Texas Children’s® Health Plan members are now a secure video conference away from connecting with doctors and providers anytime, anywhere.
Through our very own Texas Children’s telehealth platform called Texas Children’s® Anywhere Care that was recently launched on May 22, Health Plan members will have the option of seeking urgent care services for certain conditions – like allergies, fever (in children older than 8 weeks), skin infections, pink eye, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea and more – via telehealth instead of in the emergency rooms, which will help to alleviate many barriers that our Medicaid patients currently face, like transportation.
“We want to ensure we provide the best care to our pediatric patients and women when they need it,” said Dr. Heidi Schwarzwald, Chief Medical Officer Pediatrics of Texas Children’s Health Plan. “For some of our Health Plan members, physical access to Texas Children’s can be difficult. Telehealth technology will enhance our current operations and allow us to improve the quality and access to care for children and pregnant women, while facilitating more efficient communication with patients and families.”
Health Plan members can register for the platform at www.texaschildrensanywherecare.org. Once the Texas Children’s Anywhere Care app – which will be available in Android and iPhone stores in the next few weeks – is downloaded onto a smart phone, they can connect with one of Texas Children’s telehealth physician partners via video for a consultation. This new telehealth option, available on demand in both English and Spanish, is not intended to replace a patient’s ongoing relationship with their primary care provider, but to supplement care when there are unavoidable gaps.
“Through our partnership with American Well, Texas Children’s Health Plan has access to providers in their Online Care Group which has enabled us to go live with 24/7 coverage for our urgent care visits,” said Laura Laux Higgins, director of Special Projects at Texas Children’s who co-leads the telehealth initiative at Texas Children’s under the supervision of the eHealth Executive Steering Committee. “As we expand our services, our long term goal is to build our own team of Texas Children’s e-health providers who are solely dedicated to telemedicine visits.”
Bringing telehealth services to the Health Plan would not have been possible without the collaboration from multiple departments across the system including Information Services, Legal, Finance, Treasury, Marketing, Texas Children’s Health Plan, Texas Children’s Pediatrics, and our Obstetrics-Gynecology, Quality and Safety teams.
“This project was not just about technology, but having the right vision, strategy and operational support to bring telehealth to Medicaid patients who comprise 85 percent of our Health Plan membership,” said Haley Jackson, senior project manager for Women’s Services and co-lead for the telehealth initiative. “This was a huge team effort across the board, and I am grateful for everyone’s support on this project.”
In September 2018, telehealth was also launched to all Texas Children’s employees and their eligible dependents who are enrolled in a Texas Children’s medical plan via Cigna, our health insurance provider. Employees who have used telehealth describe the service as a welcome addition to their Cigna benefits.
Click here to read a recent Connect article about Cigna Telehealth benefits. Click here for more information on Texas Children’s® Anywhere Care.
About Texas Children’s Health Plan
Texas Children’s Health Plan was founded in 1996 by Texas Children’s Hospital and is the nation’s first health maintenance organization created just for children. Texas Children’s Health Plan cover kids, teens, pregnant women, and adults. If a child is able to get Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Health Plan has a large group of more than 6,250 doctors, 7,811 specialists, 221 hospitals, and health resources to care for their needs. For more information, visit texaschildrenshealthplan.org.