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Medicare plan launches addiction services for seniors

March 5, 2015
by Julie Miller
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Independence at Home, which is operated by SCAN Health Plan, has added a new program for older adults that provides screening, assessment, counseling, brief therapy and action planning for individuals who may be misusing alcohol, drugs or prescription medication. The Substance Assistance for Elders (S.A.F.E.) program will deploy more than 100 local social workers, nurses and others who are trained to recognize the risk factors, signs and symptoms of substance abuse in older adults.

“With older adults utilizing one-third of all prescription medications, misuse and abuse is a very dangerous and growing problem,” said Marsha Meyer, PharmD, CGP, CGCM, director of health and wellness services for Independence at Home, in a statement.

Substance abuse often goes undiagnosed due to a variety of factors, including ageism, denial and/ or lack of access to services in the community. Independence at Home’s S.A.F.E. program aims to fill the gap in services to improve outcomes and quality of life.

To be eligible for the S.A.F.E. program, participants must be aged 55 or more years or be a caregiver for someone aged 55 or more years.

SCAN Health Plan serves 170,000 members in California and Arizona and originally was launched as a Medicare demonstration program. It is known for programs that aim to keep seniors living in their homes with community support in lieu of nursing home care.

Julie Miller is editor-in-chief of Long-Term Living sister brands Behavioral Healthcare and Addiction Professional.

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