SCAN Group has entered into the in-home senior primary care space with the launch of Welcome Health. Dr. Scott Weingarten will serve as CEO of the independent primary care medical group moving forward.
“Welcome Health will care for predominantly Medicare Advantage patients,” Weingarten told Home Health Care News. “It’s a SCAN initiative. We will care for seniors largely, although not exclusively, in their home by sending out health care providers, including physicians and allied health professionals. We will also care for them using telehealth.”
SCAN Group is a nonprofit organization focused on helping older adults age in place. SCAN Group’s holdings include Long Beach, California-based SCAN Health Plan, which is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans.
For SCAN Group, Welcome Health is another way to fuel the organization’s overall mission, according to Dr. Sachin Jain, president and CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan.
“With Welcome Health, SCAN is broadening our offerings in keeping with our mission to keep seniors healthy and independent,” Jain said in a press statement.
Overall, Welcome Health will deliver routine primary care, preventive care, chronic illness management and more in the home.
“We can deliver a high quality of care in the home,” Weingarten said. “Initially, it will be exclusively primary care, but that is fairly broad in terms of the types of care that can be delivered, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of both acute and chronic conditions.”
Additionally, Welcome Health will have a clinic presence for patients who opt to have their care delivered in this manner.
In general, the idea is to ensure that care revolves around the patient rather than the provider.
“We’ve spoken to a lot of seniors, and many of them have significant challenges making it into their physician’s office,” Weingarten said. “They may have transportation issues, where it may require one of their children to take a day off work. They may have mobility issues, or they may have incontinence. We’re finding there are a lot of seniors who are delaying or not receiving care because of these and [other] issues.”
The other key principle at Welcome Health is a focus on the science of aging and geriatrics.
This means making sure that all care is consistent with the large knowledge base that has been developed over many decades in geriatrics, according to Weingarten.
“There’s a well-developed science of what will lead to the highest quality care, best patient experience and the most affordable care for seniors,” he said. “We’re going to focus on social determinants of health. We will screen patients for depression, loneliness or frailty. We will find out if they’re at risk for falls. We will see if they’re on any medications that could cause significant side effects or if the potential harms of those medications exceed the benefits.”
In some ways, the COVID-19 emergency opened the door for SCAN Group to launch Welcome Health.
“I think care is being delayed because of fear of contracting illness for some patients, and that has heightened our desire to deliver care in the home to a much greater extent,” Weingarten said.
Along with Weingarten, the Welcome Health leadership team will also include Dr. Deena Goldwater, who will serve as vice president of care delivery and chief science officer.
Additionally, Dr. Anthony Nguyen has been named vice president and chief product officer. Stephen Valderrama will serve as vice president of clinical operations, with Dr. Michael Wang serving as vice president of clinical affairs. David Brown will be chief of staff.
Tuesday’s news comes less than three months after SCAN announced a strategic investment in the home-focused startup MedArrive.
At the time, SCAN leaders told HHCN MedArrive was “just the start” of a broader in-home care push.