SCAN Program Improves Access to Mental Healthcare for Seniors and Caregivers

SCAN authors from left to right: Gretchen A. Brown, Denise Likar, Dr. Romilla Batra, and Pedro Carbajal-Madrid.

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– SCAN Health Plan®, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage health plans, today announced the recent publication of the results from their Insights program—an innovative approach to delivering behavioral health services to seniors and their caregivers—in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Offered by Independence at Home, a SCAN community service, Insights provides evaluation and management services for certain behavioral health conditions in home by licensed clinical social workers and marriage and family therapists, at no cost, and in the patient’s primary language; therefore, reducing the barriers to mental healthcare common in this population.

“Since launching the pilot Insights program in 2016, we have successfully served a demographically diverse population that experiences a broad range of barriers to mental healthcare,” stated Romilla Batra, MD, chief medical officer at SCAN Health Plan. “By offering no-cost, culturally and linguistically sensitive counseling directly in the patients’ own homes, we have seen a significant improvement in depression, anxiety and overall quality of life—not only among the seniors, but their caregivers, as well.”

According to the National Council on Aging, one in four older adults experience some mental disorder, including depression, anxiety, distress and grief. As barriers to adequate mental healthcare remain for many older adults, their ability to maintain health and independence suffer. Perhaps more than other age group, older adults buy into the stigma surrounding mental health and are reluctant to seek help. Access to treatment is further complicated by lack of understanding of treatment options, inadequate insurance coverage, lack of mobility and transportation, and a language or cultural mismatch with qualified providers. As the number of older adults is expected to double by 2020, the need for mental health services will become more critical.

“As the aging population continues to grow, we must identify and eliminate the obstacles that keep seniors and caregivers from receiving the necessary support,” continued Batra. “Here at SCAN, our goal is to meet the needs of seniors where they are. We remain committed to reducing these barriers and, through programs like Insights, improving patient outcomes and helping seniors maintain their health and independence.”

About SCAN   
SCAN Health Plan is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans, serving more than 200,000 members in California. Since its founding in 1977, SCAN has been a mission-driven organization dedicated to keeping seniors healthy and independent. Independence at Home, a SCAN community service, provides vitally needed services and support to seniors and their caregivers. SCAN also offers education programs, community funding, volunteer opportunities and other community services throughout our California service area. To learn more, visit scanhealthplan.com or facebook.com/scanhealthplan or follow us on twitter @scanhealthplan.

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