|[January 23, 2013]
Anthem's Telemedicine Program Continues to Lead the Way in Connecting Members with Needed Healthcare Services
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
As the state prepares to expand access to care through the Affordable
Care Act, Anthem Blue Cross' telehealth network recently marked an
important milestone by successfully providing over 50,000 specialty
consults - connecting members in some of the state's most rural
underserved areas to needed health care services.
With more than 80 percent of the state designated as rural, Anthem
recognized that the development of a telemedicine network could
effectively help connect their members with some of the state's top
specialists located at notable medical centers and universities. Nearly
14 years later, Anthem officials and providers alike agree that
telemedicine continues to be an effective way to provide access to care
for individuals who do not have access to specialty care in their
communities. Today, Anthem's network can connect members with more than
26 specialties including: behavioral health, cardiology, dermatology,
diabetic retinopathy, neurology and pediatrics.
While Anthem originally launched its telemedicine program to serve a
growing Medi-Cal population, over time the telehealth network has been
used by a variety of Anthem members and in fact, has been used by other
health plans without a network of their own, thereby creating greater
access to specialty care for all residents in the state.
"We've long understood the needs of providing our Medi-Cal members in
rural areas with access to care," said Steve Melody, regional vice
president of Anthem's Medicaid business. "And, as we look to continue
our partnership with the state on the upcoming expansion of Medi-Cal to
an additional 25 counties, we are confident that our telemedicine
program will play a vital role in connecting members with much needed
health care services."
San Francisco-baed Medical Dermatologist Marc Goldyne, MD, PhD, FAAD
has successfully used telemedicine to treat patients over the past 12
years and agrees that continued use and greater acceptance has
encouraged physicians to use the technology. "The advances made in the
telehealth technologies has removed the obstacle of distance -- as long
as healthcare personnel have secure internet access, we can effectively
provide needed specialty consultations for primary providers and their
patients," said Dr. Goldyne. "As we look to expand access to care,
telemedicine will become an essential tool for healthcare delivery.
Access to specialty expertise and care will be available throughout the
State and eventually throughout the nation."
Beyond providing access to care, Anthem's network is also helping to
connect health practitioners and the local community in a variety of
settings. The network has already been utilized for more than 7,000
non-clinical consults. Registered nurses have used the network to
receive Continued Medical Education (CME) where access to a local
colleges is not available; cancer support groups have used the network
to discuss treatment and recovery options, and rural primary care
physicians have relied on the technology to discuss difficult cases with
"Our experience and collaboration with providers who have readily
accepted telemedicine is also positive and helps to reinforce that as
telemedicine continues to expand and flourish, we can use telehealth as
an alternate and supplemental delivery system to encourage wellness and
prevention for our members throughout the state," added Melody.
Anthem's program offers 62 presentation sites and 20 specialty centers
that include notable medical centers UC Davis Medical Center, UC Irvine
Medical Center and UC San Francisco Medical Center and most recently the
addition of UC San Diego Medical Center.
About Anthem Blue Cross:
Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem
Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are
independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ® ANTHEM is a
registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross
name and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.
Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross
Life and Health Insurance Company is available at www.anthem.com.
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