Health Reform WK-EDGE Worksite clinics turn to telehealth during COVID-19 pandemic
Thursday, June 4, 2020

Worksite clinics turn to telehealth during COVID-19 pandemic

By Lauren Bikoff, MLS

Clinics aim to offer more telehealth services for chronic conditions, primary care.

Over 80 percent of worksite clinics have a telehealth capability, according to recent research from the National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC). The survey, Worksite Health Center Responses to COVID-19 Challengesfound that 57 percent of worksite clinics plan to increase telehealth offerings post COVID-19, especially for chronic conditions and primary care.

"The COVID-19 crisis has shone a light on the value of a worksite health center in caring for and responding to the medical needs of an employer’s covered population," said Larry Boress, executive director of NAWHC. "Having a medical team that is adaptable, quickly available and understands the unique qualities and requirements of a work environment is crucial to maintaining the health and productivity of the workforce."

The survey found the following:

  • While 55 percent of respondents are only offering limited services, 36 percent still provide all services that were available prior to the COVID-19 crisis, with 74 percent repositioning their clinical staff to providing telemedicine services.
  • Telephonic screening of COVID-19 symptoms is being done by 85 percent of all centers, with 74 percent offering virtual office visits for other conditions.
  • Of those offering pharmacy services through their centers, 81 percent continue to provide prescription refills, recognizing the critical importance to those with chronic conditions to stay adherent to their medications.
  • Appointment lines have been transitioned to COVID-19 screening lines for over 60 percent of respondents.
  • Considering the IRS rule that allows waiving co-pays for those with health savings accounts, 43 percent of employers are waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, and 27 percent waiving the co-pays for COVID-19 treatment and telehealth services.

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