February 23, 2015

Landmark’s house call model reducing ER visits for WNY seniors

Buffalo is the launch market for a medical group that delivers house calls and team-based interdisciplinary care for Seniors in the Erie County area and its environs.

Tracey Drury
Buffalo Business First Reporter-
Buffalo Business First

Buffalo is the launch market for a California home-care company, which is banking on the fact its house call model will keep seniors healthier and save insurers money.

Adam Boehler, CEO of Landmark Health Inc., said the physicians, nurse practitioners and other professionals who work for the company provide their care exclusively in the home, complementing existing relationships their patients have with local primary care doctors.

“It’s back to the future a little bit,” he said. “We’re not replacing what primary care does; we partner with physicians. This is the 24-7 eyes and ears in the home for them.”

Boehler traveled to Buffalo Feb. 19 to dedicate the company’s new offices at the Larkin Center of Commerce. The company has partnered with HealthNow NY to serve Medicare Advantage members enrolled in BlueCross BlueShield of WNY’s Care At Home program, as well as beneficiaries in Albany through its BlueShield of Northeastern New York division and a second provider in that market, CDHCP.

In the next few months, the company will launch care teams in Portland, Ore., and Seattle.
Founded in 2010, Landmark’s model works by creating care teams in each market made up of local physicians, NPs, nurses, social workers, dietitians and pharmacists. The teams provide proactive, “longitudinal” services for critically ill seniors in the same way their physician would, helping avoid late-night hospital visits.
If the client needs additional short-term care, Landmark works with their primary care physician to bring in a home-care aide or hospice through other providers.

“Our whole model is built around serving people proactively in their home. The business model is overserving people in need, so we provide concierge care for the oldest and sickest,” Boehler said. “By doing that, they go to the hospital half as much.”

The launch in Buffalo came partly through former business connections: Boehler knew HealthNow CEO David Anderson from his previous position working in Southern California.

“Dave and his team were really excited and passionate about what we do,” Boehler said. “We’re looking for communities with a frail, elderly population that needs our services and we have that in Buffalo.”

Anderson said the service complements existing care while providing an add-on for members.

“It’s very much like the traditional, old-school house call but linked in a modern way through medical records to their primary care physician and their specialists,” Anderson said.

The service won’t be available to every member: The typical patient would be a senior with co-morbidities or multiple chronic diseases who might have difficulty accessing care in a typical doctor’s office setting. Rather than take the place of an existing physician relationship, the service offers something the patient might not be accessing because they feel it’s too much trouble or might be too expensive. And handling issues proactively help to prevent emergency visits later.

Since services began in October, the company has helped cut in half emergency department visits for clients. That translates to savings for both patients and the health-care system, Anderson said.

“This allows them to have access to a service the way they’d like to have it,” he said. “Efficiency in healthcare and higher quality in healthcare generally saves everyone money: It saves the patient money and it saves the health plan so it’s a win-win all around.”

Landmark’s Buffalo office currently employs 30, a figure Boehler says will grow to 70 in the next three months to serve about 5,000 members in Erie and Niagara counties. By mid-year, total company employment should reach about 250 in four markets, with about 15,000 individuals expected to be served.
Tracey Drury covers health/medical, nonprofits and insurance.