Funding connects Central Valley and north rural county primary care centers with specialists to treat patient needs onsite, without requiring visits to other clinics and providers.
Anthem Blue Cross, a leading coordinator of managed healthcare services in California, has made a new commitment that will continue to give uninsured Californians access to specialty healthcare services. Anthem has provided a new grant of $50,000 to California E-Consult Coalitions that will be distributed to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), rural health centers and tribal FQHCs in California's Central Valley, north rural and Sacramento regions, so the health centers can continue accessing e-consults with specialty providers to treat patients, regardless of whether patients have health insurance. Along with a previous grant, Anthem has invested $100,000 since 2020 to cover the cost of more than 1,000 e-consults for uninsured patients.
“Anthem Blue Cross is committed to fortifying our members as well as our communities with equal opportunities to access the healthcare they need and to improve their health outcomes,” said Les Ybarra, President of Anthem Blue Cross’s Medi-Cal health plan. “We have consistently been at the forefront of investing in innovations and building solutions that address some of California’s most pressing needs, disparities and healthcare industry challenges, and our continued support of California E-Consult Coalitions’ efforts is just one more example of our commitment to continue building a healthier, better California for everyone.”
Primary care providers often have to refer patients to specialists, which can require a patient to travel to another clinic and wait for scheduling and availability. E-consults allow primary care doctors to virtually consult with specialists and get expert guidance on how to treat patients’ needs within a few days, without requiring patients to travel to or schedule with another provider. Providers still have to bill for this service, but insurance coverage, like that offered by Anthem Blue Cross’s Medi-Cal health plan, often covers the cost. To help health centers extend this solution to patients who are uninsured or underinsured, and can’t afford to pay for it, California E-Consult Coalitions has been disbursing funds provided by organizations such as Anthem.
"The Coalitions and our health centers are grateful to Anthem Blue Cross for its generous, ongoing support of the e-consult program in order to ensure that all health center patients have the same opportunity to be able to receive specialty care through this innovative solution," said Mary Renner, Chief Operating Officer, Central Valley Health Network. "We are proud to partner with this program that provides critical access to important resources for our health centers and the uninsured individuals served by them."
Anthem’s contributions are part of its Community Health Strategy, which centers on health equity and a whole-health approach to achieving better health outcomes. In October 2020, Anthem spearheaded a program in collaboration with other managed healthcare providers, forming the Central Valley E-Consult Coalition and North Rural E-Consult Coalition facilitated by BluePath Health. The coalitions engage specialty health providers, primary care providers and plan members who are served by health centers in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne and Yuba counties.
Central Valley Health Network is currently administering Anthem’s grant funds. To learn more about this effort and the work being done by the coalitions to expand and enhance access to care, visit https://econsultworkgroup.com/coalitions.
ABOUT ANTHEM BLUE CROSS OF CALIFORNIA
Anthem Blue Cross helps improve health care access and quality for Californians by developing innovative care management programs and services. Anthem Blue Cross’ top priority is the health and well-being of our consumers, and we are committed to providing members with access to comprehensive health care. Through health education and community outreach programs, members are empowered to choose and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name for Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Cross of California Partnership Plan, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Elevance Health, Inc. The Blue Cross name and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Blue Cross of California is contracted with L.A. Care Health Plan to provide Medi-Cal Managed Care services in Los Angeles County. To learn more, visit https://mss.anthem.com/ca. Follow us on Twitter or on Facebook.
Dionisia Malecki, Anthem Blue Cross Public Relations