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Worker-Beneficial Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Intro To Highlight Annual BlueCross BlueShield Of Western New York’s Health Care Labor Seminar On Thursday, May 17th

More Than 140 Area Labor Leaders & Reps Have Been Invited To The 2018 BCBSWNY’s Labor Event, Where Experts Will Also Provide Updates On Health Care Reform & Issues Impacting Medicare Age-Ins/Retiring Baby Boomers

Published Wednesday, May 9, 2018
by WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Worker-Beneficial Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Intro To Highlight Annual BlueCross BlueShield Of Western New York’s Health Care Labor Seminar On Thursday, May 17th

(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) – More than 140 Western New York Labor Leaders and Representatives have been invited to the Annual BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York’s (BCBSWNY) Health Care Labor Seminar on Thursday, May 17th – where Experts will provide an introduction to a Worker-beneficial Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program, as well as on Health Care Reform and issues impacting Medicare Age-Ins/Retiring Baby Boomers.

The two-hour-long 2018 BCBSWNY seminar will kick off at 8 a.m. at the Health Care Insurer’s Downtown Buffalo Headquarters, with speakers focusing in on three topics, most notably the Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program - which WNYLaborToday.com got a sneak peek at during a recent meeting with several BCBSWNY Representatives.

Advertised as A Doctor Who Is With You - Every Day, the Telemedicine Program, a health benefit that BCBSWNY has been offering its enrollees since October of 2017, enables anyone to see one of 250 Board Certified Physicians when they need them - 24/7/365 - via the screens on their mobile devices.  All an enrollee needs to do is download an App from the App Store for their iPhone or Google Play for their Android or text ENROLL to 683398 to get the process going and speak directly to a physician or specialist within minutes.

During an interview with BCBSWNY Senior Account Executive Karl Chodora - who consults on Plan Designs, Financial Arrangements, Data Reporting, On-Line Services, Employee Communications, as well as Enrollment and Implementation, Chodora told WNYLaborToday.com that he had the opportunity to test out the program himself when his seven-year-old son recently became sick at home at “one a.m. on a Sunday.”

“I ‘never expected to be on the couch’ (with a sick child at one a.m.) who was crying,” Chodora told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper.  “At that time (of the day) our options ‘were limited.’  Urgent Care ‘wasn’t open’ and the ‘only other option’ was going to the Emergency Room (at a local hospital).  So there we were, sitting on our couch answering a doctor’s questions (on screen).  ‘Minutes later we had a script that we could fill at a local (24-hour) Rite Aid.’”

There are currently 142 BCBSWNY Members who are taking advantage of the Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program here in Western New York, according to BCBSWNY, with the patient age ranging from 26 to 49.

The average wait time to be connected to a physician/specialist is about three-to-five minutes, according to BCBSWNY Representatives. 

And when it comes to cost, it’s hard to beat the Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program, whose cost is $40, compared to an Urgent Care Visit average of $200 and a visit to the Emergency Room at $300.  “And it could be ‘free,’ depending upon whether or not you have a zero co-pay (in your health insurance coverage),” Chodora pointed out.

And the Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program does not just deal with everyday health or medical problems.  It also offers a wide range of provider specialties, including Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Psychology and Psychiatry.  And some of the common treatments offered include care for stress, anxiety, relationship issues, depression, changes in mood, alcohol and tobacco addictions and eating problems.

Pictured Above: BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York's Karl Chodora making his presentation on the Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program at the Health Insurer's Annual Labor Health Seminar on Thursday (May 17th) - WNYLaborToday.com Photos

With so many people, including those represented by Organized Labor in the Private and Public Sectors and the Unionized Building Trades, who don’t like seeing a doctor or for those who don’t have the time because of their busy daily schedules, this program could be a godsend.

Case in point, a Member of the Building Trades who may live and/or work in a rural setting.  Taking the time to make an appointment to see a physician and then drive to that doctor’s office is not only time-consuming, but also comes down to making a decision to consider letting their health slide.  But now, with the BCBSWNY-offered Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program, it would be no problem personally making an effort to reach out and see a physician/specialist when the need arises - no matter where you live or how busy your schedule is.

“This is ‘something new and something we’re hoping (Organized Labor and its Members) will test the waters with,’” offered BCBSWNY Labor Liaison Bob Butski.

“We have a lot of people ‘already using it.’  And an employer can set this up in a room at their place of business or inside a work trailer with a laptop and ‘quickly arrange’ a ten-minute visit with a physician, ‘if need be,’” Chodora said.  “You ‘can even use it when you’re on vacation.’  It’s ‘all paid for under their coverage plan’ and there are ‘no extra fees.’”

“Again, ‘what’s great about (the Doctor-on-Demand Telemedicine Program) is that you can access it from the comfort of your own home,’” added Michelle Tredo, who serves as Marketing Manager, Commercial Marketing for HealthNow New York Incorporated.

A host of information and handouts will be provided to Labor Leaders by BCBSWNY Representatives at the Health Care Labor Seminar that answer a variety of questions Union Members might have regarding the Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program, ranging from How will it work if I have an HSA or HRA plan? to Can I Choose My Own Doctor?, Will my Primary Care Provider receive records from my call? and whether the Telemedicine Program hosted by Doctor-On-Demand is covered with a specific benefit plan - among others.

And BCBSWNY Officials hope that it will truly be a learning experience for those Labor Leaders who attend next week’s Health Care Labor Seminar when they’re presented with the Doctor-On-Demand Telemedicine Program as a further means to bringing about better health for the Workers they represent across the region in the communities where those Union Members work, live and raise their families.

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