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MUSC Extends Free Telehealth Platform to State Health Plan Members

By January 15, 2020No Comments

The Medical University of South Carolina is partnering with the state’s Public Employee Benefit Authority to extend free, non-acute telehealth care to some 550,000 state employees and their dependents.

By Eric Wicklund

January 10, 2020 – Some 550,000 South Carolina state employees and their dependents now have access to free telehealth services under a deal forged with the Medical University of South Carolina.

State officials announced this week that the university’s MUSC Health Virtual Urgent Care platform is now open to members of the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA). The virtual care platform, offering care for more than 40 health issues, can be access by on-demand video or phone or through asynchronous (store-and-forward) telehealth channels that include texting and online questionnaires.

“We know how hard it can be to take time away from work to address urgent health issues, and when care is hard to access, takes too long or is too expensive, a patient may wait to address an issue until its much worse or harder to deal with,” Patrick J. Cawley, MD, MUSC Health’s CEO and the university’s Vice President of Health Affairs, said in a press release. “That’s not good for patients, their families, their employers or the long-term health and wellness of our state. I’m very excited that PEBA has partnered with us on improving access to effective and efficient care, and these state employees will, in turn, benefit from the quality, expertise and convenience that comes from being connected to one of only two telehealth centers of excellence in the nation.”

MUSC – one of two designated national Telehealth Centers of Excellence – joins a growing number of health systems and health plans looking to boost connected health adoption by offering free direct-to-consumer telehealth services for non-acute concerns, such as colds, viruses and infections.

The service also targets access barriers, giving state employees the opportunity to access care from the mobile device of their choice and at the time and place of their choosing, rather than going to the doctor’s office, retail health clinic or hospital.

“This new benefit for our state employees and their families brings the doctor straight to your phone, instead of them having to spend the time and money they may not have,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in the press release. “This is another innovative tool to keep people healthy and address health issues earlier than they might otherwise. This means a healthier, more prosperous South Carolina.”