April 1, 2020
by Dan Lemle
As the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis continues to pressure our health care infrastructure, individuals and families are increasingly turning to telehealth to interact with medical providers and access necessary health care services.
The Alliance of Community Health Plans’ (ACHP) nonprofit, community-based health organizations are meeting their communities’ needs in this time of crisis. The majority of plans have deployed or expanded telehealth services, and they are waiving related out-of-pocket copays and cost-sharing. For example:
- CDPHP in Albany, NY, provides all members access to virtual emergency medicine services 24/7 and SelectHealth in Salt Lake City, UT, covers telephonic visits to encourage continued care and access
- CommunityCare in Tulsa, OK, deployed telemedicine and e-visit options in the wake of the crisis, expanding coverage for all medically necessary services, including behavioral health services
- Dean Health Plan in Madison, WI, expanded access to telehealth services through FaceTime, Skype and Zoom so members have broader means to medical services
- Geisinger Health Plan in Danville, PA, and Priority Health in Grand Rapids, MI, are deploying chatbots to help triage and screen patients remotely
- HealthPartners in Bloomington, MN, has expanded access to mental health care through video visits, completing 2,000+ appointments in just one week
In addition to these innovations, ACHP member plans have pledged to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, including it as a covered benefit to remove cost as a potential barrier.
These uncertain times call for smart and systematic approaches that expand access to critical health care services. ACHP members continue to act swiftly and to provide their communities with the services they need most.
Additional information on efforts of ACHP plans and their affiliated systems during this public health crisis is available here.