SSM Health, a 23-hospital delivery system based in the Midwest, is taking steps to make it easier for more people to use telemedicine.
The organization is rolling out a service that offers virtual visits for $25. It’s initiating efforts in Missouri and Wisconsin; the cost for the care doesn’t depend on a patient’s insurance status or whether individuals are existing SSM patients.
“As a mission-based organization, SSM Health has always been committed to meeting patients where they are when delivering care,” says Erin Powell, system director of health transformation at SSM Health. “Our new virtual visit service is the latest validation of that commitment, making healthcare more convenient and affordable than ever before.”
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Anyone in the service area can use a smartphone, tablet or computer to set up a visit with an SSM provider.
Non-urgent conditions being virtually treated include cold, flu, sinus infections, diaper rash, pink eye, bladder infections, heartburn and allergies.
The cost of the care can be covered with credit, debit or health savings cards. Any prescriptions from a virtual visit will be sent to the patient’s preferred pharmacy.
Patients seeking a virtual care encounter can log into a platform accessible from the system’s website and complete a questionnaire that poses the inquiries that a provider would ask during an office visit. Most patients will receive a video visit or phone call within 15 minutes, with a maximum expected wait time of 60 minutes.
The service is available to persons 18 years or older who want to create an account. Normal hours are 9 am to 7:30 pm Monday-Friday and 10 am to 4:30 pm on the weekend.
Patients whose health concerns cannot be handled via a virtual visit will not be charged for the visit.
SSM Health intends to expand the virtual visit program to Illinois and Oklahoma in late spring.
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