KAPOLEI, Hawaii, Oct. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene and Samsung Electronics America are working together to expand access to telehealth for individuals and families living in rural and underserved communities. 'Ohana Health Plan, as part of the Centene family, will be deploying this initiative in Hawaii by supplying local healthcare providers with Samsung Galaxy A10e smartphones to distribute to patients who would not otherwise have access to healthcare services virtually.
As of mid-July, a CDC survey found that 44.4% of respondents reported delaying or not receiving care for various reasons, including concerns and challenges around COVID-19. Meanwhile, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, rural residents already exhibited higher mortality rates and higher incidences of preventable inpatient and emergency room admissions than their counterparts in urban areas.
In response, 'Ohana Health Plan delivered 150 Samsung Galaxy A10e smartphones, with 90 days of free wireless service, to the following federally qualified health centers (FQHCs):
Hamakua Health Center
Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services
Malama I Ke Ola Health Center
Waimanalo Health Center
West Hawaii Community Health Center
Many of the selected FQHCs are located in rural and underserved communities where there can be barriers to receiving in-person healthcare. The providers will then determine which of their patients need the devices and then distribute them accordingly. Mobile devices will support patients to utilize telehealth and virtual care capabilities such as talking, texting, and videoconferencing sessions with doctors. Patients can also schedule prescription delivery and access patient education materials.
"We're increasingly seeing the importance that telehealth can play in maintaining a person's health. But for those living in rural and underserved communities who may lack access to a compatible device, it can create gaps in care," said Scott Sivik, Plan President and CEO, 'Ohana Health Plan. "Through this program with Samsung, we're bridging that gap and making healthcare accessible for more people by empowering them with the devices they need."
"The global pandemic has prompted the rapid acceleration of digital transformation, especially in healthcare," said Taher Behbehani, General Manager and Head of Mobile B2B Business at Samsung Electronics America. "With 1 billion telehealth visits expected to take place by the end of 2020, Samsung is committed to supporting healthcare institutions with solutions that transform the patient experience remotely and help doctors and nurses work more efficiently. We're thrilled to partner with Centene and 'Ohana Health Plan on this effort to create critical healthcare access for vulnerable patients during this uncertain time."
"KKV appreciates 'Ohana Health Plan and Samsung's support as we strive to connect our community with the resources they need," said Jared Christenot, KKV quality officer. "By providing connected smartphones, this allows our community members to access telehealth services, but more importantly, it helps strengthen the ties between family members during these unprecedented times."
'Ohana Health Plan has been supporting Hawaii residents since 2008 across its Medicaid and Medicare plans. Their efforts to address the social determinants of health reinforce their long-standing commitment to supporting the whole health of their communities, one person at a time.
About 'Ohana Health Plan 'Ohana Health Plan provides government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (WellCare) across the state. 'Ohana Health Plan is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise committed to helping people live healthier lives. For more information, please visit www.wellcare.com/hawaii.