Molina covering phone/video healthcare from Franciscan

Molina Healthcare has announced that it will cover the cost of Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care visits for all of its Medicaid members with a CHI Franciscan Health primary care provider, enabling an estimated 16,000 Molina members to receive free healthcare 24 hours a day via telephone, webcam, smartphone, tablet or PC.
While less expensive than the typical trip to a doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency room, virtual urgent care hasn’t previously been covered by health plans or insurance companies.
Molina Healthcare is the largest Medicaid health plan in Washington.
The new partnership with Molina “is a big step forward for CHI Franciscan Health and for the virtual health care industry as a whole,” said Dr. Mark Adams, chief medical officer of CHI Franciscan. “Virtual healthcare delivery benefits patients, care providers and insurance companies alike through its low cost, convenience and flexibility.”
Patients using virtual urgent care have access to Washington-based, board-certified doctors and nurse practitioners any time of day or night for diagnoses, prescriptions and to schedule in-person followup appointments. Molina members’ records will be updated with the information from the virtual visit to ensure that care is coordinated with their primary care physician.
“Our members get convenient 24/7 access to urgent care services without having to worry about transportation, childcare or long waits,” said Dr. Frances Gough, chief medical officer for Molina Healthcare of Washington. They also are being given an alternative to hospital emergency rooms, Gough added.
The Legislature has been considering state legislation that would ensure virtual care is covered by insurance, making the CHI Franciscan and Molina arrangement a possible example for Washington’s healthcare industry.
Virtual urgent care was introduced to CHI Franciscan patients in September 2013. Since then, the service has saved patients more than $600,000 compared to the cost of seeking care at an emergency department, urgent care or primary care provider or clinic, according to CHI Franciscan, which has eight hospitals and more than 100 hospitals and clinics in Pierce, King and Kitsap counties.