PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has expanded its telehealth platform, Doctors Online, to now offer behavioral health services. All BCBSRI insured members are able to access a board certified doctor for urgent care needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using a mobile device or desktop computer. Additionally, appointments can be scheduled with behavioral health providers through the platform for an added level of access and convenience.
“Telehealth provides our members with convenient and appropriate care when they need it and can help reduce expensive emergency department or urgent care visits,” said Matt Collins, M.D., MBA, BCBSRI executive vice president and chief medical officer. “Adding behavioral health is an important next step in our efforts to improve access to behavioral health services for our members.”
BCBSRI’s Doctors Online telehealth service is growing in popularity for members across Rhode Island as a convenient and affordable alternative to seeing their primary care provider when time is limited due to travel, school or transportation challenges.
Collins noted, however, that the availability of Doctors Online in no way replaces the relationship between a member and their primary care provider. “When life gets in the way with things like busy schedules, vacations and business trips, it’s important for members to have access to a cost-effective option when seeking medical care,” said Collins. “Doctors Online provides easy and convenient care to Rhode Islanders whenever, wherever they are.”
While much of telehealth’s appeal lies in accessibility to treat routine medical care, its virtual setting is also highly effective in making behavioral healthcare easier to access, less costly and less stigmatized. “We recognize that many people may be uncomfortable with the prospect of seeing someone they know when visiting a behavioral health provider, despite efforts to destigmatize behavioral healthcare,” Collins said. “Through Doctor’s Online, our members can access behavioral health appointments from any place that is convenient for them.”
In addition to behavioral health, Doctors Online providers are available to treat a wide range of common, non-emergency health issues, such as:
- Cold and flu symptoms
- Bronchitis and other respiratory infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Skin irritations
- Sinus problems
Doctors Online health providers are all U.S. board-certified, licensed, and have online profiles detailing their education and practice experience, as well as ratings from other patients. Doctors Online is administered by American Well®.
The telehealth capability is also an available option within BCBSRI’s self-funded health plan administrative services. Member benefits, including cost-sharing, will vary depending on specific plans. To download Doctors Online, visit drs-online.com or search “Drs. Online” in the Apple or Google app store.