Posts Tagged ‘CareSource Foundation’
Dec 19th, 2011 | by
Hunger is a growing issue nationwide. For one in six Americans, hunger is a reality. Those in the most need may be the people we know - our members, our neighbors and our friends. The average food bank in the Midwest has seen requests for food assistance almost double in the last five years.
We decided to join the fight against hunger. For the past few weeks, our employees in all four of our offices (Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and Lansing) have been collecting food for local food banks. We call it our holiday Giving Tree. Our goal was to donate at least 10,000 pounds of food.
One department in the Dayton office took this challenge a step further and collected money to buy peanut butter – the most needed item on the food bank’s list. They collected $1,500 and purchased 900 pounds of peanut butter!
The final numbers are in… (drum roll, please!)
We are excited to report that we exceeded our goal and donated over two tons of food which will go to 80 food banks in Ohio and Michigan.
Our employees are truly amazing and are always willing to help others. Find your local food bank and join us in the fight against hunger.
Sep 22nd, 2011 | by
I like to think of myself as the adventurous type. I’ve been zip lining, whitewater rafting, parasailing, and swimming with sharks. Heck, I’ve gone to the Middle East on the heels of a ceasefire.
But nothing really prepared me for my recent rappelling experience. Twenty-seven stories. Straight down. No previous experience. Ten minutes of “training.” Held only by ropes and a few carabineers.
To be fair, it was all in the name of fundraising. I was thrilled to hear that Big Brothers Big Sisters was launching a new signature fundraiser. As the Executive Director of the CareSource Foundation, I attend many events on behalf of nonprofits throughout our communities. Something new and different gets me excited!
Months ago Big Brothers Big Sisters unveiled the idea and asked if I’d participate. I quickly said yes—although I’m not quite sure I knew what I’d said “yes” to. Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of $1,000 for the “honor” of taking the plunge. That was the easy part. I almost tripled the minimum thanks to great friends with big hearts.
And then it was the day before the event. My stomach turned queasy. My knees began to tremble. My dreams were quite vivid and the reality of what I’d agreed to do hit me like a brick wall. I kept telling myself, “You can’t die for charity, right?”
On the day of the event I was optimistic. A total of 65 novices had agreed to go down the building. I was one of the last and determined to have some fun.
A professional team of climbers took care of the details. Harness, helmet and radio—check. Quick training on the mechanics of a rappel—check. Long elevator ride to the roof—check. Fourteenth trip to the bathroom—check.
It was chilly and windy on the roof. I awaited my turn to stand on the ledge. The team of experts tried to keep us loose and in good humor, but I was desperately trying to remember all of the signals, guidelines and warnings they’d given us on our practice run. My mind went blank. Minor panic.
A huge crowd had gathered on Courthouse Square below to watch. I stepped up on a ladder and then to the ledge. They held me in place and told me to ease my way back. I leaned forward. “Lean back,” they encouraged. My body leaned forward. There’s something very strange about your brain saying one thing and your body responding in a completely different way. I finally got it all connected and one foot inched its way to the wall. Surprisingly, the other foot followed suit.
I was over the edge. “Am I going?” I asked. “You’re gone!” they replied.
Even that high up, I heard the cheer. I think my supporters thought this would be the easy part. I inched the rope through my gloves and got a decent rhythm going as I started walking down the wall. Five stories down I glanced to one side to take in the view. Mistake! I refocused and made a silent pact with myself: “Concentrate. Don’t play around. Get yourself to the ground as efficiently as possible!”
I heard words of encouragement over the tiny radio strapped to my shoulder. I asked them how much farther. Radio silence. I assumed that meant that I had much further to go than they wanted to share. I continued down and began to hear audible cheers. I knew I was close and, for about ten seconds, truly enjoyed the ride.
My feet finally hit the ground. A young girl with red hair and a purple hoodie ran over and put a gold medal around my neck. She was someone’s “little” – the real reason I decided to tackle this beast of a building. I could’ve kissed her. Maybe I did? It was official! My knees shook uncontrollably for about two hours. Adrenaline is an odd bird.
My adventure was both terrifying and exhilarating, but I was reminded of a few lessons along the way:
- The value of trust: Our “handlers” were complete strangers. My life was literally in their hands. I had no choice but to trust that they would safely see me through to the end. I definitely recognized the parallels between my trust experiment and the real world of so many of our CareSource members and Foundation grantees—trusting that we will support them through uncertain, new and oftentimes scary events.
- The impact of enthusiasm: My fellow CareSource employees sent hundreds of emails and intranet messages to encourage my efforts. Their words of support and delicious humor meant the world to me. And throughout the descent, my shoulder radio was abuzz with words of encouragement from handlers on the roof and on the ground. They didn’t know me, but obviously thought I needed to hear more than the rush of wind under my helmet. They were right.
- The power of doing big things: Big Brothers Big Sisters definitely took a leap of faith. Seriously, who would ever think you’d find almost 70 people crazy enough to take this on—AND raise some big dollars at the same time? With many nonprofits struggling with funding these days, I give them credit for trying a creative route that capitalized on a very big idea. As a result, they gained significant visibility and a new revenue stream.
Perhaps most important, there are hundreds of kids who will benefit from the dollars raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters. They will be surrounded by support, provided with mentors, experience new opportunities and enjoy the kind of encouragement that only a “big” can give to a “little.”
The rappel changed my trajectory for about eight minutes, but pales in comparison to the change in direction for so many of these most-deserving kids.
Blog post by Cathy Ponitz, Executive Director of the CareSource Foundation
Aug 18th, 2009 | by
So here’s an interesting story:
A doctor I work with encountered a pretty common situation with a patient. She’d prescribed an inhaler for a patient complaining of shortness of breath. On a follow-up visit, the patient said his symptoms had not changed. Normally, the doctor’s response would be increased dosage, new medication, or perhaps additional tests. But in this case, the physician had the Member Profile CareSource provides at hand, showing that the patient had not filled the first prescription in the first place. What ensued was five minutes of patient education explaining the importance of the medication, exploring why the prescription was not filled, a new copy of the prescription, and a successful treatment at no unnecessary cost.
We hear a lot about the need for digital medical records to provide complete, detailed, accessible record of treatment: they will certainly help cut costs and improve care in the long term.
But valuable as such records are, what they can’t provide is the topline overview of an individual’s health status that can help doctors when they first meet a patient or provide information for quality ongoing care…the kind of broad-spectrum profile of age, family status and other personal information, prescriptions ordered and filled, preventive screenings, previous providers, even non-medical issues affecting health and well-being.
With such a record in hand, any doctor—whether, in any emergency room, urgent care facility, clinic or private office in the U.S.—could jump-start the process of caring for a new patient, or providing quality long-term care for a current patient with a holistic picture that goes beyond the medical situation at hand.
A concise profile like the one CareSource has developed gives physicians, specialists and other providers integrated, up to date information about their patients electronically, so they can provide faster, more accurate assessments and diagnosis, treatment decisions that integrate with the patient’s other care, insights into behaviors that could affect outcomes, and potential problems that may not be presented in the office visits. All that adds up to better information, better care…and lower costs.
Care Management: Where Aggregated Patient Information Lives
The reason currently utilized personal health records, valuable as they will be, can’t do this job alone is simple: they may or may not be accurate or complete. Physician records are more reliable, but only cover care the specific doctor provided directly. They likely don’t contain information about which prescriptions were filled (and who prescribed them), what emergency room visits transpired across the state, nor important medical diagnoses from the patient’s past. Knowledge of this information can affect patient diagnosis, care and health.
But that’s precisely the information CareSource gathers using multiple information sources. We realized that the information we already have on our members could be put to excellent use by providers to the benefit of their practice, their patients, and health care costs overall.
Granted, it was no simple matter to find a way to make all this information easily available to providers. But now, CareSource Member Profiles are up and running. Physicians now have critical information at their fingertips including:
- Member demographics
- Primary care provider information
- Prior prescribing information (updated daily)
- Historical diagnoses
- Patient-specific quality metrics (such as mammography screening, A1C value, and more)
- Prior hospital admissions
- Emergency room visits
- Specialist visits
- Case management activity
It’s About Relationships, Too
What we’ve already discovered since CareSource Member Profiles have been available is that they create a virtuous cycle. Patients have a better feeling about a doctor who understands them, so they rely on that doctor’s opinion more, in lieu of using providers who are not familiar with their medical history. In addition to reaching positive outcomes, physicians with enough information can empower patients to take better care of themselves. By investing in tools physicians appreciate and use every day, CareSource builds stronger relationships with providers based on a lot more than making payments to providers caring for our members. And that means, as our nation moves toward health care reform, we will be able to work together to evolve a system that puts the resources of physicians and care management companies to their best and highest use.