USC Premier Care, a free service that helps provide coordinated, personalized care to USC Trojan Care EPO and PPO patients, celebrates its fifth anniversary at Keck Medicine of USC in 2023.

The program’s team coordinates with patients’ physicians and clinical staff to provide scheduling support, wellness services, medication management and disease screenings and prevention — among other services.

“The mission of USC Premier Care aligns with the health system’s goals and objectives,” said Jeffrey Hay, MD, chief medical officer for USC Premier Care. “We want patients to know we are an extension of the primary care teams.”

A coordinated care effort

According to Hay, USC Premier Care supports the patient’s health care experience by facilitating screenings and through management of diseases like cancer and diabetes, as well as conditions like hypertension.

“People who have their screenings here at Keck Medicine get the best quality of any available health care,” Hay said. “Our goal is to help serve these patients their families as well.”

The support for screenings works hand in hand with USC Premier Care’s efforts in health education and lifestyle support, including a free Tobacco Cessation Program for USC health plan employees.

This program offers one-on-one care management support with Keck Medicine pharmacy and occupational therapy providers. Nicotine replacement therapy is provided free.

Building on high patient satisfaction

According to Hay, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted USC Premier Care’s ability to serve patients who may need help navigating the health system and may be experiencing complex health care needs.

Patient satisfaction scores show the benefit of their work.

In 2022, 82% of patients who engaged the services of USC Premier Care found it “Very or Extremely Helpful,” according to Value-Based Services Organization patient satisfaction surveys.

“In navigating a large health care system like ours, patients inevitably have questions and need support,” said Martha Jones, USC Premier Care’s former manager. “We facilitate connectivity with health care providers and build patient trust by providing our services.”

After managing the program since its inception, Jones has transitioned this year into a care manager role for USC Premier Care, with Anita McCulloch stepping in as interim manager. McCulloch joined the team initially in 2019 as one of the VBSO care managers.

As the program continues forward, Hay said that the USC Premier Care team looks forward to continuing to engage USC Health Plan patients across the system, particularly with new ambulatory locations and USC Arcadia Hospital.

—Michael Juliani