Telehealth extends resources in the opioid epidemic
GEHA | March 4, 2021
One of the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we interact with doctors by pushing telehealth to the forefront. Telehealth not only reduces the need for an initial in-person evaluation, but it expands resources to communities that had limited access.
The increase of telehealth services also creates a larger body of evidence that can be examined to determine what does – and doesn’t – work. One of the most urgent applications is the opioid crisis. According to studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, the opioid epidemic claimed nearly 71,000 lives in the United States in 2019.
Telehealth enables individuals struggling with opioid use disorders to engage with clinicians and therapists from the comfort of their homes. The video conferences and calls can link people to care and potentially reduce opioid overdoses and deaths.
GEHA telehealth benefit
GEHA medical members are eligible for telehealth powered by MDLIVE. You can consult with a board-certified doctor by phone, secure video or MDLIVE app, anytime and anywhere. Licensed behavioral health therapists and pediatricians are also available.
The average wait time is less than 10 minutes to see a state-licensed, board-certified physician averaging 15 years of practice experience. Your covered dependents are also eligible.
MDLIVE is designed to handle non-emergency medical conditions (including dermatology) and behavioral health issues and can often substitute for a doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency room visit. Telehealth is not intended to replace your primary care doctor or to be used in life-threatening emergencies. Find more information or activate your account.
GEHA medical members also get access to 24-hour health advice via phone or video with a registered nurse. Health Advice Line nurses can help evaluate symptoms and determine an appropriate method of treatment, which may include home-based remedies, referral to an urgent care facility or walk-in clinic, or accessing the telemedicine service to speak with a physician.
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*HDHP plans members are responsible for 100% of the plan allowance until they meet their deductible. After HDHP members meet their deductible they will be charged by MDLIVE, but GEHA will reimburse them 100% of the plan allowance. Learn more.
This is a brief description of the features of the Elevate, HDHP, Standard Option, Elevate Plus and High Option medical plans. Please read the plan’s Federal brochures RI-006 (High and Standard Options), RI 71-014 (HDHP) or RI 71-018 (Elevate and Elevate Plus), available at geha.com/PlanBrochure. All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations, and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochure.
“New research shows promise of telehealth in treading opioid use disorder.” ahrq.gov, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 31 August, 2020.
“Supporting access to telehealth for addiction services: Regulatory overview and general practice considerations.” asam.org, American Society of Addiction Medicine, 18 September, 2020.
“Treatment of opioid use disorder during COVID-19: Experiences of clinicians transitioning to telehealth.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnology Information, November, 2020.