Options for helping members avoid ER visits during flu season
Every year, somewhere between five and twenty percent of the population contract the flu. Last year’s flu season was one of the worst in recent memory, and some experts are predicting that this year will follow the same pattern.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Anthem) is trying to help members locate alternatives to Emergency Rooms for care that does not require an Emergency Room setting. Frequently the services these patients need are not emergent and sometimes not even urgent.
As flu season approaches, we are trying to help you know alternatives available for your Anthem patients when they are unable to see their Primary Care Provider or other treating provider.
Urgent Care Centers and ER Alternatives
Anthem’s provider directories currently include Urgent Care centers, Retail Health Clinics, and Walk-in Doctor’s Offices.
If it's not an emergency and the member can't get to his/her regular doctor, he/she may be able to get the care needed -- and save time and money with these other types of quick-care options.
- Urgent Care Centersare staffed with family, pediatric, ER and internal medicine doctors. They treat certain conditions right away that are not as severe as emergencies.
- Retail Health Clinicsare often found in a major pharmacy or retail store. They have physician assistants and nurse practitioners onsite to treat basic health concerns.
- Walk-in Doctors' Officesare usually family practice doctors who can treat many things even if the member is not a regular patient or have an appointment.
Members should always call 911 or go the Emergency Room (ER) if he/she thinks they are having a real emergency or if the member thinks it could put their health at serious risk by delaying care.
Access our online Provider Directory at https://www.anthem.com/find-doctor/.
DispatchHealth - Denver and Colorado Springs only
While we encourage members to utilize urgent care centers as lower cost options to an Emergency Room (ER) visit when appropriate, we’re also offering our Anthem network providers a convenient solution to the ER alternatives listed above. This new option may be especially helpful for members that may have issues leaving home.
DispatchHealth travels so the flu doesn’t. They bring high-quality care to your patients’ homes when acute needs arise after hours or during busy clinic days, and their board-certified medical teams will fully document your patients’ visits and send detailed clinical notes directly to you.
For cases of the flu, their medical team -- also referred to as this season’s “Traveling Flu Crew” -- will arrive ready to perform a rapid infectious disease test, administer IV fluids, prescribe anti-nausea medication, prescribe antivirals if caught early enough, and order a chest x-ray if pneumonia is suspected.
Each DispatchHealth medical team consists of either a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, along with a medical technician and on-call physician. There’s no added cost to your practice.
DispatchHealth will bill Anthem directly for the care provided, just like an urgent care. A visit with DispatchHealth typically costs 80-90 percent less than the average emergency room visit.
You can refer a patient to DispatchHealth when you’re on-call, after hours and on weekends and holidays. Your patients can also request care from DispatchHealth directly by simply calling 720-588-9686.
To learn more, visit dispatchhealth.com.
November 2018 Anthem Provider Newsletter - CO