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California Payer Announces Widespread Telehealth Initiative

October 10, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Blue Shield of California has teamed up with the Dallas-based telehealth solutions provider, Teladoc, to bring telehealth services to 350,000 Californians. The people receiving the telehealth will be California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) members, through Blue Shield’s HMO plan. They will be able to access Teladoc’s network of California-based, state-licensed, board-certified physicians, 24 hours per day, and seven days a week on the phone, and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week through online video.

“It’s important for our CalPERS members that we continuously look for ways to improve care and contain costs,” Tom McCaffery, vice president of California State Partnerships, Blue Shield of California, said in a statement. “A member may need care at a time when their primary care physician is unavailable, leaving only the emergency room or urgent care as options. By working with Teladoc, we can now offer our CalPERS members an innovative tool that provides them quick and easy access to a California-licensed, board-certified physician so they receive the care they need, when they need it.”

In addition to consultations, Teladoc physicians can write short-term prescriptions for non-controlled substances if appropriate. CalPERS members initially provide a thorough medical history. To ensure continuity of care, Teladoc can provide its members with an EHR that can be sent to his or her primary care physician.

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