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Health Net Hosts "Policy Café" Discussion to Continue Closing Gaps in Access to Telehealth

Date: 06/17/22

Health Net's Stephanie Landrum-Hall, Senior Manager of Community Grants and Public Affairs, and Kelli Boehm, Government Affairs Advocate, were recently joined by other health leaders to talk about the ever-changing world of telehealth. Telehealth is when patients talk or video chat with a doctor via phone, computer or tablet.

The Policy Café discussion, "Virtually There: Closing the Gaps for Telehealth Access in Medi-Cal," focused on improving health equity in telehealth care and the importance of ensuring that telehealth remains something that is used, expanded and reimbursed as we emerge from the pandemic.

During the event, Stephanie shared insights into Health Net's Telehealth Grants Key Findings Report, including:

  • In the spring of 2020, 138 Medi-Cal providers received $13.4 million in grants from Health Net to support the establishment and expansion of telehealth and telephonic services.
  • Telemedicine use increased from 2% of visits prior to the pandemic to 45% at the end of the first year of the pandemic, representing a more than 20x increase.
  • Despite challenges, 85% of Health Net's grantees plan to integrate telehealth as a sustainable practice for patients moving forward.

Kelli provided insight into Health Net's stance on various telehealth policies, such as audio visits. For many health center patients, audio visits were an important lifeline:

  • In May 2020, 75% of health centers reported that their patients had challenges with video visits, with 47% of them saying the issue is that their patients don't have the necessary equipment.
  • In August 2021, Health Center Controlled Network clinics were doing about 64% of visits in person, 30% by phone and less than 7% by video.
  • Winter 2021, over half of clinics were still doing less than 10% of their primary care visits via video, the vast majority (over 70%) were doing a quarter to three-quarters of primary care visits by phone.  

The past few years have proven there is a lot of demand for telehealth, and the demand is from people of all ages. This means the future of telehealth is strong. Health Net will continue to build access to these services and help meet the needs of the people we serve.

Watch the full discussion.

Last Updated: 06/17/2022