Via PRNewswire

WINOOSKI, Vt., Oct. 1, 2020 -- As U.S. employers and healthcare providers continue to struggle with the disruption and fallout from COVID-19, a majority of patients with chronic conditions have faced significantly reduced access to care. Marathon Health, a leader in creating best-in-class onsite, near site and virtual healthcare options for U.S. employers, has developed a way to reverse this trend with its proactive primary care model. Marathon Health (which now includes OurHealth) has pioneered a healthcare program that leverages data-driven insights with proactive patient outreach and health monitoring, expanded access to care, and integrated occupation and behavioral health services to drive down costs while improving outcomes, even during a pandemic.

From March through August, 2020, Marathon Health reached out to more than 260,000 patients, helping address chronic conditions and their overall physical and mental wellbeing.  Using in-house and licensed technology solutions, including the Johns Hopkins ACG® System, the Marathon Health team identified and prioritized those at high-risk for COVID-19 complications and offered options for testing, evaluation and treatment. Each employee engaged through Marathon Health's outreach has, on average, saved their employer approximately $2,000 in healthcare-related costs annually, equating to more than $22.5 million in savings from this group of patients.

"While managing patients with chronic health problems is more challenging than ever, it is also more critical than ever. Conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma do not enter remission during a pandemic, and ignoring them can prove disastrous," said Bruce Hochstadt, MD, executive vice president, Marathon Health. "The model used by Marathon Health to proactively support and personalize care for employee populations offers a different path from traditional healthcare that's effective for both patient and employer. Enhancing access to healthcare and reinforcing its importance, even during a pandemic, can reduce the impact and cost of urgent care, emergency room visits and inpatient hospitalizations in the near and long term."

Marathon Health is sharing lessons learned in a new report published today, entitled "Employers Pivot from COVID-19 Pandemic to Create Integrated Care Model of the Future." The report, found here, highlights key imperatives needed to support a proactive healthcare delivery model, including:

  • Proactive health monitoring and outreach – Taking a population health management (PHM) approach that integrates primary care with population health and targeted interventions to high-risk individuals works. By incorporating resources such as confidential health risk assessments (HRA's), claims analytics and annual physical exams, clinicians can identify at-risk patients, engage them, and build trust. Marathon continuously pulls data from these sources, which proved extremely useful during the pandemic, to predict, address and prevent disease, as opposed to a more traditional, reactive model that simply responds to symptoms.
  • Expanded access to care – COVID accelerated the migration from in-person to virtual care, but patients still need choices. Employer-sponsored health center operators like Marathon Health were able to pivot more rapidly to a virtual-first model as workplaces closed and employees shifted to work-from-home. By the end of March, 80 percent of healthcare visits were being performed virtually and patients responded with a 98 percent satisfaction rate. However, Marathon still conducted proactive phone calls and in-person care, as providers need to offer solutions across a range of modalities to improve patient access, convenience, outcomes and cost.
  • Integrated behavioral health – Limited accessibility to behavioral and mental health services was a serious issue prior to COVID-19, and the pandemic amplified the shortage. While Marathon was already deploying integrated behavioral health strategies, it accelerated activity by providing behavioral health services as part of the primary care service model and coordinating closely with third-party EAP programs and outside mental health specialists. Counselors led group sessions and workshops on topics ranging from substance abuse to stress, anxiety and anger management. Through this approach, Marathon Health patients showed a 20 percent reduction in PHQ-9 scores, a measure of depression, representing a statistically significant improvement in their mental health. Employers have realized $851,000 in savings tied to redirected care for behavioral health services alone.

"The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to pivot from thinking about this model as a temporary solution to making it a new standard of care in the U.S. that fosters a culture of improved health and lower costs," added Hochstadt.  "Employers who offer their own health center, with a provider that integrates behavioral health and primary care, are best positioned to reduce risk, improve productivity, and build a high performing organization and workforce prepared for an uncertain future."

Through a recent merger with OurHealth, Marathon Health now operates more than 200 onsite and near-site health centers across more than 40 states, providing primary and preventative care for enterprise, government and non-profit employers and their employees.  Distinguished by its breadth of healthcare solutions, superior patient engagement, and use of integrated clinical, claims and pharmacy data, Marathon Health continues to drive actionable results in patient outcomes and employer savings.

About Marathon Health

Marathon Health, which includes the company formerly known as OurHealth, offers a proven solution to help employers improve the health of their populations and reduce the total cost of healthcare. The Marathon Health and OurHealth approach integrates the best practices of advanced primary care, health assessment with risk identification, coaching and advocacy, behavioral health and therapy, occupational health, physical therapy, and disease management for high cost, chronic conditions. For more information, please visit www.marathon-health.com and www.ourhealth.org.