Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is working with the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), a nationally acclaimed leader in healthy housing, to prevent eligible Blue Cross NC members from unintentional falls in their own homes – the leading cause for hospital and emergency room visits in North Carolina adults over 45 (1). This innovative and evidence-based fall prevention program will identify members who are at risk for an in-home fall by looking at several risk factors including previous falls and fractures, health status or medical history (including low-bone density, cancer, arthritis, vision or balance impairments).
Blue Cross NC will reach out by email or postcard to eligible members who can then express interest in the program. Members will also be screened for falls risk and referred to the program through the Blue Cross NC care management team and participating health care providers. This comprehensive program will take action to lower the risk of falls by evaluating the home environment, providing falls prevention education, and delivering home repairs. Members will receive follow up calls to answer questions, review falls prevention education and assess satisfaction.
Blue Cross NC members who qualify for the program are over the age of 45 in Durham, Orange, Wake, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Union, Brunswick and New Hanover counties.
Examples of home modifications available through the program that might reduce falls include repair or lowering of a threshold, adding tip-resistant furniture anchors, repairing staircase railings, adding grab bars, tub safety bars and toilet seat frames. While many home modifications will be offered at no cost as part of the program, some recommendations made may not be covered.
Research estimates that over half of fall-related injuries occur inside the home, including falls on stairs and in rooms throughout the house, and another 23% occur outside but near the home (2). These incidents can add up quickly – injuries sustained from non-fatal falls among older adults generate roughly $50 billion in medical costs across the national health care system. This program is designed to address preventable falls, demonstrate medical cost savings to drive affordability for our members and provide families the wholistic care they need to stay healthy and active as they age.
“Everyone should have access to a healthy home – an important driver of health – where they feel safe,” said John Lumpkin, vice president, drivers of health strategy at Blue Cross NC. “By trying new ways to improve health and partnering with organizations like Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, this gives more North Carolinians the opportunity to be healthy.”
The pilot program will connect eligible Blue Cross NC members with a network of local service providers managed by GHHI, who will coordinate service delivery for up to 900 North Carolinians across nine counties. The insights from this model collaboration will inform more wide-scale prevention programs and benefits in the future. Blue Cross NC also supports the Healthy Homes Initiative and several Habitat for Humanity critical repairs programs, all broadly aimed at keeping people safe and healthy in their own homes.
“The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative is proud to partner with Blue Cross NC and our local service provider partners to create a national model that connects the need for healthy and safe housing to health care outcomes - focused on the wellness and wellbeing of its members,” said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative. “Preventing falls has one of the greatest impacts to ensuring long-term health of adults - and together, we will improve the quality of life for nine hundred North Carolinians.”
Program enrollment will end June 2023 or once the program goal of 900 member enrollments is reached.
Service providers for this program include:
- PEACH Durham
- Passage Home, Inc.
- Orange County Departments of Aging
- Piedmont Triangle Regional Council
- Integrity Home Mobility
- Eastern Carolina Human Services Agency, Inc.
For more information, contact GHHI at 252-685-6202 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina since 1933, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. Blue Cross NC serves its customers and communities of 4.3 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at www.bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.