PORTLAND, Ore. – Eighty-five percent of Regence members continued their behavioral health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statistic illustrates how Regence has collaborated with providers and rapidly pivoted to meet increased member demand for telehealth and virtual care solutions in the face of COVID-19.
“The communities we serve are facing unprecedented stress due to the pandemic, economic fallout and social determinants of health,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, president of consumer health solutions and chief medical officer for Regence. “Maintaining access to behavioral health care for current users and members who now need access remains our priority. We are partnering with providers and innovative e-health solutions to meet the needs of all the communities we serve.”
Members across Regence’s four-state region who received behavioral health care before the pandemic successfully switched to virtual care options to ensure their continued care from the earliest days of physical distancing. This included 87 percent of members in Washington, 85 percent in Oregon, 85 percent in Idaho, and 82 percent in Utah, averaging to 85 percent across the four states.
Regence expanded members’ access to all provider specialties through telephone, video, text and other options to help them get the care they need during the pandemic while allowing them to maintain physical distancing. These virtual services included both routine preventive services and COVID-19-related care.
Other areas aside from behavioral telehealth have also experienced increases. Regence’s telehealth claims are up 4900 percent during the pandemic. In January, Regence saw an average of 1,000 telehealth visits a week. In May, that average was more than 50,000 visits a week. Primary and specialty care are making up half of all telehealth utilization for Regence members, up from about 20 percent in January.
Expanded access through virtual care is one of the ways Regence is supporting its members, business partners, employees and communities during the pandemic. In addition to telehealth, Regence is:
- Providing no-cost COVID-19 treatment to fully insured members through December 2020, as well as no-cost diagnostic testing when recommended by a doctor, and reaching out proactively to high-risk members
- Working collaboratively with providers, including expediting claims payments
- Listening to and collaborating with our customers on solutions, such as grace periods and leave of absence, to achieve continuation of employee coverage—and providing educational events around back-to-work strategies
- Supporting community partners on the front lines through investments in programs that aid food security and caregivers
- Protecting the safety and well-being of its employees through remote work and enhanced home health programs for mindfulness and exercise
Regence’s website, regence.com/go/covid-19, is regularly updated with the latest information, including expanded resources for self-care as people face mental health challenges.
Regence serves approximately 3.1 million members through its Regence health plans in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Each Regence health plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit regence.com.