Seniors’ Clinic Marks its First Anniversary

A year ago, I wrote my first article in the Alameda Sun. It outlined Calyx Health’s mission to build the healthcare system that seniors deserve and urgently need. At the time, I was confident that if myself and my staff controlled what happened within each clinic’s four walls, we could achieve that mission. 

Instead, I’ve learned that a multitude of other factors — the electronic medical records (EMRs) clinics use, the billing practices of our partners, or the misperceptions propagated about seniors’ health insurance options, to name a few — conspire to enrich individuals at the expense of patients and health system value. 

Making a meaningful, sustainable difference in healthcare — both improving seniors’ outcomes and bending the cost curve — means many things: helping people make educated decisions about their insurance, working with payers to deliver better health plans, building entirely new technology to monitor patient health during and in-between visits and addressing other social determinants of health, like housing, transportation and food insecurity. 

The path ahead is certainly not easy, but here’s why we know it’s worth doing: 

Spending more time with patients allows for better advocacy. Patients have a spectrum of belief systems regarding life, happiness and medicine. The added time Calyx spends with every patient in value-based care allows us to respect and accommodate these belief systems, whether finding alternative screening methods (that subsequently uncovered advanced disease in at least one patient), understanding family dynamics that inevitably complicate with disability or interceding to avoid high-risk procedures that don’t align with patients’ wishes.

Well-designed technology supports both patients and clinicians. For all its merits, the shift to EMRs has also detracted from the patient experience and placed a tremendous administrative burden on clinicians. Current systems are simply not built for value-based care, where management between visits matters just as much as during. As a result, Calyx is rebuilding the entire primary care technology stack from scratch, so physicians can spend more time engaged with patients and patient care continues beyond the office. 

Trusted advisors are needed to help seniors navigate health insurance. Upon analyzing patients’ insurance last year, Calyx saw four out of five Alameda seniors could benefit from a different health plan. So, we launched Calyx Advantage and during the 2018 Annual Enrollment Period, we helped Alameda seniors save more than $57,000 annually. We have subsequently expanded Calyx Advantage to support seniors throughout the year as well as the clinics that care for them.

Reflecting on Calyx’s first year, I’d like to say thanks to Alameda for welcoming us with open arms. There are countless memorable stories that happen every day in our office; the experiences and stories inspire us to build faster, aim higher and never lose sight of the Calyx mission: to build the healthcare system seniors deserve and the country urgently needs.

 

Dr. Abhas Gupta is the CEO and co-founder of Calyx Health, a doctor’s office exclusively for Medicare seniors. The clinic is located above Trader Joe’s in the Alameda South Shore. To schedule an appointment, call 402-1471 or visit www.calyxhealth.com.