Blue Cross to Start Covering Telemedicine Services

Original article from Birmingham Business Journal by Alan Alexander.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama announced today that on Dec. 1 it will start providing coverage for telemedicine to meet the growing demand for health care services in rural parts of the state.

The new coverage will be geared toward telemedicine services within five categories of speciality care including cardiological conditions, behavioral health, dermatologic conditions, infectious disease and neurologic diseases.

“We are proud to support telemedicine because we want our members to have enhanced access to quality healthcare wherever they are in Alabama. With the innovative technology available today, we are now able to do just that,” saidDoug McIntyre, vice president of network operations at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

McIntyre also said those five specialty care categories are more suited for telemedicine, often times due to the need for additional consulting from specialists located in other cities.

“An example of a very effective use of telemedicine would be for the treatment of stroke. If a patient shows up at a rural hospital with symptoms of a stroke, the (emergency room) physician can establish a telemedicine consult with a neurologist in an urban area who would be able to view and asses the patient, view CT scans digitally, and advise on the course of treatment. This often leads to lifesaving intervention when time is most critical,” he said.

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