Magellan Health Cares for Vets When It’s Needed Most

Magellan Health provides counseling for military families after a year of uncertainty and anxiety

At its founding in 1969, Magellan Health was rooted firmly in behavioral and psychiatric care, and that tradition is alive and well in 2021. A survey conducted by Magellan sought to gauge the emotional and mental tax of a year marked by social injustice, a pandemic, a bitter election, and the turmoil of millions being confined to their homes for more than a year.

That survey tracked a 42 percent increase in the healthcare company’s members seeking phone or videoconference coaching through their employee assistance programs compared to 2019. Additionally, there was a pronounced increase among members struggling to both manage stress and stay motivated.

Senior Medical Director Dr. Steven E. Pratt told the Washington Post that the tumultuous 1968, with multiple political assassinations, social upheaval, and mass police violence at the Chicago Democratic National Convention, was the only year he could recollect that had anything close to the fear, panic, and anxiety of 2020.

Much like the survey results found by Magellan, data and analysis play a critical role in any healthcare organization’s attempts to identify trends, forecast for the future, and learn from the past. Vice President of Data and Analytics Sonia Khosla has only been with Magellan for as of April 2021, but at her previous employer, Tenet Healthcare, Khosla spent six years delivering synthesized data on a deadline. The VP and her team built custom dashboards that were used across the organization to illustrate everything from hospital capacity to supply inventory to trends for confirmed patients.

Khosla developed a reputation for her ability to apply the artful science of data analytics to help reduce spend, rationalize vendor activities, and provide a safe working environment. She has been described as one whose ownership and ingenuity define her. Now, at Magellan, Khosla is applying her rigor to the demands of a healthcare population that is often highly specialized and whose data points may not be as traditionally well documented.

During a time when so many have found themselves under- or unemployed, unsure when or if they will have a job to return to, one of America’s most vulnerable and overlooked populations faced the prospect of suffering in silence. Issues related to both the Veterans Administration and their ability to administer proper care for the eighteen million veterans in the US always involve a divisive and contested discussion, especially when it comes to the far-too-long overlooked issue of behavioral and psychiatric support for those who have seen things they wish they could forget.

In March 2021, Magellan Federal, a subsidiary of the larger organization, was once again selected to serve as the contractor for the Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC) program, which provides counseling for adults as well as children in the military community.

“We are honored that the government continues to trust in Magellan Federal’s performance and capabilities to deliver on the MFLC mission,” said Oscar Montes, CEO of Magellan Federal, in a prepared statement. “Our rotational, surge, and on-demand counselors, field leadership, and program management office staff are deeply committed to improving the mission readiness of our nation’s service members and their families through delivery of the highest-quality nonmedical counseling services.”

Magellan will deliver counseling services on bases across the eastern half of the US as well as at overseas installations in Europe and Africa. A staff of more than 1,200 qualified counselors will provide services to “ensure readiness of the force, decrease distractions, and enhance the quality of life for service members and their families by helping them address life challenges such as relocation adjustment, mobilization, deployment stress, separation and homesickness, grief and loss, isolation, reunion, anxiety, and more.”

An entire wing of Magellan Health is dedicated to the needs of the armed services, and the organization also offers its employees a chance to connect to their communities through its Magellan Cares Foundation and program, which includes volunteer time off and matching gift programs. In 2018, Magellan employees volunteered more than seventeen thousand hours in thirty-six states and impacted more than 560 different organizations. That same year, the healthcare organization’s matching fund dollars, which totaled nearly $70 million, benefitted more than 152 organizations.

Along with those volunteer hours and matching contributions, Magellan Cares also provides grants to nonprofit organizations for initiatives that are aligned with its focus areas, including housing, food, clothing, and efforts to support veterans and active service members. In 2018, the Magellan Cares Foundation granted $560,000 to 130 organizations.

After a year that no one who experienced it will ever be able to forget, Magellan continues its proud tradition of serving those who need it most. Its commitment to not just the physical but the emotional and behavioral health of its members sets it apart for its foresight and commitment to evolving the concept of “living healthy.”