The benefits of telehealth for Medicaid patients

April 30, 2018

By Brooke LeVasseur, CEO of AristaMD, April 2018.

Learn more about the benefits of telehealth for Medicaid patients, a population facing compounded challenges in accessing necessary care.

Medicaid currently provides health insurance to more than 70 million Americans, or about 20 percent of the U.S. population. This number continues to grow with shifts in policy, demographics, economics, overall societal health, and as aging patterns change. Medicaid is facing major challenges to providing quality care while controlling costs since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, which allowed states to expand coverage to low-income adults under the age of 65.

Getting timely access to care is often difficult for patients, especially the Medicaid population. Providers are less likely to accept new Medicaid patients than privately insured patients, resulting in extensive waits. Access challenges occur across geography and impact patients’ ability to get needed care and treatment from specialists. AristaMD provides a solution that benefits Medicaid patients, ensures cost control, and timely access to specialist doctors in order to improve patient health and outcomes.

In 2017, two-thirds of dermatologists in the top 15 metro markets of the U.S. did not accept Medicaid, according to Merritt Hawkins. It was also found that new patient wait times increased significantly to an average of 24 days, up 30 percent from 2014.

The Merritt Hawkins survey was conducted in the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., with high concentrations of physicians relative to many other areas in the country. The average wait times to see specialists accepting Medicaid significantly increases in more rural areas, which suffer from the physician shortage more than metropolitan areas.

With AristaMD’s eConsult platform, primary care providers are able to leverage telehealth for Medicaid patients through the use of eConsults. This electronic collaboration with specialists facilitates treatment and care planning advice for patients, in a matter of hours. AristaMD has shown that 70 percent of the time, the information received from an eConsult can enable the PCP to initiate treatment immediately and avoid the need for a face-to-face specialist visit. AristaMD provides a solution and benefits for Medicaid patients and stakeholders in the following, specific ways:

eConsults support providers in delivering an expanded scope of care at the primary care site.

In a recent study, the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine found that in 93 percent of eConsults, primary care providers reported a high value for their patients and themselves.

AristaMD’s eConsult platform allows primary care providers to increase the level of care provided at the primary care level, to better manage patients even with complex conditions, as well as maximize the clinic’s productivity. Patients benefit from more timely access to care without the need to take time off work to travel to a specialist office. eConsults are a valuable resource for matching patients to the most appropriate method of care while increasing timely access to quality medical care.

While Medicaid continues to face real challenges in delivering timely and affordable care, it is imperative that the industry evolves to find more efficient solutions to meet patient needs. Investing in telehealth for Medicaid patient populations, such as eConsults, ensures patients have access to timely and high-quality care, and can help Medicaid managed care plans achieve the triple aim of healthcare: better care, improved health and lowered costs.

We encourage you to learn more about how the AristaMD eConsult platform can play a significant role in optimizing delivery of Medicaid care. Get in touch!