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Medicaid to reimburse some Conn. FQHCs for telemedicine with specialists

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The New Haven Register reports that Medicaid will reimburse some  Connecticut Federally Qualified Health Centers  for providing patients with access to specialists via electronic consultations. The idea is that this might widen some low-income patients’ access to care.

“The impact is potentially huge,” said Dr. Daren Anderson, director of the Weitzman Institute, the research and quality improvement arm of Community Health Center Inc., said.

CHC is a  network of 13 health centers with facilities in New Britain, Stamford, Norwalk, Clinton and Old Saybrook.

The newspaper said: “An e-consult enables a primary care doctor to contact a specialist — for a second look at patient’s echocardiogram, for instance — and securely send part or all of a patient’s medical records electronically. The specialist then replies to the primary care doctor within a few days (but more typically within just a few hours), reducing the need for a patient visit to the specialist.”

“Anderson, who studied e-consults for about a year, said he found the process increased access to specialty care for underserved populations, reduced the need for in-person care, streamlined specialty referrals and had the potential to reduce emergency department visits.”

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