VNSNY CHOICE Health Plan Expands to 23 Counties

(New York – Oct. 2012) VNSNY CHOICE, an affiliate of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of home- and community-based health care services, has received approval from the State of New York to expand its Medicaid Managed Long Term Care plan to 23 New York counties.  This is good news for seniors and individuals with multiple chronic illnesses or disabilities who are no longer able to live on their own and want to remain at home instead of moving to a nursing home.

Initially, VNSNY CHOICE has leased a 3,000-square-foot office in Fishkill to serve Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, and was operational Oct. 1.

Approval has also been granted to begin serving and enrolling members in Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties.

For more than a decade, VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans have supported Medicaid and/or Medicare eligible New Yorkers with customized health coverage that addresses the individual needs of each member.  The same innovative nurse-led, team approach to care will now be available in Central New York and the Hudson Valley, where residents often live miles away from their primary care physicians, clinics and hospitals.

“VNSNY CHOICE is a safety net for a growing population that is at risk for falling through the cracks in our healthcare system,” says Christopher Palmieri, president of VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans. “Our mission has always been to help people take responsibility for their own health, while providing the care and assistance they need to live with dignity in the homes and communities that sustain them.  We’re very pleased to be able to expand our CHOICE service into New York State.”

Long-time resident of Poughkeepsie, June Raffington, RN, will serve as Regional Director overseeing operations in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties.

“As a public health nurse in communities throughout the Hudson Valley, I’ve seen firsthand how easily the chronically ill and disabled can fall into avoidable decline without access to quality care,” said Raffington.  “VNSNY CHOICE is a proven model that dedicates an entire healthcare team—supervised by a highly skilled and compassionate nurse—to maintaining the health and wellbeing of each member.  We expect the benefits of good preventive care to ripple through each and every community we serve.”

VNSNY CHOICE Managed Long Term Care Plans were designed specifically to manage the complex health needs of individuals without a regular primary care physician who do not receive regular medical exams, as well as patients who frequently land in the emergency room when their conditions become life-threatening or serious and those who manage multiple medications prescribed from a number of physicians.

Based on VNSNY’s community-based visiting nurse model that has been keeping New Yorkers safe at home for over a century, all VNSNY CHOICE members have a dedicated Nurse Care Manager who serves as a personal liaison to the member’s physician and other health specialists—encouraging preventive health and lifestyle choices that foster well-being and independence. Upon enrollment in the plan, each VNSNY CHOICE member receives a comprehensive health assessment by a registered home care nurse who works with the individual’s physician to determine the nature and frequency of services the person truly needs.

Each member is then assigned a personal Nurse Care Manager who coordinates all aspects of patient care and is in constant communication with the member’s primary care physician and other health specialists.  A team of health professionals – from social workers and nutritionists to physical therapists – is at each member’s disposal according to doctor’s orders.  The team develops a comprehensive plan of care that proactively keeps people active, healthy and engaged in their communities.

As the “eyes and ears of the primary care physician,” the VNSNY CHOICE healthcare team visits members in their own home setting where easy-to-disguise conditions such as depression and poor nutrition sometimes reveal themselves more clearly.  By getting to know the patient in the home environment, the team also becomes aware of situations that a patient might not mention in a regular office or ER visit, such as lack of air conditioning or heat, rodent problems, or unsanitary plumbing, which could have a serious impact on health.

The VNSNY CHOICE MLTC plan offers a personalized approach to care—patients develop relationships with their Nurse Care Manager and other members of the healthcare team instead of feeling like just a number.

VNSNY CHOICE allows individuals to enroll with practically no wait time, ensuring a seamless transition and access to the care and services they need. This pioneering model for personalized in-home managed care brings a smarter, more efficient healthcare option to upstate residents and moves New York a step closer to viable health care reform.

About VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans

VNSNY CHOICE is an affiliate of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and shares its mission to care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers: the elderly, poor and frail, many suffering with multiple chronic conditions. Our Medicaid Managed Long Term Care plan (MLTC) is the largest program of its kind in New York State, serving more than 12,000 members. The plan aims to maximize the functionality and independence of its members who, on average, have four chronic illnesses and multiple functional deficits. We have more than a decade of experience operating an MLTC plan and we have developed processes, systems and tools that are uniquely designed to benefit the vulnerable population we serve.  Visit or call 1-855-AT-CHOICE (1-855-282-4642) for more information.

 About The Visiting Nurse Service of New York

As the largest not-for-profit home- and community-based health care agency in the nation, VNSNY serves more than 30,000 New Yorkers daily. VNSNY has the capabilities and resources to deliver a full range of home health care services throughout the five boroughs of New York City as well as in Nassau and Westchester Counties.  Services include short and long-term home care, including skilled nursing, rehabilitation therapy, HHA and companionship services, behavioral health, nutritional guidance and infusion care; services for children and families; end of life services; community mental health services; paraprofessional services, and private care services.



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