Aging Health Matters

How Kepro Outreach Staff Work With Stakeholders

June 24, 2022 Kepro QIO Communications Season 1 Episode 2
Aging Health Matters
How Kepro Outreach Staff Work With Stakeholders
Show Notes Transcript

As a contractor for Medicare, Kepro serves as the Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization, also referred to as a BFCC-QIO. While Kepro provides BFCC-QIO services in 29 states, the general information is relevant to everyone who has Medicare (including Medicare Advantage) and everyone who works with people who have Medicare. 

In Episode 2, host Scott Fortin, Senior Director, Communications and Outreach at Kepro, is joined by Outreach Specialist, Kia Weaver. The conversation gives an insight into how staff work with stakeholders, including the sharing of information that can be passed along to Medicare beneficiaries.

For more information about Kepro BFCC-QIO, please visit

00:26: Overview, introduction
02:31: Definition of a stakeholder, how Kepro staff work with stakeholders
06:00: Overview of Immediate Advocacy services
11:30: Resources

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Music: Motivational Upbeat Corporate by RinkevichMusic
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Welcome to Aging Health Matters, a podcast from Kepro, a Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization. We plan to cover healthcare topics for the Medicare population. The information in today’s show may help you or someone you know in their healthcare journey. Thanks for joining us; now let’s get started.

Scott Fortin 
Hello and welcome to another edition of the Kepro QIO podcast. My name is Scott Fortin. I'm the Senior Director of Communications and Outreach for Kepro, and I'm here today to tell you a little bit more about our organization once again. 

As we talked about in a previous podcast, in our introductory podcast, we described what Kepro does, what a Beneficiary and Family Centered Care organization is, and some of the states that we covered and that's 29 states within the United States. 

Some of the services again that we provide for these Medicare beneficiaries are some appeals, quality of care concerns, and Immediate Advocacy, which we'll talk a little bit about today in our podcast. 

I'm very pleased today to have one of our Outreach Specialists, with me, Kia Weaver; welcome Kia. 

Kia Weaver 
Hi Scott, thanks for having me. 

Scott Fortin 
Absolutely. Thanks for being with us. 

One of the things we talked about in the introductory podcast was some of the ways that we reach out to the people that we serve, so the Medicare beneficiaries, their families, healthcare providers, and you may have also heard me say in that first podcast, and please go back and listen to it if you haven't yet, stakeholders. So we're here today with Kia, who works with our stakeholders each day to define what a stakeholder is to Kepro and to the Medicare beneficiaries. 

A little bit about Kepro’s role in outreach and how Kia does that each day along with Nancy, our other Outreach Specialist, and how they work with those stakeholders. So with that Kia, I'm going to spin it over to you for a minute to tell me a little bit about what the definition of a stakeholder is for our audience and maybe talk about some of the most common people that you work with each day as we help people with Medicare with their health. 

Kia Weaver 
Sure. So a stakeholder is an organization that has a similar interest and serves a similar population group. So for example, we often work with library branches and faith-based organizations. So for libraries, libraries often have specific services for seniors, and they provide free resources to that population. 

So the BFCC-QIO also works with this specific population group in order to provide them with free services to improve their quality of care; we often serve as a resource to our stakeholders, and we're able to provide resources to them that they can then pass along to the Medicare population. As partners, we often collaborate and work together to serve this population and provide them with an abundance of information to improve their quality of life. 

Just a little bit about what we do as Outreach Specialists and some of the stakeholders that we work with, as Outreach Specialists, we provide awareness to the various services that are offered by Kepro, and we do this by collaborating with the stakeholders and providers in each of the regions that we serve. 

We participate in joint presentations with local CMS offices, state health insurance assistance programs, nursing home associations, hospitals, and so many more. We also provide educational webinars to many of the stakeholders that are a bit more unfamiliar with the work that we do, again, such as local libraries and faith-based organizations. 

We also provide on-demand webinars to stakeholders. Some of our stakeholders may have new staff or volunteers that are unfamiliar with the work that we do. So they often request webinars on a monthly or quarterly basis, as just like a refresher course. So we do that as well. 

In addition to that, we also have bimonthly webinars, which we can talk a little bit more about, Scott, if you'd like. These are national webinars that we invite all of our stakeholders to from every region, and we just invite them to join in on the webinar and learn more about our services, and that also often serves as a refresher to those who may already work closely with us. 

So those are some of the ways that we work with our stakeholders. 

Scott Fortin 
That's great. Thanks, Kia. I appreciate that definition and explanation a little bit more about what you do and what the stakeholders are and who we work with regularly. I kind of wanted to go back to your point as you mentioned in there some of the webinars and especially the bi-monthly webinars. 

Those are webinars that we offer on a regular basis. One of those things I know that you all talk about in that webinar a lot Kia is Immediate Advocacy. Now in our first podcast, we covered Immediate Advocacy a little bit in detail but wanted to talk more about the ways that Immediate Advocacy can work, from what you've seen with the stakeholders. So perhaps we can give an example or something about how Immediate Advocacy has entered into some of these conversations with the stakeholders or helped out a Medicare beneficiary. 

Kia Weaver 
Sure. And just for those that may have not heard the first episode, just to provide a brief overview of Immediate Advocacy, it's an informal process that's used to resolve a complaint quickly. So these are not related to quality of care services. It's more related to an issue that does not require a medical record review. So an example would be if a beneficiary had ordered a wheelchair but hadn't received it yet, that's something that we could resolve through our Immediate Advocacy process. One example would be if a beneficiary had a concern, they would call Kepro’s helpline, and the helpline phone number is different depending on the region. So that information can be found on our website. So the beneficiary would give Kepro a call with a concern. In this example, I can use an example of a beneficiary that was having an issue with their home health agency. 

So a beneficiary would call and give more of a description about the issue that they're having with their home health agency. Kepro would then have social workers that can contact the agency, and if they agree to participate in the Immediate Advocacy process, then the process will begin. 

Kepro’s social workers and the home health agency will have a discussion about the issues, and Kepro will gather any additional information that's needed in order to resolve the issue. And in this example, Kepro concludes the process with all parties discussing the situation and working towards a resolution. In this example, the resolution would be that a new physical therapist will take over the beneficiary’s treatments. So with Immediate Advocacy, it's really usually communication issues, but any issue that we try to resolve through this process, we aim to resolve it in less than 8 hours and no more than two business days. 

Scott Fortin 
That's amazing. Thanks for the description, a little bit more Kia. 

You know, Immediate Advocacy has been such a great thing for the Medicare beneficiaries since it's been introduced into the work that we do. And as you alluded to, I think there's a lot of great ways that it can help people in ways that possibly we hadn't covered before, whether that was a quality of care complaint or an appeal for a discharge. Those were things that required a medical record as we talked about in the previous podcast. 

It also was a process that might take a little bit longer in some ways, so the term Immediate Advocacy definitely is the one that that I think works very well for people and resolves some of those what I refer to as gap issues, and I think Kia that you probably refer to them that same way when giving presentations, those things such as medical equipment, how do you locate a local pharmacy if you're in a different area or something like that, so these are ways that we can assist Medicare beneficiaries and their families in in strengthening that care and kind of helping them out of a situation that might be difficult. Would you agree? 

Kia Weaver 
I completely agree, Scott. 

Scott Fortin 
So one of the things Kia as you're going through and you're talking to different organizations when it comes to Immediate Advocacy, are they aware of this? Is it becoming something that's a little bit more prevalent out there that that they understand what it is, or is it still something where when you're  training and working with these organizations that you have to provide a lot of background to get them to sort of understand the concept? 

Kia Weaver 
I would say that Immediate Advocacy is one of our services that people are usually the least familiar with. Most of our issues come from providers that have issues related to appeals, so they're always pleasantly surprised to hear about our Immediate Advocacy services. This is a service that I try to bring more attention to just because most providers and stakeholders haven't really heard about this service, or it might just fall through the cracks only because appeal-related issues are more, usually related to more quality of care. They're just kind of it goes more in depth and related to the quality of care that the patients receiving. It can be you know more of a timely issue. But our Immediate Advocacy services are just important, and they can really help to resolve issues, especially for those that are in more vulnerable populations. 

So we really tried to promote health equity throughout our Immediate Advocacy services just because a lot of like I said before, a lot of communication issues and communication barriers can be resolved through our Immediate Advocacy efforts. I would definitely say we are working towards bringing more attention to this service, and we really just hope to promote this free service for Medicare beneficiaries that are in need of an advocate or a need of someone to communicate on their behalf. You know, a lot of our Medicare beneficiaries don't have caregivers, don't have family members to help them with the services that we can provide them with through our Immediate Advocacy efforts. So that's definitely something that we're looking to provide more awareness to for sure. 

Scott Fortin 
Definitely, I agree with you 100% Kia, and one of the things that we have found with this great new tool that has been very exciting is just some of the positive outcomes that we have had with these and just learning about how some of these people that have been challenged with, as you say, possibly no caregiver or around to help them or not knowing where to turn where this can give them some peace of mind, where it can help them to understand the system a little bit more, erase some of those gaps that you always hear about in the healthcare system, and just really I think put their mind at ease a little bit more as far as their care and just knowing that there is a way to be helped. So Kia, I really appreciate you being with me here today. Is there anything else you'd like to add for our group, as we kind of close up here? 

Kia Weaver 
I just like to add that I just want everyone to know that, as an Outreach Specialist, I'm here to serve as a resource to you. So the free services that we provide are there to assist those in need of quality healthcare services, and that's really our main goal. I hope that there is more awareness regarding the services that we offer and how we can work with different stakeholders and providers that also serve the Medicare population. 

And again, just be sure to sign up for our quarterly newsletter and check out our YouTube as well. We are constantly providing new information and updates to our stakeholders. And I just hope that what I've shared here today can really bring awareness to some of the free services that we can offer to Medicare beneficiaries and their families that are in need. 

Scott Fortin 
Absolutely Kia and thank you. You've been a very informative and helpful guest. I really appreciated having you. As Kia did say in you know her last statement there, there's a lot of resources available that we have made at Kepro for those in need, so lots of advocacy resources, explanations of the different appeal and review processes, and you heard her mention some of the presentations as well as the YouTube channel. 

Newsletters, we have newsletters that are available for stakeholders as well as the beneficiary -themed newsletter where we put more beneficiary recipient type of content on there. So again, I would urge as I have in previous podcasts to go to our website as a resource; that is, that is, and we really look at that as a huge library of resources for our audience to take a look at various ways that we can assist you. If you are a stakeholder and if you would like either Kia or her counterpart Nancy to present to your group and work with them, whether that's an area agency on aging or a senior healthcare insurance provider, someone like that? Anyone in that population? We're more than happy to have our Outreach Specialists meet with you and talk about how we can train your audience, help you to understand our resources better, and in turn, help the Medicare beneficiary to actually understand their benefits better through that resource. So Kia, again, thank you for being with me here today. I appreciate it. 

Kia Weaver 
Thank you so much, Scott. Thanks for having me. 

Scott Fortin 
And everybody call Kia and call Nancy, get on their calendar, and let them be a part of some of your training in in some of your information as a stakeholder. Now a little bit of a promo for our upcoming podcasts in coming months. Our plan is to bring some of the very stakeholders that you have heard about today, not by name necessarily, but in the way that they approach this environment as well for Medicare-aged folks is to bring them on to the podcast as well and let them tell you a little bit about what they do, how they interact with this market, how they in partnership with Kepro work to make sure that this population has the information they need, the help they need, and the care they need. So just a little bit of a preview for upcoming podcasts, and I believe that Kia will probably be on some of those too. Kia, so don't go too far. We'll make sure that we keep you close for the next one. 

Kia Weaver 
I'm looking forward to it. 

Scott Fortin 
Alright everyone and please, in the meantime, until our next podcast, I wish you well and hope that you will reach out to us for more information about how we can help Medicare beneficiaries and their families to live a better life, to navigate the healthcare system a little bit better, and to just have those questions answered that they have in their health. Thank you for your time, everybody, and I hope you have a great day.