Spotlight on Caring: Mary C.

In ordinary times, it can be hard for members to get vital services. In extraordinary times such as the pandemic, social unrest and weather disasters, it can be impossible. HouseCalls is designed to support members with not only their physical and mental health, but also address social needs that intensify in uncertain times. This is one of many examples of how our flexibility helps members even in challenging circumstances.

Mary’s story

Visits using video technology have been a helpful way to reach members who are not able to have a traditional in-home visit. For HouseCalls advanced practice clinician Mary, one virtual visit, in particular, revealed needs that went beyond conducting a clinical assessment. The member, a 59-year-old woman, responded “yes” when Mary asked her standard social determinants of health questions. Specifically, “yes” she was having difficulty obtaining food, and “yes” she was not able to get the transportation she needed to be self-sufficient. In fact, the member’s local grocery store had been damaged in civil unrest, and it was not safe for Mary to use public transportation in the pandemic to travel further away for food.

The member thought that Mary was simply asking routine questions. That thought turned to surprise and gratitude when she learned that Mary could actually help her secure food safely.

In a traditional in-home HouseCalls visit, Mary would be able to have the member talk directly with a health plan resource. But in this case, Mary completed the member’s health assessment and ended the virtual visit. Mary then called the member’s health plan resource to request that the member be contacted right away. Going the extra step that makes all the difference, Mary then called the member back to tell her someone would soon reach her with help.

The member told Mary how glad she was that she had scheduled the HouseCalls visit — even if it needed to be virtual. She was thankful for how kind and informative Mary was during their conversation and for the resources she was provided.

From a member’s couch or smartphone, the Optum® HouseCalls program has enough flexibility to meet the member’s need. It can provide a lifeline to vital services that help members be as healthy as they can.

As Optum HouseCalls employees, this is the kind of positive and caring experience clinicians like Mary deliver every day — in the home and virtually.

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Learn more about the author:

Catherine Caspary DNP, ANP-BC

Vice President, HouseCalls Clinical Field Operations, Optum

Dr. Catherine Caspary is a nurse practitioner currently serving as vice president for the clinical field operations for Optum HouseCalls, NE Region. Her responsibilities include the oversight and management of the clinical workforce. Catherine earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in adult health from the University Wisconsin–Oshkosh and is a board-certified nurse practitioner. She completed Saint Louis University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in 2016.

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