California HMO Logs 9,000 Volunteer Hours in Service Credit Banking Project

From 1996 to 1998, staff at CareAmerica Health Plans, a for-profit health insurer in Southern California, launched its CareXchange SCB (Service Credit Banking) program in Glendale, Calif.

The CareXchange SCB sought to help elderly people remain healthy, independent, and in their homes by enlisting volunteer caregivers to provide supportive services, such as transportation, medication monitoring, shopping and light housekeeping. As an incentive, each caregiver received credits that can be redeemed for similar volunteer services.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Service Credit Banking in Managed Care national program.

Key Results

  • As of December 31, 1998, the CareXchange SCB program had enrolled 353 volunteers and 539 recipients, including 77 who both volunteered and received services.
  • Volunteers logged more than 9,000 hours of volunteer service over the life of the grant, and program staff estimated an additional 900 to 1,800 hours of volunteer time were provided but not reported by volunteers.

Afterward: In 1998, Blue Shield of California purchased CareAmerica. Blue Shield established a new department, Senior Outreach & Volunteer Services, wherein the program was housed.