Press Releases May 1, 2020

Oak Street Health Survey Identifies Opportunity To Provide Additional Mental Health Support for Seniors in Self-Quarantine

CHICAGO, IL May 1, 2020 — In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Oak Street Health, a network of primary care centers that delivers value-based care to adults on Medicare, today shared findings of a survey exploring the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the mental health of older adults. As stay-at-home orders extend, the need for proactive conversations on mental health are in higher demand, especially for seniors experiencing loneliness in self-quarantine. 

Oak Street Health knows how important mental health is to overall well-being. As stay-at-home orders were put in place, we adapted quickly to ensure all of our senior patients have safe, easy access to the level of care needed to support them through this difficult time,” said Katherine Suberlak, VP of Clinical Services at Oak Street Health. During the pandemic, our social workers and behavioral health specialists have been providing support to nearly double the number of patients as before.”

Oak Street Health surveyed 1,000 adults in the U.S., aged 65 and older, about their mental health and their sentiments and experiences during self-quarantine. The data showed that:

  • There’s an opportunity to initiate conversations on mental health. Data shows that nearly half of respondents (48%) have not had discussions with their healthcare provider about changes in their mental health as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Oak Street Health instituted a process of proactive wellness calls in order to screen patients for unmet needs and connect them with social workers for additional support, tackling this challenge head-on.
  • Seniors are excited to re-engage with their community. More than half of respondents (60%) report feeling optimistic about the future, even with the continuation of stay-at-home orders throughout the country. Most of that optimism is due to the yearning of reuniting in person with loved ones (31%), traveling without the fear of getting sick (31%) and returning to their daily routine (22%). Oak Street Health encourages senior adults to practice proactive mental health wellness by leaning on family, friends and their healthcare providers in times of social distancing, especially when experiencing feelings of sadness and social deprivation. 

Prior to the pandemic, behavioral health specialists at Oak Street Health were averaging four visits per day — now they’re treating closer to six patients per day, which is made possible by our shift to telehealth visits. We believe that this approximately 40 percent increase is a testament to how vital accessible and consistent mental health and social support is for our patients during this difficult time, and we’re proud to provide this level of care,” added Suberlak. 

To learn more about Oak Street Health, visit www.oakstreethealth.com.

About Oak Street Health

Founded in 2012, Oak Street Health is a fast-growing network of value-based, primary care centers for adults on Medicare. With a mission of rebuilding healthcare as it should be, the company operates an innovative healthcare model focused on quality of care over volume of services, and assumes the full financial risk of its patients.

Oak Street Health currently operates more than 50 centers across Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, North Carolina and Tennessee, with plans to continue its geographic expansion, including into Texas, in 2020. To learn more about Oak Street Health’s proven approach to care, visit oakstreethealth.com

Media Contact:

Erica Frank, Vice President of Public Relations
Oak Street Health
Erica.Frank@oakstreethealth.com