In response to increasing patient demand for telehealth, Kaiser Permanente this week announced the launch of a new “virtual-first” healthcare plan in Washington state.
The plan, which will be available January 1, 2021, through Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington direct to employer groups and consumers, will center telehealth as a foundational modality of care for patients with non-urgent issues.
“Virtual care is the health care of today and tomorrow,” said Dr. Paul Minardi, president and executive medical director of Washington Permanente Medical Group, in a statement.
“The pandemic has reinforced the need to provide care in the most convenient, accessible, and safe way for our members, and that’s what Virtual Plus does,” he said.
WHY IT MATTERS
As with other providers, Kaiser Permanente says it saw a huge uptick in telehealth use since the start of the pandemic; according to the company, it was one of the first healthcare organizations to deliver the majority of care via telemedicine.The system’s options include its Consulting Nurse Service, Care Chat online messaging and video and phone visits; about 65% of appointments are now conducted virtually.The new health plan will allow members to reach out via phone, online chat, video or email for non-urgent issues. […]
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