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 Presented by Health New England

By Dr. Laurie Gianturco

Dr. Laurie Gianturco

Dr. Laurie Gianturco

Telehealth is the use of telecommunications and information technologies to deliver clinical care, preventative services, wellness services, patient education, and other health care related services from a distance.

But what does that mean to health care members and why should they take notice?

Telehealth is transforming the way health care is delivered, expanding it beyond the traditional doctor’s office to virtual consultations over the phone and on smart devices. Members can request a phone or online video consultation with a telehealth physician to treat low-acuity medical issues such as a cold, the flu, rash, urinary tract infections, ear infections, and more.

Roughly 30% of family physicians in rural communities have embraced telehealth, according to research conducted by the Robert Graham Center. An aging population, increasing incidences of chronic disease, and rapid technology advancements are fueling growth in the market.

Health New England was the first Massachusetts health plan to offer telehealth services to its members through a company called Teladoc. Health New England began offering telehealth services to its members in August 2015 as a convenient, affordable alternative to costly emergency room visits for non-urgent care.

Teladoc providers are U.S. board-certified in internal medicine, family practice, emergency medicine, pediatrics, dermatology and behavioral health. They are U.S. residents and are licensed in Massachusetts, with an average of 20 years of practice experience. Since Teladoc was launched in 2002, they have provided 1.6 million tele-visits.

To ensure continuity of care, Teladoc providers share information from a member’s virtual visit with their Primary Care Provider (PCP) so he or she is aware of the visit and can follow up as needed. Another benefit is that a Teladoc visit typically costs a member around $40, significantly lower than the cost of visiting an urgent care center or Emergency Department.

Teladoc offers a convenient option for members who need care for occasional minor issues after hours as well as those on vacation, on a business trip or away from home. Teladoc is not intended to replace a member’s PCP for ongoing care and for managing chronic conditions.
If you have a non-urgent medical need after hours, and your health plan offers a telehealth program, it’s an option that could save you time and money while providing care coordination with your PCP.

Dr. Laurie Gianturco serves as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Health New England. Dr. Gianturco is board certified in radiology and nuclear medicine.

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BusinessWest White Paper Sections

Presented by Health New England

By Katie Bruno

K_BrunoHealth plan sponsored wellness programs – designed to help employees become more active, eat healthier, and take better care of their bodies — are not simply the right thing to do; they can also help companies save on health care costs.

It’s a simple fact that when people feel great, they are at their best. And that’s why, when it comes to wellness programs, there is, to borrow a term from the business world, measurable ROI (return on investment.)

Improvements in health can be seen in the results of biometric screenings, including measures like blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol levels. For employers this translates to improvement in everything from absenteeism and productivity to overall company morale.

To be effective, though, these plans must be properly planned and administered. Businesses of all sizes need to really partner with their health plan as they consider offering a wellness program, when to undertake such an initiative, and, most importantly, how.

For many years now, Health New England has been that partner, providing needed direction on how to blueprint and administer a plan; how to set goals — for the program and individual participants; how to keep a program on track; and how to raise the bar when necessary.

Health New England provides a wide range of programs and specific benefits to address the wellness of its members and their families — at every stage of their lives. Our programs are free-of-charge for employer groups and are structured as follows:

• Basic wellness plan benefits, including an annual preventive well-visit; a yearly $150 wellness/fitness reimbursement; nutritional counseling with a certified nutritionist; and free help to quit smoking through Health New England’s smoking-cessation program;
• An Enhanced Healthy Choices Rewards Program that rewards members for being proactive about their health. Employers can opt-in to this free program, designed to help members gain a better understanding of their health and learn ways to better manage it. By completing a few simple health activities during the year, members can earn points toward raffle drawings; and
• A Customized Health Directions Employer Worksite Wellness Program, designed for those who want to partner more closely with Health New England. Companies and their employees receive an onsite kick-off event, including biometric screenings; various health activities, fitness challenges, educational seminars and webinars; access to the Healthy Directions web portal; and access to raffle drawings.

Health New England partners with employers and their employees to design wellness programs with a focus on goal setting, physical activity, healthy eating and preventative care. They can also help design incentive programs to reinforce health and wellness efforts.

Wellness programs are not just the right things for a company to do. They are very good for business. And Health New England can help make them part of your business.

Katie Bruno is manager of Health Management Programs for Health New England.

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