SOURCE: Care Level Management

March 06, 2007 08:24 ET

Care Level Management Expands Doctor House Call Service in California to 300 Chronically Ill Blue Cross Beneficiaries

Pilot Program With Blue Cross of California Provides 24/7 Patient Access to Doctor House Calls to Improve Quality of Care and Reduce Costs for High-Risk Beneficiaries

WOODLAND HILLS, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 6, 2007 -- Care Level Management, the company pioneering the return of the doctor house call, announces a new pilot program with Blue Cross of California (Blue Cross), the California operating subsidiary of WellPoint Health Networks, Inc. Beginning Dec. 1, 2006, 300 chronically ill Blue Cross beneficiaries will be enrolled in Care Level's doctor house call system of care, the Personal Visiting Physician™.

The Personal Visiting Physician doctor house call system of care provides patients with direct, 24-hour access to a physician who can provide in-home care anytime, day or night, as needed. This level of patient-centric, physician-directed care is designed to improve the quality of care for the top two percent of high-risk beneficiaries. By optimizing care in the home, the Personal Visiting Physician is able to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits, thereby reducing costs to the patient, the taxpayer and the health care system.

"We are extremely pleased to partner with WellPoint to expand our innovative delivery system of doctor house call care within California," said Oliver Goldsmith, M.D., president of Care Level Management. "The Personal Visiting Physician service fills a critical gap in the continuum of care for these patients who are unable to adequately access their current care options and would otherwise seek treatment in the emergency room."

The new contract with Blue Cross complements the company's aggressive growth strategy in California. Coupled with the recent expansion of its Medicare project, Care Level is projected to service up to 12,000 chronically ill beneficiaries in California and continues to actively recruit qualified physicians from the family, internal medicine and gerontology practice specialties.

Key Facts:

--  Medicare estimates that chronically ill elderly make up approximately
    1.5 million Americans.
--  The top 2 percent uses 24 percent of total Medicare costs, primarily
    through hospitalization.
--  Care Level Management is the first company contracted with Medicare
    for a demonstration project to study the impact of providing 24-hour access
    to doctor house calls to chronically ill elderly.
--  With managed care operations in five states across the nation, the
    Personal Visiting Physician delivery system has historically reduced acute
    hospital admission by an average of 60 percent, resulting in an average net
    savings of 30 percent in institutional costs alone.
    

How the Personal Visiting Physician Delivery System Works:

--  Patients are assigned to and given their Personal Visiting Physician's
    cell phone number providing them direct, 24/7 access to a physician with
    intimate knowledge of their condition.
--  In addition to routine home visits, the Personal Visiting Physician is
    available to come to the patient's home at any hour of the day, any day of
    the week.
--  This doctor house call system overcomes many of the obstacles these
    patients have to seeing a doctor, such as transportation and impacted
    physician office schedules.
--  Conducting the physical exam in the comfort of the home reduces
    patient anxiety and creates the foundation for a more productive and
    personal doctor-patient relationship.
--  Each Personal Visiting Physician is supported by a dedicated
    Registered, Licensed Vocational or Licensed Practical Nurse.  Nurses work
    hand-in-hand with PVPs, patients and their families to help coordinate the
    patients' care.  The work of Nurse Care Managers allows the PVPs to focus
    their attention on managing the patient treatment and care in the home.
--  Optimizing the patient's health status in the home helps avoid
    unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations and reduces the patient's direct
    health care costs including co-pays, co-insurance and other fee-for-service
    expenses related to hospitalization.
    

About Care Level Management:

Care Level Management developed a better way of delivering health care by returning to an old fashioned idea: the doctor house call. The Personal Visiting Physician system of care provides 24/7 access to in-home physician care. Combining the highest-level of care (doctors) and the widest possible access (house calls available 24/7), Care Level reduces unnecessary and costly hospitalizations and ER visits. Patients enjoy an improved quality of care with direct cell phone access to their Personal Visiting Physician, who can come to their home to provide comfort and care when needed -- all at no additional cost to the patient.

By benefiting both the patient and the tax payor, Care Level delivers a win-win for everyone involved in the health care process. With improved care and reduced costs, public and private payers have the opportunity to provide better services at lower costs to employers, patients and other beneficiaries. With operations throughout California, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas Care Level Management's innovative health care model offers a solution to America's public health crisis that puts the patient first. For more information, please visit www.carelevel.com.

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