Blue Shield of California partners with DispatchHealth for in-home care

Blue Shield of California is teaming with DispatchHealth to roll out new in-home services as part of its broad Health Reimagined initiative.

The goal, the insurer said, is to make it easier for people to access critical care for chronic illnesses and other needs in a more convenient manner. DispatchHealth's services will be made available to members of Blue Shield's HMO and PPO plans living in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.

Users can access same-day, in-home services for more than 40 conditions including respiratory infections, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Home visits are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and DispatchHealth also provides bridge care between hospital and home.

Members in HMO plans must be referred to Dispatch's services by a primary care provider, and PPO plans can connect to DispatchHealth by reaching out directly or through Blue Shield's concierge services.

"I think it's incumbent upon us as a health plan to provide omnichannel care," Peter Long, executive vice president of strategy and health solutions at Blue Shield of California, told Fierce Healthcare. "More simply, it's care when they want it, where they want it."

The insurer is "straight up adding access" through the program, he said.

Blue Shield said in the announcement that in a pilot of DispatchHealth's services, most patients accessed them after 5 p.m., when many primary care offices are closed. The evening is the busiest time for the emergency department, so providing in-home services likely avoided costly trips to the ED.

Long said that in addition to being more cost-effective, Dispatch's services go beyond simply triaging a patient's needs. DispactHealth providers can ensure they access prescriptions and begin therapies in the home.

Reviews from the pilot program have been overwhelmingly positive, he said.

"What we really appreciate about the model is that it can do some pretty sophisticated care," Long said.

Health Reimagined is Blue Shield's broad effort to transform healthcare using innovative technology, personalized approaches and a holistic view of patients' needs. The insurer has launched multiple pilots and other programs throughout the state under this banner.