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Telehealth Visit with Dr. Rakhi Singh, San Mateo Medical Center

Telehealth: COVID-19 and Beyond

When the pandemic hit California, health care providers jumped into action to care for COVID+ patients, while also ensuring ongoing access to care for all patients. To protect patients and frontline workers and help reduce the spread of COVID-19, public health care systems dramatically shifted from in-person clinic services to telehealth video and phone visits.

Telehealth is an effective alternative to many types of in-person care. Across public health care systems, telehealth is used to provide a range of services, including primary care and specialty care, chronic disease management, bedside consults for patients, behavioral health support, and care coordination.

This shift in care was facilitated by new flexibilities granted during the public health emergency by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which expanded the types of telehealth services covered by Medi-Cal.

Over the past year, telehealth has greatly expanded access and reduced long-standing barriers to care, especially for those most vulnerable, including low-income populations, communities of color, those who are homeless, and those living in rural settings. Video and phone visits eliminate transportation barriers and increase accessibility to care during the workday. For individuals without internet or with restrictive data plans, phone visits are especially critical. If these telehealth options are removed or limited, patients could suffer the consequences of delayed care, further widening the disparities gap.

Today, CAPH along with other health care provider organizations, is urging the State and the Legislature to maintain access to expanded telehealth services beyond the pandemic. Patient-centered care through the convenience of telehealth is the new standard of care across the industry, and a powerful tool for delivering more equitable access to care for those who need it the most. Ensuring phone and video visits are available to all Medi-Cal patients will be vital to achieving health equity for low-income Californians.

For more information, please see our provider video testimonials and factsheets below on telehealth in California’s public health care systems.

Provider Testimonials

Public Health Care System Factsheets

Learn More