Since September 2020, Lindsay Racey has led CareMore Health’s Central East region, which includes Iowa, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois; she’s based in Des Moines. Before joining CareMore, she worked for 14 years in nonprofit health care for Planned Parenthood.
CareMore entered the Iowa market in 2015 with the opening of a primary care clinic at 1530 E. Euclid Ave. that also serves as a community health resource for Medicaid patients. In January, CareMore launched a mobile clinic service based at its Des Moines clinic that provides outreach to members, including monthly visits to Newton. CareMore, which is based in Cerritos, Calif., partners with Amerigroup, which is one of Iowa’s contracted Medicaid managed care organizations. Both Amerigroup and CareMore are owned by Anthem, the largest for-profit managed health care company in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Tell me about CareMore and its presence in Iowa.
CareMore is really well-established in the Medicare space, but in 2015 they decided to take their expertise in Medicare and apply it to the Medicaid patient population. They opened two care centers at that time, the one here in Des Moines as well as one in Memphis, Tenn., that focused on the Medicaid patient population [people ages 14 and older]. … CareMore’s model was really born out of the fragmented system that so many members experienced navigating the health care system. We provide sort of a one-stop shop where you can see your primary care clinician, and you can get that extra support. And we also have a behavioral health specialist. So you get all your services, for the most part, in one place.
What does your role encompass?
I basically oversee the business operations of things. That includes managing community partners and relationships in the community, that business development sort of work, kind of the face of care locally in the community. And I partner really closely with our physician in terms of driving the clinical outcomes. I’m obviously not a clinician, but I help create strategies that help drive those outcomes.
What is it about CareMore’s care model that appealed to you?
CareMore is what I call a radical, commonsense approach to health care — it’s very different from other models you see. We are a primary care clinic, so [patients] can come to us for their annual preventive visits; they can also come for a sick visit or management of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. We put patients at the center of an interdisciplinary team made up of not only clinicians but also case managers on staff. There is also a unique role we have called the community health worker to help address some of the social determinants of health that impact people. There is so much that goes into someone even getting to us for care, like transportation barriers, food insecurity. Those teams really help coordinate folks to the resources that they need to address those.
How does CareMore work with the Medicaid managed care organization model?
The member enrolls in Medicaid through the state and at that time, they choose one of the managed Medicaid plans. We partner with the Amerigroup Medicaid plan. As part of their plan, they are designated a primary care provider. Amerigroup can assign a patient to us, or a patient can select CareMore as their primary care provider. … One of the things we pride ourselves on is the annual wellness visit … they’re getting contacted back by our teams with results and action plans and we really work to create a plan with a patient that works for them. And even small steps and changes in behavior or activities can really make a difference in the lives of the members.
How would you say CareMore differentiates itself from other primary care providers that work with Medicaid patients?
One thing I always hang our hat on is that we are really highly personalized. That’s an experience you can certainly get at other locations, but it’s something that we consistently deliver on, and it’s a high-touch model. Typically, we’re going to see our members more frequently to help manage some of those chronic diseases than potentially at other places. …
One of the unique things about serving a Medicaid patient population is they have a pretty big distrust sometimes of the health care system. And so having a kind of convenient clinic location isn’t enough, so we also deliver care. As I said, those community health workers will actually help us go locate some of our patients. So whether that’s there in a shelter or we find them at a food bank, or things like that, and help them engage with care. So we provide that care mobily, and we also do virtual and telehealth care.
What plans are there for growth in Iowa?
We recently launched the mobile RV in January. Right now we’re going to Newton about once a month. If that membership were to grow and there was more interest in a service like that we would definitely like to see that program grow. We could also explore using it more frequently in other communities as well.
What kinds of services do you provide on a mobile basis?
We can do a lot of the same things that we can do in the care centers, not absolutely everything, but a lot. There is an exam room set up in it, so if a patient needs a physical exam, or their wellness visit, we can do that. We can do some of the basic lab work. And it fits nicely with our virtual health offerings, too, because we can do some follow ups virtually and then see you at the mobile clinic when it’s out in the community as well.
Tell us a little about yourself.
The University of Iowa is near and dear to my heart. I grew up in West Branch, which is about 10 miles east of Iowa City, and then I did my undergraduate at the University of Iowa. I love Hawkeye football — going to the games, tailgating, all of the things that are associated with Hawkeye football. I’ve lived in Des Moines about 14 years at this point. So at some point, I guess I say I’m from Des Moines. I enjoy camping and doing outdoor activities with my family. I have twins who are 4 years old, so they keep me busy, for sure.
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