Photo courtesy of Gary and Mary West
Gary and Mary West’s PACE Program has partnered with DocGo to reduce ER visits by area seniors.

Photo courtesy of Gary and Mary West Gary and Mary West’s PACE Program has partnered with DocGo to reduce ER visits by area seniors.


The philanthropic-minded husband-and-wife team of 
Gary West and Mary West and their foundation continue to push for better care for older adults in San Diego County.

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Jerry Sanders CEO SD Regional Chamber of Commerce

The couple was honored by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce at its 151st anniversary celebration in February with the Herb Klein Spirit of San Diego Award for making what Chamber president and CEO Jerry Sanders called “a significant and lasting impact on our region… a lasting legacy of lowering healthcare costs for our seniors.”


More recently, the Wests’ Gary and Mary West Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) announced its partnership with 
DocGo (Nasdaq: DCGO), a New York-based provider of last-mile mobile health services and integrated medical mobility solutions.

DocGo will provide rapid, in-home, non-emergency mobile health services to in-need San Diego North County area seniors.


The partnership with West PACE is DocGo’s first in Southern California and will allow the West PACE nursing team to dispatch DocGo vehicles to participants’ homes to treat non-emergency conditions.


Caroline Hodge, vice president of clinical operations at DocGo, said that health systems have experienced significant cost savings and reductions in non-emergency visits with DocGo and that patients’ positive experiences and feedback has been “overwhelming.”


“We have seen tremendous success in other markets due to partnerships like this,” Hodge said. “We’re thrilled to grow our mobile health services in North San Diego County and become an invaluable partner to West PACE and its participants.”


Emergency Department Diversion


Hodge said DocGo has partnerships throughout the country where they provide emergency department (ED) diversion and readmission avoidance initiatives.

 
“We bring value to the patient, provider, and the health plan by treating patients in the comfort of their home and avoiding costly hospital stays,” Hodge said. “The financial liability of an ED visit and its sequelae of hospital admission and then long-term care are very costly to the health plans, take the patient away from their primary care doctor and their homes. We have seen savings in the ballpark of 10 to 1.”


DocGo offers a variety of mobile health services, including rapid and pre-op testing, ultrasounds, wound care, cardiac and blood pressure monitoring, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, physical examinations and IV treatments.


“The DocGo team is staffed with dispatchers, clinicians providing care, local administrative staff, leadership and vehicle and logistic staff,” Hodge said.  


Founded in 2015, the company was previously called Ambulnz and merged late last year with Motion Acquisition Corp.

 
DocGo operates in 28 states as well as in the United Kingdom and has about 3,500 medical professionals as part of its field staff.

 
On March 14, DocGo announced total annual revenues of $318.7 million for 2021, an increase of more than 200 percent from its revenues of $94.1 million in 2020.


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Dr. Ross Colt Medical Director of Gary and Mary West PACE

Dr. Ross Colt, since 2018 the medical director of Gary and Mary West PACE, said the collaboration with DocGo will help the program reach more participants who find challenges in getting to medical appointments or to the Gary and Mary West PACE Senior Center in San Marcos.


“(DocGo) will help us continue to provide wraparound, all-inclusive care for fragile, very vulnerable seniors and allow these precious, irreplaceable seniors to live safely at home for as long as possible,” Colt said.


Aware that some seniors have technological challenges using computers, Colt said West PACE participants with DocGo are provided a tablet “with a grand total of one button on it,” to provide user-friendly assistance and ease in finding help for health needs.


Pilot Program a Huge Hit


Colt said West PACE ran a pilot program with DocGo last year and had great success with it.


“We’ve already has some victories with this program,” he said. “It’s another one of the tools that we have in our ammunition to prevent unnecessary hospital visits and unnecessary visits to the emergency rooms.”


Colt cited an 80-year-old man in the West PACE program with a history of high-risk medical problems, including blood clotting and heart disease.


The man was concerned about a painful swollen knee and worried about needing to visit the hospital.


“We sent DocGo to do a complete evaluation of the knee and it was determined that it was a flare up of arthritis,” Colt said. “We were able to get him those medications on that day and able to avert an ER visit. It was a beautiful use of DocGo and we were thankful for our participation.”


Colt said in another case, an end-of-life scenario was able to play out as the person wished, with in-home palliative care, including DocGo personnel educating adult family members on how best to provide comfort care.


“The patient was able to transition at home at the end of her life,” Colt said. “It’s like a dream come true for many patients when you can pass away in a dignified way in the comfort of your home, surrounded by loved ones with adequate medical support and comfort.”


The Wests founded the Carlsbad-based Gary and Mary West Foundation in 2006 and have been focused on improving senior care and lowering the cost of health care.


“They are pioneers who are passionate about successful aging and have been truly instrumental in better care for seniors and lowering costs of medical needs for seniors,” Colt said. “As a nonprofit, we are in this for our participants -- and it is why we get out of bed every morning.”


The couple’s Gary and Mary West PACE program is part of a national network and a model designed exclusively for those 55 and older who qualify for nursing home level of care but prefer to remain independent. PACE helps seniors by offering care, nutrition, rehabilitation, transportation and support to facilitate healthy living in their own homes.


West PACE’s services include medical, dental, mental health, medication management, nutrition, physical and occupational therapy and social activities.


DocGo was initially connected to West PACE through a joint research collaboration with West Health, a group of nonprofit organizations dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to support successful aging.

 
“Gary and Mary West are truly saints in my humble opinion,” said Colt, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, and family physician by training with 25 years of clinical experience in hospital medicine.


“They have always had a place in their hearts for providing care for seniors. Through their philanthropic efforts, they have made so many impacts on the larger community.”


“Many seniors are being forced to make difficult decisions to cover basic needs they deserve,” said Jerry Sanders. “Gary and Mary West are doing exemplary work towards creating a lasting legacy of lowering healthcare costs for our seniors. …The Wests’ work to provide our seniors with high-quality, affordable healthcare will impact generations to come.”


DocGo
FOUNDED: 2015
CEO: Stan Vashovsky
HEADQUARTERS: New York
BUSINESS: Mobile medical services
REVENUE: $318.7 million in 2021
STOCK: DCGO (NASDAQ)
EMPLOYEES: 3,500
WEBSITE: 
https://docgo.com
NOTABLE: In March, the company rolled out in New York what it says is the nation’s first all-electric ambulance, as it seeks to transition to an all-EV fleet by 2032.


Gary and Mary West Foundation
FOUNDED: 2006
FOUNDERS: Gary and Mary West
CEO of West Health: Shelley Lyford
HEADQUARTERS: Solana Beach
BUSINESS: Part of West Health, a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations
WEBSITE: https://www.westhealth.org
CONTACT: (858) 535-7000
NOTABLE: Since 2006, the foundation has awarded more than 650 grants worth more than $240 million to nonprofit organizations and institutions.