RamaOnHealthcare November 5, 2020

RamaOnHealthcare and Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA, FACP, who serves as President and Chief Executive Officer, SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan, explore the future of Medicare Advantage

RamaOnHealthcare: Welcome, Dr. Jain, to our thought leadership series. Let me start with a direct question. You recently joined SCAN Health Plan as its president and CEO. Why SCAN?

Sachin Jain: SCAN is an organization that has demonstrated, over its 40-plus year history, that it knows how to serve and support older peoples’ needs. SCAN was founded by an inspiring and diverse group of 12 seniors who believed that society could do more to keep older people healthy, independent and safely at home. Their original vision continues to inform and inspire the work SCAN does. And that work is what attracted me to the organization.

RamaOnHealthcare: You’ve worked at several healthcare organizations. What have you learned from those experiences?

Sachin Jain: As a physician and a healthcare leader, I’ve witnessed a trend toward viewing patients as “consumers.” We have to get away from that—and the sooner the better. SCAN gets this distinction. The people who work inside the organization are committed to treating our members as patients and human beings with individual needs. That often means we have to focus on things like social determinants of health as well as making access to care as easy as possible—through the use of technology but also by encouraging other platforms such as home-based care.

RamaOnHealthcare: How does SCAN go about treating older people as individuals?

Sachin Jain: I think the answer is that we truly value the human touch. As a physician, I know that one of the most important things you can do is listen to your patients and demonstrate to them through your responses that you hear their needs and concerns. That’s the same approach we take at SCAN.

RamaOnHealthcare: Can you give us an example?

Sachin Jain: Take customer service. With most health plans, you call, you get an agent, they look up your case file and try to help you as best they can.

At SCAN, we recently completed a top-to-bottom revamp of our customer service programs. Our Member Service Advocates now focus on specific medical groups. So when a member calls, their call automatically gets routed to someone who is focused on their medical group and has a relationship with the team that’s delivering their care. That allows us to offer a level of personalization that, frankly, we haven’t been able to offer before. As a result, we’ve found that we can provide more thorough assistance in less time while taking the anonymity out of customer service.

RamaOnHealthcare: Do you think others will follow?

Sachin Jain: I think they’ll have to. In the Medicare Advantage space, where we offer coverage, customer satisfaction is more important than ever. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now give more prioritization to quality performance in their star ratings than they have in the past. At SCAN, we’ve always emphasized member satisfaction, because that usually translates into better health outcomes. But when we look at Medicare Advantage as a whole, every organization that hopes to operate in this space will have to put the member experience first if they hope to succeed.

RamaOnHealthcare:  What else has changed recently, especially with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Sachin Jain: The pandemic has forced many people to rethink some of the preconceptions we held about healthcare. A great example is telehealth. Prior to the pandemic, people like me would talk about the prominent role telehealth would play in the future—but we speculated that situations would have to change first.

Well, the pandemic changed those situations. I read a report recently that found that in May of this year, nearly 50% of in-person visits had been converted to digital visits. Clinicians saw 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did pre-Covid-19.

RamaOnHealthcare: That’s quite a shift.

And it wasn’t just among younger people. There’s a new study out that found that more people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans used telehealth through April of this year than in all of 2019. My own mother saw her physician remotely—and loved the experience. Telehealth is here to stay.