Study: Population Health Program Reduced COVID Mortality

March 8, 2021
Goal of American Journal of Managed Care research was to study whether managed care plans do better by proactively focusing on keeping patients healthy and not just treating disease

Miami-based Cano Health, which has developed a value-based primary care delivery platform for seniors, announced that a peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Managed Care shows that the company's population health management program helped reduced COVID-19 mortality by 60 percent, compared to a mirror group of Florida patients.

Cano Health operates value-based primary care centers and supports affiliated medical practices that specialize in primary care for seniors in Florida, Texas, Nevada, and Puerto Rico. It says it provides services to Medicare Advantage members, particularly in underserved communities where it can make the greatest impact. It partners with health plans such as Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Anthem, Aetna, and Centene.

As part of its care coordination strategy, the company said, it provides population health management tools including telehealth, prescription home delivery, wellness programs, transition of care, and high-risk and complex care management.  

One goal of the retrospective cohort study of 38,193 patients was to determine whether managed care patients in Cano Health's population health management program had different outcomes than a mirror group of patients in the most populous counties of Florida matched for age and gender.

Cano Health's population health strategy for COVID-19 included:
• Using data to stratify its managed care population – including Medicare patients and Medicaid patients in historically underserved areas – to identify higher risk individuals by age and comorbidities;
• Assigning these higher risk individuals to the care of a COVID-19 Task Force composed of specialized clinicians and health care professionals;
• Home delivery of supportive services such as medicine, vitamins, food, pulse oximeters and home oxygen concentrators;
• Intensive at-home and inpatient monitoring; and
• Daily data sharing and analysis by clinical and administrative leaders.

A takeaway point in the study said that “Incidence and hospitalizations were similar in managed care patients and the general population. A population health program composed of patient surveys (with risk stratification) and referral to a specialized provider group significantly decreased COVID-19–specific mortality by 60 percent.”

"This is the first time a large-scale study has shown that a population health management program can significantly lower COVID-19 mortality," said Marlow Hernandez, D.O., M.B.A., M.P.H., founder and CEO of Cano Health, in a statement. "Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our dedicated clinicians and staff have worked within a model of care where patients come first. As we continue to improve our population health platform, we aim to create a brand of primary care that will continue to produce these types of results."

Last year, Cano announced it was entering  into a merger agreement Jaws Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). When it announced the merger, the company explained that it has “executed on a multi-pronged strategy of organic growth through existing centers, de novo clinics, and MSO affiliate practices, as well as growth through acquisitions to drive a historical revenue compound annual growth rate of over 70 percent since 2017. In addition, Cano Health was selected to participate as a Direct Contracting Entity by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the “American Choice Healthcare, LLC” brand that is scheduled to commence in April 2021.