Close to 400,000 uninsured and underinsured patients served by participating FQHCs in Texas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida, and Illinois can now receive specialty care eConsults, saving time and money for patients and providers and improving health outcomes for underserved patients.
ConferMED, one of the nation’s leading eConsult companies, announced today it is providing specialty eConsults to eligible Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in cities serving close to 400,000 uninsured and underinsured patients through a $2.3M grant from the Quest Diagnostics Foundation. The grant is part of the foundation’s Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) initiative and is being provided to ConferMED’s Advancing Health Equity Project to address a leading cause of health inequity: lack of access to specialty care. FQHCs in Miami, FL; Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; Houston, TX and Boston, MA are eligible for the program. To date, 15 health centers in the targeted regions have signed up for services.
The Quest funding is enabling ConferMED specialists to consult virtually with primary care providers at these health centers to help quickly resolve specialty cases. Specialty eConsults save patients and participating providers time and money, increase access to care in areas where specialty care services are limited, and improve health outcomes for underserved patients.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare health inequities in underserved communities primarily served by community health centers,” says ConferMED President and Founder Daren Anderson, MD. “Fewer barriers to specialty care means better patient outcomes and ultimately a healthier community. With this grant from the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, we are thrilled to be able to provide eConsult services to primary care providers at FQHCs in the Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Houston, and Miami metro areas.”
ConferMED specialists are board certified in their field and fully credentialed to provide specialty care services to patients in these regions. They can support primary care providers with more than 40 adult and pediatric specialties. ConferMED has provided over 80,000 eConsults to primary care practices across the country.
FQHCs currently signed up for this new grant-funded program are: Community Health of South Florida (CHI), Care Resource Community Health Center, Inc., The Center for Family and Child Enrichment and Borinquen Health Care Center, Inc. in Florida; TCA Health, Inc., and Prime Care Health and Inner City Muslim Action Network in Illinois; Total Health Care, Inc., and Healthcare for the Homeless in Maryland; East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, and Uphams Corner Health Community in Massachusetts; and Houston Area Community Services dba Avenue 360, Healthcare for the Homeless, Lone Star Circle of Health, and Stephen F. Austin dba Community Health Network (CHN) in Texas.
Community Health of South Florida (CHI) was the first health center in the country to take advantage of the opportunity and has already fully implemented to support its 75,000 patients, according to Dr. Saint Anthony Amofah, Chief Medical Officer at CHI.
“We are excited for this opportunity to improve access to specialty care for all of our patients, regardless of health insurance or ability to pay,” he said. “The ability to receive direction from specialists on how to provide the best, evidence-based care for our patients in primary care is valuable.”
“With the help of ConferMED’s eConsult services, we are able to enhance access to specialty care for patients while, at the same time, educating our providers about specialty care treatment,” added Dr. Timothy Long, Chief Clinical Officer for Health Choice Network, a Miami-based health services organization supporting 43 safety-net provider organizations that include Community Health Centers of South Florida and two other participating FQHCs in metro Miami. “Providers at these health centers can now connect directly with specialists to help them manage complex patients in a seamless way that is as affordable, accessible, and culturally sensitive as their other services. Providers can also be assured that their patients are getting the specialty services they need to achieve optimal care outcomes.”
Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) is a multi-year initiative of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX). The Quest Diagnostics Foundation focused on providing a combination of donated testing services, education programs, partnerships, and funding to support initiatives to close the gap in healthcare services and address disparities in underserved communities.
“We are proud of this important collaboration with ConferMED that will improve access to critical specialty care services in under-resourced communities,” said Ruth Clements, President of the Quest Diagnostics Foundation. “We believe that these services will improve health outcomes and support wellness, which is more important than ever after many have deferred care due to the pandemic.”