Helping doctors, specialists and other providers combat COVID and care for patients in crisis

By Regence
April 15, 2020
Cheryl Pegus Regence

Dr. Cheryl Pegus shares her perspective on the importance of supporting members and their doctors during the COVID pandemic.

Updated April 15, 2020

Health care professionals around the world—physicians, nurses, behavioral health professionals, hospital staff, and many others—are working hard to help all of us who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes providing care to patients who are ill from the virus as well as those who are managing other health conditions, like anxiety, depression and addiction, while we all practice social distancing and other healthy habits.

In order to do this work, Regence understands that we must work in close partnership with health care providers and remove barriers to patient care. The doctors caring for our members, for example, want to be able to maintain physical distancing guidelines and prioritize patient safety. We were able to quickly increase our members’ access to telehealth by expanding the types of services that can be delivered via digital channels, including webcam, phone and text; this was done while also paying providers the same rate for virtual visits as we pay for in-person visits, ensuring medical professionals are supported and able to provide uninterrupted care. This was quickly achieved while following federal guidance and relaxing requirements for delivering those services using HIPAA-compliant platforms.

Expanding care access through digital channels is critically important because of the opportunity it gives our members to see their own provider—a familiar face, someone who knows them—while ensuring our health care professionals can stay safe.

Additionally, expanding telehealth allows mental health care to continue uninterrupted, a particularly key care need during today’s uncertainty, with stress and anxiety high and sustained support important.

Beyond virtual access, Regence is supporting providers in other important ways, including:

  • Expediting provider payment of claims to 7 days on average
  • Supporting discharge needs, including removing barriers to quickly discharge our members to alternate settings to accommodate care needs of critical patients
  • Extending pre-authorization of elective procedures to ensure staff and patient safety
  • Eliminating pre-authorization for COVID-related tests and treatments 
  • Expediting credentialing to help meet emerging demands for providers and ensure our members have access to care
  • Advocating for providers to receive additional assistance through the federal aid packages

If you’re a Regence member and have questions about your benefits or coverage, please visit our Regence website page about COVID-19. There is also additional information posted in the Regence Newsroom. Please also know that our customer service team is available to help over the phone—call the number on the back of your member ID card—or online via live chat. We appreciate the collaborative relationship we share with providers, and we want to ensure we are doing what we can to support them, care for our members, make an impact in our communities and honor our employees’ passion and commitment to our work.