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CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Awards $3M to Regional Telemedicine Programs

May 24, 2016
by Heather Landi
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Baltimore-based CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield plans to award nearly $3 million to ten healthcare organizations to help develop or expand existing regional telemedicine initiatives.

Last year, CareFirst issued a request for proposals from public health entities and nonprofit organizations aiming to use telemedicine programs to remove common barriers to health care services and address existing health outcome disparities. According to a CareFirst press release, submitted proposals were evaluated on a number of criteria, including community need, technical viability and sustainability.

Over the next three years, the following organizations in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. will receive funds to establish or expand telemedicine initiatives:

Children's Hospital Foundation - $300,000 to improve access to in-home pediatric care for Medicaid and uninsured patients;

Cornerstone Montgomery - $415,000 to improve access to behavioral health services to underserved communities upon discharge from hospital care;

George Washington University Medical Faculty Practice - $410,000 to provide specialty care for underserved patients in Washington, D.C.'s Wards 7 and 8 through creation of a telemedicine clinic at Unity Health Care's Anacostia location;

The Medical Society of Northern Virginia Foundation - $250,000 to increase the number of volunteer specialists available to patients at Northern Virginia safety net health centers;

Queen Anne's County Department of Health - $400,000 to implement the county's Mobile Integrated Community Telemedicine Health Program;

Mosaic Community Services - $501,590 to increase access to behavioral health services and enhance care coordination for patients in Central Maryland;

Total Health Care - $245,046 to improve quality and reduce the cost of care through primary care telehealth solutions for patients living with diabetes and hypertension;

University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation - $100,000 to enhance telemedicine services at skilled nursing facilities in West Baltimore;

Virginia Hospital Center Foundation - $275,000 to develop an outpatient clinic that will assist patients in overcoming barriers to care through telemedicine initiatives; and,

Western Maryland Health System - $100,000 to serve patients with chronic conditions through remote monitoring and virtual video meetings.

"CareFirst's support for programs like these is a crucial component to bringing adequate health care services to those who need it most," Maria Harris Tildon, CareFirst senior vice president of public policy and community affairs, said in a statement. "Whether improving upon behavioral health services, enhancing care coordination, or increasing the availability of specialty care, support for each of these initiatives will help provide invaluable and innovative care to some of our most underserved communities.”

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