Article | 07/31/23

Independence Blue Cross teams up with Carallel to give caregivers a support system to lean on as their loved ones are discharged from the hospital

This article originally appeared on IBX.com on July 24, 2023.

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is working with Carallel to give more support to those caring for a loved one on Medicare Advantage who was just discharged from the hospital. Carallel is a company that provides high-touch support and high-tech tools to caregivers. Together, the two organizations have developed a program that gives caregivers the support system they need to take care of their loved ones after a hospitalization. It provides them with access to expert advice, practical assistance, planning resources, support groups, and connections with Carallel’s Care Advocates.

Research from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association finds that nearly 51 million Americans who are elderly or who have a serious medical condition require a caregiver. This represents a significant share of the population, resulting in a profound economic impact estimated at $264 billion annually. That figure captures the direct impact, accounting for time spent caregiving and its influence on caregiver decisions around work, absenteeism, and productivity. It also includes indirect impact, which accounts for poor health outcomes associated with the demands of providing care.

“Family caregivers take on enormous responsibility for loved ones — never more so than when that loved one has been hospitalized. They face unexpected challenges and unfamiliar responsibilities. Through our work with Carallel, we are able to ‘show up’ for caregivers who ‘show up’ for our members. We want to support them when they need it, so they can support their loved ones with confidence,” said Heidi Syropoulos, M.D., medical director for Government Markets at Independence.

Those who are caring for Independence Medicare Advantage members are able to enroll in the program in the weeks after their loved one is discharged from the hospital. Once enrolled, they have structured touchpoints with Carallel’s Care Advocates who provide a listening ear and knowledgeable advice. They also have access to educational and collaborative digital tools that are available 24/7. The program has four key focus areas:

  • Building and maintaining caregiver resilience
  • Creating a manageable plan and confidence in its execution
  • Assisting caregivers with complex tasks and responsibilities (e.g., advance care planning, accessing care, finding in-home supports, vetting senior living options, etc.)
  • Collaborating with Independence Case Management to make sure there is a good member experience.

Caregivers who are currently enrolled in the program have been highly engaged. They have averaged nearly 10 interactions with Carallel Care Advocates since the program began on January 1, 2023. What’s more, nearly two-thirds of caregivers who completed the program have asked for ongoing support. This shows that there is a great need for caregiver education and encouragement.

“The greatest correlation  to readmissions is being alone and unsupported. After a hospital stay, family caregivers jump in to coordinate care, tend to activites of daily living, manage medications, and watch over their loved ones. It is stressful and complicated and, too often, caregivers are exhausted, overwhelmed, uninformed, and unsure about the future. But, when caregivers receive the support they need in these moments that matter, their loved ones have better outcomes,” said Shara Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, Carallel. “We are excited to partner with Independence and other organizations that recognize the importance of their members’ caregivers, celebrate them and do their part to make the caregivers’ journey easier.”

Members must have a Medicare Advantage plan with Independence and must have been recently discharged from the hospital for their caregiver to be eligible for the program. For more information on the program visit, https://carallel.com/independence/.

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. For 85 years, we have been enhancing the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. We deliver innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneer new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and support programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit ibx.com. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Carallel
Carallel uses expert guidance and digital tools to identify and empower caregivers so they can confidently manage the twists and turns of caregiving. Carallel partners with health plans and providers aiming to achieve better outcomes, and employers striving to retain employees and increase productivity.

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