RamaOnHealthcare December 12, 2021
Senior Care Belongs in The Home: SCAN Group Launches Welcome Health, an In-Home Geriatric Medical Group
It is estimated that by 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 and older, marking a significant turning point in the way older adults receive care for their health and other complex needs. SCAN Group recently launched Welcome Health, an independent primary care medical group that will treat older adults through a combination of virtual and in-home visits. RamaOnHealthcare recently spoke with Dr. Scott Weingarten, CEO of Welcome Health, about the medical group model and the need to change that way older adults are cared for.
RamaOnHealthcare (ROH): What inspired the SCAN Group to launch Welcome Health?
Scott Weingarten (SW): SCAN was founded in the 1970s by a group of senior activists who wanted to improve access to the care and services they needed to live healthy and independent lives. As the organization evolved into the non-profit Medicare Advantage plan it is today, serving more than 220,000 members, the mission to keep seniors healthy and independent has remained at the core of SCAN’s work. Under SCAN’s current CEO, Dr. Sachin Jain, the organization’s diversity strategy involves building companies from the ground up that broaden and expand the way older adults receive care. Welcome Health was born out of the need to provide seniors with patient-centered care that is focused around the philosophy of geriatrics. This approach emphasizes SCAN’s belief that care should revolve around the patient.
ROH: As a physician, what are the gaps in geriatric care that you see now and how does Welcome Health help to fill those gaps?
SW: I’ve served as a physician (an internist, specifically) and have taken care of thousands of patients in the past. In addition, SCAN conducted market research and learned that many older adults are looking for care to be delivered in their homes. There are many challenges older adults face when making an in-person visit to a doctor’s office, such as the struggle to find transportation, as well as having to plan their whole day around a fifteen-minute visit. These barriers could easily be resolved by an in-home visit.
…they’ll have expertise in dementia, falls, polypharmacy and loneliness, which are very common issues among the aging population.
Also, older adults have specific needs and goals that need to be addressed and prioritized when developing care plans and treatments. Our team of clinicians is trained to provide care consistent with the science of aging, which is different than routine primary care. For example, they’ll have expertise in dementia, falls, polypharmacy and loneliness, which are very common issues among the aging population.
ROH: What distinguishes Welcome Health from other in-home healthcare services?
…there are limited available services that deliver physician-level care to older adults in their homes.
SW: According to SCAN’s research, there are limited available services that deliver physician-level care to older adults in their homes. The most unique aspect to Welcome Health is that we will provide comprehensive geriatric in-home primary care. For subspecialty care, we are partnering with other providers and health systems in the community who can help us with our patients when needed. For example, if a patient who has asthma could benefit from care from a pulmonologist, we have carefully selected pulmonologists in our network who would provide that care.
The most unique aspect to Welcome Health is that we will provide comprehensive geriatric in-home primary care.
ROH: What is the business model for the medical group and who will it serve?
SW: Studies show that providing primary care and hospital care at home can improve quality of care, reduce health care costs, and result in a better patient experience. Welcome Health’s model will be led by the science of geriatrics and will be “payer agnostic,” meaning we will contract with other health plans and entities to support their older populations. Our goal is to provide this service to as many older adults as possible in the communities we serve. We are eagerly anticipating serving our first patients in the first quarter of 2022.
Studies show that providing primary care and hospital care at home can improve quality of care, reduce health care costs, and result in a better patient experience.
About Scott Weingarten, MD, chief executive officer, Welcome Health.
Dr. Weingarten served as senior vice president, chief clinical transformation officer and professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai, where he helped lead clinical transformation efforts that resulted in improved quality and clinical efficiency. Dr. Weingarten also co-founded, served as CEO of, and had successful exits from two different digital health companies. Zynx was the market leader in clinical decision support, order sets, and care plans, and Stanson is a leading artificial intelligence, analytics, and clinical decision support company.