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First Choice Health Covers the Cost of Telehealth and Virtual Care Services for Employers via 98point6 Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

To help ensure people will have access to a doctor during the current COVID-19 crisis, First Choice Health (FCH), a leading provider-owned healthcare administrator in the Northwest, has announced that it is covering the cost of telehealth services for its self-funded employer customers via on-demand primary care service 98point6

While patients are anxious and fearful for their health during this pandemic, the medical community is on the frontlines, and clinics throughout the country face difficult decisions about how to adequately screen who visits their offices. With many of them not equipped to provide virtual care, the Seattle-headquartered FCH will provide its employer customers complimentary access to 98point6 for 60 days to support social distancing measures while discouraging the utilization of ERs as the first line of care.

"Whether we're watching the COVID-19 case numbers rise throughout the world or right here in the Seattle area, it's become clear that healthcare organizations need to do everything possible to ensure there is enough capacity in the system for people to receive care," First Choice Health CEO and President Jaja Okigwe said. "We anticipate telehealth and virtual care becoming a critical part of helping those in need over the next 30-45 days, and do not want cost to be a barrier in accessing 98point6's services for any of our customers in these unprecedented times."

98point6 conveniently delivers personalized consultation, diagnosis and treatment to patients. The virtual platform provides customers with unparalleled access to immediate, high-quality care, allowing FCH to meet members exactly where they are and clinics to help preserve safety for their facilities and the patients visiting them.

"During this crisis, many clinics are choosing to not see patients with flu-like symptoms and others are closing their doors generally, leading to many unnecessary ER visits that can increase the transmission of viruses," Okigwe said. "Giving our customers access to 98point6's platform means that they'll instantly be able to consult with a doctor virtually, whether they are concerned that they have symptoms of COVID-19 or just want to avoid going to a doctor's office."

In addition to the 98point6 offering, FCH has modified its provider search to flag providers who can provide telehealth access.

Over the last year, FCH has prioritized telehealth services and other high-touch solutions focused on accessibility and convenience, and has nearly 500 providers in its provider network that can deliver care virtually. Along with 98point6's unique text-based primary care service, FCH has also improved behavioral health access in the workplace for the more than 600 FCH clients using its standalone Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The embedded service is offered through online counseling partner BetterHelp, connecting FCH EAP clients to the world's largest online behavioral health network.

FCH represents the largest independent preferred provider network across eight states (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota), with more than 110,000 providers, 2,350 facilities and 366 hospitals in the network.