Telehealth vendors continue free assistance to those hit by hurricanes

Offers made available after Harvey’s landfall are expanded in advance for those in Irma’s path.

When Hurricane Harvey displaced thousands of southeast Texas residents, major telehealth vendors operating across the nation stepped up to offer free medical consultations to those needing treatment, offering connections via mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and even computers.

Those offers came after Harvey struck. With Hurricane Irma soon to hit Florida, those vendors are getting ahead of the crisis.

The vendors included American Well, Doctor on Demand, MDLive and Teledoc, among others, and most are extending offers of free consultations to those impacted by Irma.

Now, these vendors are back to serve those in need of medical care at any time of the day who find themselves still affected by Harvey or by Hurricane Irma. In all, free services are available to those in six states affected by the two natural disasters, the companies say.

In general, the vendors are offering similar services but there are subtle differences in accessing a telehealth session. Doctor on Demand, for example, is offering services through September 15; individuals need only to enter code Irma2017 in their device, then download the app from iTunes or Google, or create an account on the web site.

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Teledoc is offering its services to all, regardless of whether a person is a Teledoc member, but urging those with an emergency condition to call 911.

MDLIVE, based in Florida, is waiving fees for medical and behavioral health services for those affected by Harvey and Irma, and has partnered with Florida insurer AvMed to provide coverage in more than 30 counties in the state. The phone number is 888-959-9516 to connect with a physician or counselor. Video visits require access to a web browser or iOS or Android device. The free virtual care service is valid for one free session per person.

American Well is offering free medical and psychological consulting via its Amwell app for those affected by Harvey and Irma. States currently being served include Texas, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. The vendor will offer the service to any other states that declare a state of emergency with respect to the storms.

Other vendors also are providing assistance to providers in storm zones. Surescripts and Allscripts are providing free access to patient-specific medication history data for pharmacists in Texas and Louisiana for a limited period, and may do the same for pharmacists affected by Hurricane Irma should similar support be needed. Pharmacists can get more information at Pharmacists who cannot get medication history through their electronic health record can download a free application via the Surescripts/Allscripts Harvey web site.

Dr. First is offering its iPrescribe mobile medication platform for free to all prescribers in hurricane affected regions. Physicians can access patient medication histories and write electronic prescriptions for patients and direct them to an available pharmacy to fill the prescription. Prescribers can send a text to 66866 and use the keyword IPRESCRIBE to get the service. Disaster relief organizations also have access to the service using the same credentials.

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