CHICAGO — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is partnering with Somatus on a new program for certain members with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The program is the newest BCBSIL value-based care arrangement focused on closing gaps in care by improving care coordination, further preventing or delaying the progression of CKD, better supporting the social needs of these complex members, and ultimately working to improve access, quality and health outcomes and lowering the overall cost of care.
The Somatus Kidney Care Program addresses social determinants of health while providing comprehensive in-person and virtual support for members that includes:
- Transition services following hospitalization, to help understand changes in medication or home care plans;
- Diet, lifestyle, and medication management;
- Access to community resources, including medication assistance programs, transportation and financial support; and,
- Treatment option education to help members decide the best treatment method.
Assistance with these areas will be provided by experienced field-based nurse care managers, nurse practitioners, community health workers, pharmacists, renal dietitians and social workers – all working with the member’s doctors. The program is offered at no-cost to members.
“BCBSIL believes providing access to culturally competent programs is imperative to caring for members with chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease, said Salma Khaleq, vice president, Network Management, BCBSIL. “Black Americans are almost 4 times more likely, and Hispanics or Latinos are 1.3 times more likely, to have kidney failure compared to White Americans. We are excited to work with an organization that reflects the much-needed diversity in the kidney care market with hopes of seeing more inclusivity in this space in the future.”
Somatus’ comprehensive kidney care program has successfully been deployed in multiple states across the country, working to improve the quality of life and care for patients with kidney disease.
“We are excited to partner with BCBSIL to address both the physical and psychosocial needs of members living with kidney disease”, said Dr. Ikenna Okezie, CEO and Co-Founder of Somatus. “Our program has proven that when care is personalized and delivered locally in the community, all kidney care stakeholders can collaborate and align around the best interests of the member. We look forward to helping BCBSIL and local providers transform kidney care and improve member health in Illinois.”
The Somatus Kidney Care Program began on November 1, 2020.
Program participation will initially be offered to BCBSIL Medicare Advantage members with plans to further expand later in 2021.