Data from Papa Highlights the Impact of Companion Care on Health Care Costs and Outcomes

Press Release from Papa

Series of studies reinforces Papa's impact—and demonstrates improved health and the opportunity to address health disparities across communities

MIAMI, Nov. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Papa, a curated platform of companionship and support for older adults and families, announced today a series of studies highlighting the impact of companion care on overall health and well-being. The data, taken together, illustrate the important role this new model of care can play in tackling some of the health care industry's most pressing issues, such as improved health and lower costs for more complex populations, including older adults, high emergency department (ED) utilizers, and lower-income individuals.

Updated logo (PRNewsfoto/Papa Inc.)

Papa shares further proof that social health is health—and caring for it has big impact.

Three evidence-based reports strongly support this conclusion.

First, a claims analysis by a leading actuarial firm using data from SummaCare, a regional health insurance plan, showed a significant reduction in ED utilization and hospital readmissions for 1,420 Medicare Advantage (MA) members engaged with Papa's companion services. When compared to a matched cohort of SummaCare members who did not use Papa's services, the cohort of Papa members had 34% fewer ED high-utilizers, defined as members with four or more ED visits during the intervention year, and experienced an 11% decline in readmissionrate after enrollment in Papa.

Engaged members were defined as using at least 30 minutes of Papa's service in 2021 and having complete claims data from 2019 for historical benchmarking. (Thirty minutes does not represent the average utilization, but it served as a threshold to indicate the member had participated in the Papa program.) These results are consistent with previous claims-based studies, adding to the evidence that companion care can be used to improve health outcomes and lower costs among certain populations.

"Addressing social drivers of health, including loneliness and social isolation, can have a profound impact on outcomes, cost, and quality of life," said Ellen Rudy, Ph.D., vice president of health and social impact at Papa. "We're proud to continue to bring evidence to market about the importance of social health—and to further conversations around the simple yet powerful role that human connection can play in moving health and health care forward."

Driving better health outcomes through companionship

A second analysis completed by Papa, which examined members across health plan partners, demonstrated a reduction in the severity of loneliness among program participants. Specifically, 60% of severely lonely individuals who participated in their health plan's Papa program experienced clinically significant improvements and moved to a lower category of loneliness, as defined by the UCLA Three-Item Loneliness Scale. Additionally, for that 60%, the number of mentally unhealthy days reported by members decreased by more than six days and the number of physically unhealthy days decreased by two days, based on the Centers for Disease Control's "Healthy Days Measures." This equates to about $1,728 in savings per year for mentally unhealthy days alone. The analysis included members aged 65+ who were active Papa users in 2021, meaning they took at least one visit, and provided follow-up data as of September 2021. 

These results are encouraging given the growing mental health needs in the country, exacerbated by the pandemic.

Addressing health disparities

A third Papa study suggests companion care plays a role in addressing health disparities for lower-income individuals. In exploring the prevalence of loneliness among MA and Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNP) members, Papa found the D-SNP population experienced a greater prevalence of severe loneliness (on average 50% higher than the MA population) and a greater prevalence of physically unhealthy days (18% higher). Both populations showed a high willingness to participate in the Papa program, however the D-SNP population had a 10% higher program activation rate, indicating a higher need for support.

"Disparities in health care are stark. This study offers valuable insight not only into the high numbers of unmet needs faced by more vulnerable populations, but also demonstrates clear demand for services that address these needs," continued Dr. Rudy. "As an industry, we must look at public health strategies that can fill gaps previously unaddressed by our health care system, as we meaningfully tackle social drivers where health happens, at home and in communities."

Papa presented these findings at the Gerontological Society of America's (GSA) Annual Scientific Meeting on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 and at the American Public Health Association's (APHA) Annual Meeting, at a session of top loneliness researchers from across the country, on Nov. 6.

About Papa

Papa is a new kind of care, built on human connection. Across the country, health plans and employers look to Papa to provide vital social support by pairing older adults and families with Papa Pals, trained and vetted companions, who provide a helping hand and an open ear, resulting in less loneliness and better health. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Miami, Papa is backed by Canaan, Tiger Global Management, Comcast Ventures, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, TCG, Initialized Capital, and Seven Seven Six, among other revered institutional and individual investors. We envision a world where no one has to go it alone. Learn more at papa.com.

Papa Media Contact:
Emily Hackel
[email protected]

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