It doesn’t take an emergency field hospital in Central Park to prove that the coronavirus pandemic is dramatically changing the face of medical care in the U.S.
Every news cycle brings with it fresh examples of overwhelmed hospitals, inadequate workflows, and overburdened providers, as COVID-19 continues to sweep through the country. But it also carries news of solutions — the innovative steps that the healthcare industry is taking to ensure that people are still receiving care.
In the maternal health field, practices are turning to virtual care to keep pregnant mothers and their providers safe. At Babyscripts, we’ve seen a surge in practices transitioning to remote patient monitoring (RPM) and an increase in custom campaigns through our app, as providers update their patients on policy changes and the latest information around COVID-19.
The insurance industry has been a crucial supporter of providers’ innovative measures to ensure care, especially for the Medicaid population. Payers have extended coverage to protect members who otherwise could experience a lapse, like a mother at 6 weeks postpartum or one up for yearly renewal. Many have expanded coverage of RPM and RPM devices to aid providers as they navigate the financials of new virtual care measures.
One Babyscripts payer customer is covering CPT A4670 for automatic blood pressure monitors, so that maternity members enrolled on Babyscripts who are unable to get to their routine, in-person doctor appointments can monitor their blood pressure from home. This keeps patients out of the clinic and in the safety of their own homes, while enabling the provider to monitor and manage potential blood pressure complications for their patients.
Other payers continue to use Babyscripts to connect members to community resources and assess members for risk. These resources are now more important than ever, as the economic impact of COVID-19 and social distancing measures take a particularly heavy toll on those already at risk; with instances of domestic abuse, opioid addiction, food scarcity and others fueled by business closures and stay-at-home regulations.
At one site, the head of case management for the payer’s pregnancy program participates in daily rounds in which the team talks about members at risk for infection. Any member who is a positive or suspected case is assigned a dedicated case manager to provide support and ensure that they have access to care,
“[We also have a] COVID-19 clinical pathway from our enterprise where we’re helping to assess for COVID,” she told us. “We continue to provide Mom’s MealsⓇ (meal delivery) and case management for those members.” Meal delivery is particularly important to ensure that pregnant moms are getting access to proper nutrition without exposing themselves to potential infection from grocery shopping.
As our payer customers continue to take a robust approach to the pandemic crisis, capturing more members than ever and aggressively assessing their members for risk, one thing is certain amidst the uncertainty of a COVID-19 world: the medical community will continue to adapt to the challenge, meeting changes with invention and innovation to deliver care to those who need it most.