Louisiana Medicaid plan launches telehealth effort

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Healthy Blue of Louisiana plans to provide its members with access to medical and behavioral healthcare via telehealth.

The organization is a managed healthcare provider that serves Louisiana’s Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion and LaCHIP programs.

To access the telehealth, Healthy Blue’s members log into the plan’s portal, LiveHealth Online, through a smartphone, tablet or computer that has a webcam. The new telehealth option gives members access to board-certified doctors, licensed therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists 24 hours a day, seven days a week and on holidays, the company says.

“By making LiveHealth Online available at no cost to Healthy Blue members, not only are we redefining what’s possible in healthcare, we are empowering individuals and families to improve their health outcomes,” says Aaron Lambert, president of Healthy Blue.

“LiveHealth Online provides new opportunities to access doctors and specialists that may have once been out of reach, and it removes barriers that may have prevented individuals from accessing the care they need, when they need it,” Lambert adds.

Like other Blues plans in recent years, Healthy Blue is embracing how the telehealth option enables members to get quality care for common health conditions such as coughs, colds, cuts, bruises, sprains, strains and other non-emergency issues.

LiveHealth Online video sessions offer a private, secure alternative for accessing non-emergency medical care in English or Spanish, executives at Healthy Blue say. It also expands options for accessing behavioral health resources, which sometimes poses an access challenge. The telehealth visits also provide a quick way for members to get prescription refills.

After each LiveHealth Online session, a summary of the visit is available and may be forwarded by patients to their primary care physicians to support continuity of care and collaboration among healthcare providers, according to Healthy Blue.

“Healthy Blue’s rollout of LiveHealth Online empowers our members by giving them a choice in how, when and where they receive healthcare,” says Cheryll Bowers-Stephens, MD, medical director at Healthy Blue. “This benefit provides access to services for those who do not have reliable access to transportation or may have mobility challenges, as well as those who are experiencing non-emergency or non-life threatening issues late in the evening, over the weekend or during a holiday, when the only other option is seeking care in an emergency room. It is a solution when people have to shelter in place or when displaced in times of crisis. Also, this benefit comes without having to worry about out-of-pocket costs or unexpected medical bills.”

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