The Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP), a nonprofit insurer in the Capital District and eastern part of New York State, has opened its first customer assistance office in a hospital at Schenectady’s Ellis Hospital. The office called Customer Connect is the kind of program that consumer advocates have been hoping to see as health care is being transformed to be more patient centered. The office will have several staff on hand to assist patients with insurance questions, medication management, facilitating transportation to follow up medical appointments and coordination with primary care physicians. Dr. John Bennett, CEO of CDPHP, said that the goal is “to improve the patient care experience” and to have “satisfied members and satisfied patients.”
Senior and health consumer advocates have been supportive of programs like community patient navigators who would perform similar functions outside the hospital. Advocates and service providers want to be involved and coordinate post hospital care to help reduce hospital re-admissions. Hospital and health providers have emphasized in recent years that “social determinants of health” such as transportation, housing and nutrition, have a great impact on the ability of patients, especially the poor and elderly, to successfully follow improve their health status after an illness.
CDPHP is looking to establish similar programs with the two major hospitals and health system in the City of Albany, Albany Medical Center and St. Peters.