Crouse Health located in Syracuse includes multi-specialty practice Crouse Medical Practice with more than 12 locations and partners with multi-specialty practice FamilyCare Medical Group with 29 locations. Combined, they have a total of 28 PCP locations to serve an expansive patient base in Central New York. As the COVID-19 pandemic made its impact on New York, both medical communities prepared for what was likely to be a long-term public health emergency. After CMS made telehealth a viable option, the providers successfully transitioned to offering virtual care to their patients – an impressive task given the multiple locations and specialties within these two medical groups.
In what appeared on the surface to be a seamless effort, they overcame technological barriers with their EMR, staff and patients. With only uncertainty as a sure thing, the collective group of staff and providers committed to offering every possible option to their patients and made efforts to ensure those patients who wanted to use telehealth had the tools and resources to do so.
As participants in the Caravan Collaborative Pathways ACO, Crouse Medical Practice and FamilyCare Medical Group gained distinction for some of the highest rates of telehealth usage across all of Caravan. While providers battled various levels of the pandemic in their communities, they recognized the potential in virtual care in an otherwise shutdown world and quickly and effectively embraced the opportunity.
Despite being embroiled in the pandemic, this group of providers continued to perform their Annual Wellness Visits (AWV), using telehealth. The virtual care implementation was so successful that their rates of AWVs were higher than their original, pre-pandemic goal. Their rates of Advance Care Planning, which is an initiative they prioritize as part of their wellness exams, also exceeded their pre-pandemic goal, increasing more than 10% from the beginning of 2020 through the third quarter. The group’s Chronic Care Management program also flourished as a result of their emphasis on virtual care. To date, data has demonstrated an improvement in enrollment rates of more than 2% during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted health care delivery as we once knew it. Yet for Crouse Health and FamilyCare Medical Group -when offered the opportunity to transition to virtual care – they embraced new technology and effectively maintained continuity of care.
“We understand that the Annual Wellness Visit is the foundation for improving our quality of care. When we were first hit by the pandemic and telehealth became a more viable option, we didn’t look back. We adapted to virtual care and expanded our chronic care management program, because we knew it was best for our patients and best for our continuity of care.”
Seth Kronenberg, MD
Chief Operating Officer/Chief Medical Officer