* Note all names have been changed.
Between well visits and doctor visits to address physical and behavioral symptoms, managing one’s health can feel overwhelming. To improve the experience of coordinating healthcare, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Arkansas Blue Cross) offers care management services to its members and their families. Care management, also known as case management, is a powerful resource that allows members, their families, doctors and nurses, and Arkansas Blue Cross to collaborate and ensure members’ needs are met.
It’s common for Arkansas Blue Cross members to have multiple healthcare needs at once, from behavioral healthcare appointments to consults with specialists and everything in between. One member knows firsthand how care management can help navigate the system.
Thomas’ journey began when scheduling a surgical procedure led him to Arkansas Blue Cross’ care management program. Once the surgery was complete, his Case Manager Angela led coordination of the member’s recovery and physical therapy. However, the patient’s care needs became more complex as new symptoms appeared. With Angela’s experience and focus on patient communication, the member received the critical support needed to return to better health.
Social Worker Support and New Directions
Arkansas Blue Cross believes in taking care of a person’s whole health, which means addressing all the factors that influence well-being. Acknowledging the impact physical health can have on mental health, Angela discussed the benefits of behavioral healthcare with the patient. Behavioral health is the connection between an individual’s behaviors and the health of his or her mind and body. Encouraging two-way communication between Angela and Thomas allowed her to learn that he was finding it difficult to access healthy food and facing financial concerns around the time of the surgery. Angela connected the member with a social worker to address his needs and keep him focused on getting better. She also connected him with New Directions to help with mental concerns.
Angela also worked with Thomas to identify a pain clinic that could help him tackle chronic pain. This was a new element of care for him, which can be tough to take on while battling mental health symptoms and recovering from surgery. That is where Angela’s role was most important – she reached out to the clinic and coordinated the patient’s care, making sure Thomas stayed on track with treatment.
Thanks to Angela and Arkansas Blue Cross’ care management services, Thomas now has plans in place that are tailormade to his needs. He has scheduled follow-up visits with specialists and regular appointments with a primary care doctor. Finally, connecting him with social work and behavioral health resources enabled Thomas to engage with multiple community organizations to address financial concerns, and he has already reported improved mental well-being.
At Arkansas Blue Cross, we know that all aspects of health are important to overall well-being. Angela and her team provide guidance and support to all members at a critical and vulnerable time as they navigate through both physical and behavioral health challenges.