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IEHP's eConsult Program Improves Health Care Access for a Safety Net Population

Multi-County eConsult Initiative Exceeds 10,000

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., July 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), one of the nation's largest public Medicaid and Medicare health plans, is proud to announce that its Multi-County eConsult Initiative (MCeI) has resulted in more than 10,000 eConsults since the program started in 2018.

IEHP Logo (PRNewsfoto/Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP))

MCeI is a result of the collaboration with Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC), Riverside University Health System (RUHS), and IEHP direct sites, with funding and project management provided by IEHP as the lead agency for the program. Its purpose is to increase access to quality care for at-risk residents in the Inland Empire, an area that has long been overwhelmed with the volume of patients seeking access to specialty care.

eConsult is a web-based platform that allows for Primary Care Provider-to-Specialist conversations aimed at providing quicker access to specialty care and better care coordination. eConsult in other health care systems, such as Los Angeles County, has shown reduced wait times for appointments and in many cases addressed the needs of the patient in the primary care setting. To date, 240 Primary Care Physicians and Residents, 167 Specialist Reviewers and 63 clinic sites, including correctional facilities, are using the eConsult platform, with anticipated growth to 150 clinic sites over the next few months. The program is working. Currently, approximately 25 percent of patients are able to get Specialist-guided care through their Primary Care Physicians, saving them travel and wait time, and leading to faster and accurate diagnoses and treatment.

"IEHP's Multi-County eConsult Initiative leverages virtual care technologies and process improvement approaches to increase health care efficiency, health care access and quality of care," said IEHP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer N. Sayles. "We are thrilled with the early results from this program, and its ability to provide our 1.24 million Members better access to care." In fact, IEHP has mandated that eConsult replace the former referral and authorization process for all IEHP Members by the end of 2020.

The program is well received by the two county hospitals. "We are in complete support of this initiative and it is now fully launched in all our sites," stated Jennifer Cruikshank, chief operating officer of RUHS. "We appreciate IEHP for their funding and support of this effort."

Associate Hospital Administrator for Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Staci McClane agrees. "We know that eConsult will make access to specialist care much easier for our patients, something that is deeply needed in our community," she shared.

RUHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arnold Tabuenca shares the doctors' perspective: "With eConsult, our Primary Care Physicians can expedite specialty care for their patients. This improves patient outcomes and care quality—something we all appreciate."

Primary Care Physician Dr. Arthur E. Jimenez added, "The transition to eConsult was not always easy, especially for my busy clinic. However, I appreciate the value that it brings to my patients. They are enjoying faster access to specialty care."

Second only to Los Angeles County, IEHP's eConsult initiative is one of the largest implementations of virtual care technology and care coordination processes anywhere in the nation. MCeI positions IEHP well to achieve its strategic mission to provide innovative and efficient care coordination for at-risk populations throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

"Our sole purpose behind the eConsult program is to increase access to patient care," stated IEHP Chief Executive Officer Jarrod B. McNaughton. "We are committed to reduce wait times and promote more efficient care for our members, while at the same time reducing the number of no-shows for our providers." McNaughton noted that IEHP has invested approximately $5 million to design, implement and support the use of eConsult.

About IEHP
IEHP, Inland Empire Health Plan, is a not-for-profit Medicaid and Medicare health plan located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. With a network of more than 6,000 providers and more than 2,000 employees, IEHP serves more than 1.2 million residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medicaid or Cal MediConnect Plan (Medicare-Medicaid Plan). Through a dynamic partnership with providers, award-winning service and innovative products, IEHP is fully committed to providing members with quality, accessible and wellness-based healthcare services. www.iehp.org.  

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SOURCE Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP)