On February 8, the UCLA Center for Health Policy and Research released the final evaluation results for Whole Person Care (WPC), a pilot program led by public health care systems and their county partners, and the foundation for the state’s new CalAIM initiative.
The findings highlight the value of a patient-centered approach to improve care and reduce costs for individuals with complex health and social needs. From 2016 to 2021, twenty-five sites across California served close to 250,000 enrollees, of which 70% had serious mental illness, substance use disorder and/or were experiencing homelessness. WPC enrollees received comprehensive tailored services supported by deep local partnerships and new infrastructure to coordinate care across providers.
The evaluation found that in comparison to a similar group of individuals not in the program, WPC enrollees had lower acute care utilization, with 45 fewer hospitalizations and 130 fewer emergency department visits, leading to an annual savings of $383 in Medi-Cal payments per person. For medically complex and high-risk patients, the savings increased to $581 per year. Additionally, WPC enrollees had greater access to substance use disorder and specialty services as compared to the control group.
Pilots also succeeded in meaningfully engaging diverse partners, which significantly contributed to improved care for enrollees, and in developing new data tools to track care coordination across multiple providers.
WPC efforts now continue under CalAIM, the State’s ambitious initiative to transform Medi-Cal. Public health care systems continue to play an essential role in delivering whole person care, as core providers of CalAIM’s Enhanced Care Management (ECM) and Community Supports. SNI supports this work by identifying and elevating issues to the State that need policy clarification and by providing input as CalAIM policies are developed to ensure they reflect the realities of work on the front lines.
Learn More about Public Health Care Systems’ Role in WPC:
- Community Health Workers and Peers are Essential to Counties’ COVID-19 Response
- Whole Person Care Lays the Groundwork for Quick COVID-19 Response
- Whole Person Care Leads to Improved Care Coordination, Better Care, and Better Health