Insurer launches house visits for some Medicaid patients in New Mexico

Paramedics are making house calls through a Blue Cross Blue Shield New Mexico pilot program.

Albuquerque Ambulance and American Medical Response have been contracted to visit Medicaid patients referred to the program, an effort to reduce 911 calls as well as potentially unnecessary medical costs and hospitalizations, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The insurer and hospital personnel determine members who the program might help, Blue Cross Blue Shield medical director of state government programs Dr. Duane Ross said.

Emergency room visits have increased in the state since the expansion of Medicaid. The company will evaluate the program's efficacy over the next three to six months, Ross said.

"We'll know within a few months if we are meeting or falling short," he said. Ross did not say the pilot program's costs or potential savings.

"It's partnerships like this that will improve health care in the community well into the future," Ross said.

Community paramedicine workers visited 50 patients in the last month. One patient had congestive heart failure and another involved a baby who had just been discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit.

The program launched in January.

Workers can provide a variety of medical services, including checking vital signs, reviewing medications and checking on home safety.



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