Q&A: UnitedHealthcare Pacific Northwest CEO Gary Daniels highlights the company’s behavioral health work in Washington and Oregon – State of Reform

UnitedHealthcare Pacific Northwest offers health insurance plans in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii and Montana. The company’s CEO, Gary Daniels, has been with the company for 10 years, serving in a variety of local and national roles.

UnitedHealthcare represents more than 990,800 members in Washington and more than 420,000 members in Oregon, and is committed to addressing behavioral health challenges in both states. In this Q&A, Daniels discusses some of the initiatives that stem from that mission with State of Reform.

Get information on upcoming events, insights from key stakeholders, and state-specific reports delivered to your inbox!

Reform status: What are UnitedHealthcare Pacific Northwests current priorities in the behavioral health space in Washington and Oregon?

Gary Daniels: According to United Health Foundations’ recent Americas Health Rankings report, Washington ranked 32nd And Oregon ranked 39th nationwide for adults with chronic mental distress. To help positively impact behavioral health challenges in Washington and Oregon, UnitedHealthcare financially supports the work of nonprofit and social service organizations at the local level, especially in communities with limited resources.

UnitedHealthcares’ philanthropic investments are addressing behavioral health in many ways, including promoting equity and diversity in the health workforce, school-based interventions, addressing clinician well-being and improving access to care for under-resourced communities.

For example, in the past two years in Washington alone, UnitedHealthcare has provided grants to NAMI Yakima ($87,500), Goodheart Native American health center ($150,000), Consejo Consulting and Referral Services in Pierce County ($200,000) and Eastern Washington Volunteers of America ($150,000). That nearly $600,000 in funding will help provide and expand culturally appropriate health care and case management programming for youth, adults, families and the homeless.

We recognize that, as a leader in the healthcare industry, UnitedHealthcare has a unique role to play in transforming the behavioral health system to be more sustainable for the future. We are combining technology, clinical expertise and strategic partnerships to help ensure more people have access to quality, supportive behavioral health services.

Part of that effort is guiding people to the right care at the right time through a range of behavioral health solutions from digital self-help tools, in-person visits and virtual coaching, family support programs and employee assistance programs, allowing individuals to access support in a variety of ways.

People have different needs and preferences about when and how to receive behavioral health care. With UnitedHealthcare, members have easier access to that support, whether it’s quality clinical care, virtual services or mobile apps.

Our behavioral health advocates bring understanding, compassion and support while providing members with a personal, guided experience to help remove the complexity of health care. They strive to simplify the process by helping members understand their benefits and find timely care with the right provider (social workers, counselors, and psychiatrists), as well as such as appropriate programs and resources.

SOR: Are there any legislative bills/initiatives that UnitedHealthcare Pacific Northwest supports in the 2023 legislative sessions in Washington and Oregon that could help realize these efforts? Are there any future legislative initiatives that the company would like to prioritize?

GD: To improve the healthcare experience and access to care, UnitedHealthcare supports approaches that expand and diversify the capabilities of the healthcare workforce. Approaches include increasing positions for primary care and behavioral health clinicians, and supporting clinicians providing care in rural and remote areas. other underserved areas.

SOR: How has the redefinition of Medicaid and the end of the public health emergency affected UnitedHealthcare Pacific Northwest?

GD: UnitedHealthcare has the privilege of serving Washington state’s Medicaid population. UnitedHealthcares’ priority is to ensure every Washingtonian maintains access to high-quality, affordable health insurance through Medicaid or other health insurance options, such as individual plans and family or employer-sponsored.

We are taking an active role in Medicaid renewal by working closely with state partners, pharmacies, retailers, providers and community organizations to educate the public. We are also communicating with our members through multiple avenues including direct mail, text messages, social media, phone calls, emails and news media.

SOR: What other initiatives is UnitedHealthcare Pacific Northwest currently working on?

GD: In addition to our efforts in behavioral health, UnitedHealthcare is focused on addressing other social drivers of health (SDOH) across Oregon and Washington. We are helping to address the social factors that can affect a person’s health and wellness beyond the services provided in the doctor’s office. SDOH such as lack of reliable transportation, access to affordable housing, and access to nutritious food can affect 80 percent health outcomes.

Improving access to affordable housing is a key priority for UnitedHealthcare in the Pacific Northwest and nationwide. Importantly, UnitedHealthcare recently invested more than $15 million in equity capital into the construction of Aloha Family Housing, an affordable housing development near Portland. Scheduled to open in early 2024, the new affordable housing structure will provide 81 affordable apartments in Beaverton for households [earning] between 30 percent (and) 60 percent of median income.

To help further address these types of issues among our members, we are using data to identify enrollees in our employer-sponsored health plans who there may be a potential need for SDOH. Based predictive analytics model Using de-identified claims information and other data sources, eligible members are encouraged to access a curated database of free or low-cost community resources , including access to nutritious food, affordable housing, and the internet.

This program is designed to connect members with community resources that empower individuals to address challenging life events or circumstances, leveraging a database of more than 550,000 local organization or program. This managed database also available for public use.

UnitedHealthcare is also investing in new ways to help members make more informed health care decisions, including initiatives to improve access to quality and cost information. That’s the important thing that comes up more than half of Americans reported being confused by their health plan. To help simplify the way people use the healthcare system, UnitedHealthcares Most certainly The program provides members with clear, upfront coverage and cost information before scheduling a medical appointment.

The Sureest plan eliminates deductibles and coinsurance, replacing them with value-based copays designed to encourage members to choose the right care at the right time , in the right environment. As a result, Surest members become more actively involved with their health plan compared to traditional services, encouraging individuals to access preventive care services more frequently while reducing out-of-pocket costs by 54%.

With predictable copays and no deductibles or coinsurance due after care, the Sureest program helps members and their families worry less about costs and focus on receiving higher quality, higher value care.

This Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.

#UnitedHealthcare #Pacific #Northwest #CEO #Gary #Daniels #highlights #companys #behavioral #health #work #Washington #Oregon #State #Reform
Image Source : stateofreform.com

Leave a Comment