Early in my nursing career, I worked in a variety of medical practices and saw firsthand the impact that office staffs have in establishing effective, collaborative relationships with patients and their families. These front-line employees are the liaisons between physicians and patients. Research shows that the personal relationship of a patient with his or her doctor and the clinic staff are the strongest predictors of patient satisfaction.
WellCare’s Harmony Health Plan in Illinois has developed two incentive plans designed to recognize this important relationship by rewarding staffs that promote positive health outcomes for our members. The plan targets two key quality measures:
- Referrals of newly pregnant members to the Harmony Hugs Program.
- Completion of vaccination requirements and well-child visits for children.
Harmony’s Hugs Program positively impacts our ability to encourage needed care. Mothers enrolled in the program were 15 percent more likely to obtain recommended prenatal and postpartum care. The program provides expectant mothers with their choice of a free stroller or a free portable play yard for completing a total of six prenatal visits. There is a small financial incentive for completing postpartum care.
For every fifth program referral completed by the office staff within seven days of a member’s first visit, Harmony provides the entire staff with lunch. The same incentive is offered for every fifth medical flow sheet that is submitted to document children under the age of 2 who receive all recommended vaccinations or well child visits.
These unique programs are meant to inspire and reward office staffs that encourage actions designed to help women deliver healthy babies who have the care and support the need to remain healthy.
As the senior director of quality at WellCare’s Harmony Health Plan in Illinois, Marie Baker, RN, oversees quality improvement initiatives designed to ensure our members are receiving the best possible health care. She has more than 20 years’ experience in managed care and working with providers and members to improve access and quality of care.