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New Study: Amida Care’s Patient Navigation Significantly Increases Engagement

January 9, 2020

On December 18, The Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services published a paper finding that Amida Care’s unique patient navigation program expedited connection to care services. The paper, titled “An HIV health plan patient navigation program: Engaging HIV positive individuals in primary medical care,” analyzed the results of a study of Amida Care’s unique patient navigation program, finding that members’ assignment to a patient navigator shortened the time to an initial HIV medical care visit by 40% following enrollment.

The paper was co-authored by Amida Care President and CEO Doug Wirth, with Peter Messeri, Maiko Yomogida, and Rachel M. Ferat, of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health; and Lee Garr, former Director of Integrated Care and Outreach Programs at Amida Care.

The study is part of ongoing efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York, which include early detection and adherence to anti-retroviral medication among individuals with HIV. This can be challenging, as patients with HIV tend to be concentrated in economically and socially disadvantaged populations. Patient navigation services support client engagement in medical care by assisting individuals in developing care plans, scheduling appointments, and escorting clients to appointments.

Amida Care’s patient navigation program is part of its ACCESS NY initiative, which promotes increased connection to, and retention in, medical care among recently enrolled health plan members and to reengage members who have dropped out of care. ACCESS NY is the first Medicaid health program to offer its HIV-positive members patient navigation services. Most other such programs are situated in medical care organizations or community-based organizations.

According to the study, the patient navigator-client relationship based in a Medicaid health plan is less likely to be disrupted if a member chooses to discontinue care or change providers, unlike patient navigation programs based in medical care or community-based organizations. An added advantage of Amida Care’s plan is that patient navigators could assist their clients in connecting to their choice of providers from among a network of over 200 HIV medical care providers.

The study concludes that patient navigation based in a Medicaid health plan can improve access to HIV medical care among disadvantaged populations.

Read the study here.