Health plans to bring Online Care to the Northeast launching in the Empire State
Buffalo, NY and Boston, MA — March 10, 2010 — BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York (BCBSWNY), BlueShield of Northeastern New York (BSNENY) and American Well™ Inc. today announced an agreement to deploy American Well’s Online Care platform and services in upstate New York to eligible members and employers beginning this summer.
“The introduction of Online Care is in line with our strategic vision to make health care more accessible and less costly for the communities we serve,” said Alphonso O’Neil-White, president & CEO of BCBSWNY/BSNENY. “Online Care is an innovative solution that will allow us to bring high quality, informed and timely care to our members when and where they need it.”
The Online Care service will allow eligible members to engage in immediate live encounters with credentialed physicians from the Blues plans’ established provider networks. Patients will be able to make these connections from their home or workplace at any time, using the Web or a regular phone. During each live interaction, physicians will be able to review the patient’s clinical information, speak with and see the patient, prescribe medications as appropriate, and suggest follow-up care.
The initial launch of Online Care will occur in the Western New York area with service to Northeastern New York anticipated by fourth quarter 2010. The first phase of the initiative will offer Online Care to eligible BCBSWNY/BSNENY members and the later phase, in year two, will expand to non-members and the uninsured throughout New York State.
“In these times, health plans must be creative and pro-active in helping our communities to achieve better health,” said Cynthia A. Ambres, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSWNY/BSNENY. “Access to care continues to be a major concern for both the insured and uninsured alike. Online Care allows members to reach a physician when answers are needed. It’s convenient and easy to use for both our members and physicians.”
The service is part of BCBSWNY/BSNENY’s “virtual health” vision for improving care delivery. The principles of this vision include promoting access to high-quality medical consultation for members whenever and wherever needed, as well as making it easier for physicians to converse with patients when they need advice but cannot be seen in the office.
“By bringing Online Care to the state of New York, BCBSWNY/BSNENY becomes the first health plan to make this service available in the Northeast,” said Ido Schoenberg, MD, CEO of American Well Inc. “We look forward to joining forces and making Online Care a reality for the communities BCBSWNY/BSNENY serves.”
About BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York/BlueShield of Northeastern New York
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and BlueShield of Northeastern New York are divisions of HealthNow New York Inc., one of the Northeast’s leading health insurance and employee benefits companies that provides quality health care and innovative solutions for members throughout upstate New York and beyond. Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, the Company’s revenues exceeded $2.27 billion in 2008. BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and BlueShield of Northeastern New York are independent Licensees of the BlueCross BlueShield Association.