care impacted Hispanic patients specifically and how the end of the public health emergency will impact health care access.

  • On improving equity in telehealth and at-home care delivery: “I think the telemedicine world that we see with COVID-19 and we’re going to continue to see needs to adapt to low-income families more than anything. And I think, you know, in terms of the other home care…it’s very important to have home care that reflects the community.”
  • On the end of the public health emergency and insurance coverage losses: “By the end of the year, we’re going to see many major changes because the public health emergency ends. But more important, we’re going to see people getting off Medicaid…if there was a way to have better education and better connection to everybody on Medicaid, that they are going to be taken off Medicaid month to month to month, that they need to know about it ahead of time and need to know what they can do to stay on Medicaid if they are eligible.”

In the View from the Top segment, UnitedHealth Group chief medical officer and executive vice president Margaret-Mary Wilson highlighted the importance of treating patients with holistic care and how social factors impact health.

  • “As a physician over the years which I’ve practiced it has become increasingly evident to us that health cannot just be considered the absence of disease. Health is life. It’s the way we all live, and so it’s really important that we take a comprehensive approach to it and consider social factors that impact that.”

Thank you UnitedHealthcare for sponsoring this event.

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