Kidney care company Interwell Health, which in January announced an expansion of its work in the CMS alternative payment model called Kidney Care Choices, has developed a partnership with Portland, Ore.-based Providence Health Plan.
Interwell was formed by the merger of Fresenius Health Partners, the value-based care division of Fresenius Medical Care North America, with Cricket Health and Interwell Health, a network of more than 1,600 nephrologists.
To improve kidney care, Interwell Health says it supports physician practices by providing personalized patient education, predictive models, customized electronic health record technology, and support from dietitians and social workers. Care coordination services help better manage often complex and chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, and behavioral health.
The Kidney Care Choices model rewards physicians when they successfully slow disease progression, help patients seek a pre-emptive transplant, choose home dialysis, or at least have a planned start to dialysis and avoid urgent hospitalizations.
"This program is helping drive earlier interventions as patients with kidney disease are too often rushed to the hospital with an urgent need for dialysis," said George Hart, M.D., chief medical officer for Interwell Health, in a statement. "We provide physicians with all the resources needed to better support their patients and achieve the goals of this important government initiative."
Providence Health Plan will partner with Interwell on a value-based care initiative that will provide earlier identification, education, and support to members with late-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD).
The initiative will include members across the full continuum of insurance options offered by Providence Health Plan, providing new resources for both commercial and Medicare Advantage members.
In coordination with Interwell Health-aligned nephrologists, the partnership will activate a team of highly specialized resources to help members with CKD manage this complex condition, including social workers, dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, and peer mentors.
“Providence Health Plan has long been out front driving the shift to new models of care that include a more integrated approach with providers in Oregon,” said Robert Gluckman, M.D., chief medical officer for Providence Health Plan, in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Interwell Health and leverage their comprehensive model to slow progression of chronic kidney disease, provide more access to transplant and home dialysis, and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.”
“We know that earlier education and support in tight alignment with physician practices can have a big impact on patient outcomes,” added Interwell’s Hart. “We look forward to working closely with Providence Health Plan to help identify patients earlier in their disease progression and provide the support those patients need to live their best lives.”
The partnership aims to better coordinate care of members through Interwell Health’s network of local nephrologists committed to driving results in new value-based care agreements. Specialized renal care coordinators embedded in local physician practices help members navigate their care journey, including the many other conditions that often accompany a kidney disease diagnosis.
Interwell Health also works to ensure members have a preemptive kidney transplant or planned transition to dialysis when needed, especially home therapies. The earlier identification of kidney disease and subsequent interventions implemented under this partnership seek to reduce the number of people needing urgent dialysis in the hospital. Interwell Health has successfully reduced hospital admissions by 34 percent for members in its other value-based care plans, the company said.