North Carolina/Virginia Service Credit Banking Program Reduces Cost of Care for Asthma Patients

From 1996 to 1999, staff at Sentara Health System established a service credit banking program, called Sentara Volunteer Caregiving. The program recruited volunteers to provide supportive community-based services for enrollees of both its Medicare managed care plan and a demonstration project aimed at nursing-home-eligible patients.

In this service credit banking program, volunteers earned one hour of credit for each hour of service provided. They could bank their credits for future use, donate them to an individual or specific service, or donate them to frail elderly recipients.

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

Key Results

  • At the end of its third year of operations, Sentara Volunteer Caregiving had 426 individuals enrolled in the program as volunteers and/or recipients, and more than 13,000 hours of service had been logged.
  • More than 2,500 of the volunteer hours that were donated during this grant period (19%) were spent assessing and assuring asthma patients over the phone. The information obtained helped improve care plans and resulted in a one-year savings of approximately $80,000 to the system.