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Vital Decisions to Support Florida Blue Medicare with Advanced Illness Planning Services

Program engages individuals in advance care planning to ensure care received matches personal preferences

Edison, New Jersey – January 13, 2021 – When individuals are coping day-to-day with challenging health situations, planning for future care and making decisions takes additional encouragement and support.  When that supportive intervention comes, it is consistently empowering.  To improve the experience for its most vulnerable members, Florida Blue has partnered with Vital Decisions for unbiased telehealth outreach and support.

For more than a decade, Vital Decisions’ behavioral health specialists have helped people with advanced illness, and their families, to think through, communicate and document their preferences to ensure their care is always aligned with their wishes – now and in the future as medical circumstances change.

Florida Blue has expanded its services with Vital Decisions’ to offer the Living Well program to its Medicare Advantage population.  Through a series of phone or video-conference sessions, Vital Decisions Specialists help individuals facing serious illness to be prepared and take control of their health care decisions.

Those with a serious illness often feel overwhelmed by fear, anxiety and grief as their illness progresses.  They worry about burdening loved ones, have concerns about differences between their wishes and family wishes, and may not have adequate communication of their care preferences with their doctors and caregivers.  They are uncertain about how to manage changes in health and feel a lack of control.  Living Well Specialists help these individuals and their families to overcome these concerns.

“At Florida Blue, we have set out to ensure that 100% of members have a care plan.  For the most vulnerable, having a plan of care and a decision-making process, especially in today’s world, is critically important to ensure the care one receives matches his or her wishes, should a time occur when decisions need to be made on their behalf.  However, having those conversations and exploring what matters most is not easy,” said Dr. Elizabeth Malko, VP, CMO Medicare Solutions.  “Through our partnership with Vital Decisions, we are helping those with advanced illness and their families to have those conversations and communicate with their doctors so that there is less stress and anxiety and greater peace of mind at an incredibly challenging time.”

The goals of the Living Well program are to (1) engage individuals in advance care planning discussions, (2) help individuals to formulate and communicate their quality of life priorities, goals of care, and preferences that impact medical decision making with family members and doctors, and (3) ensure that health care choices reflect not only current priorities, but also shifts in priorities and goals that may occur as an individual’s illness progresses.

“These important conversations often happen too late, or not at all.  It is extremely important that we provide individuals and their caregivers with the space and the support they need to have these delicate yet difficult conversations around what type of care they want and what type of care they do not want.  We know that when these conversations take place immense gratitude and relief replace worry and anxiety. Florida Blue is a clear example of a health plan that is making patient-centric care a priority,” said Leah Puccio, Vital Decisions’ CEO.  “Our Living Well program fits nicely into Florida Blue’s innovative and robust care-support ecosystem.”

As part of this program, Vital Decisions also educates Florida Blue Medicare members on the hospice, palliative care and case management services available to them and assists them in accessing these services.  Additionally, individuals have access to Vital Decisions’ secure, online advance care planning platform, My Living Voice, where they can select a healthcare proxy and complete, store and share an Advance Directive.

 

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