MILWAUKEE, Oct. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Centene and Samsung Electronics America are working together to expand access to telehealth for individuals and families living in underserved communities. MHS Health Wisconsin, as part of the Centene family, deployed this initiative in Wisconsin by supplying local healthcare providers with Samsung Galaxy A10e smartphones to distribute to patients who would not otherwise have access to healthcare services virtually.
MHS Health Wisconsin deployed 150 Samsung Galaxy A10e smartphones, with 90 days of free wireless service, to several federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and other healthcare providers. The providers care for patients in in underserved communities, where there can be barriers to receiving in-person healthcare. The providers determine which of their patients need the devices and then distribute them accordingly.
As of mid-July, a CDC survey found that 44.4 percent 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.
“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re increasingly seeing the importance that telehealth can play in maintaining a person’s health. If a person does not have access to a compatible device though, then that can create gaps in care, especially among underserved communities,” said Sherry Husa, MHS Health President and CEO. “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.”
MHS Health Wisconsin was pleased to hear from participating providers that the smartphones will meet the particular needs of their patients. For example elderly patients who prefer to stay home and not come to the clinic, however may be less likely to have access to a smartphone; as well as patients with behavioral health care needs who benefit from consistent communication even though their practitioners may need to work remotely at this time.
“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 one 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 MHS Health Wisconsin on this effort to create critical healthcare access for vulnerable patients during this uncertain time.”
MHS Health Wisconsin has been supporting Wisconsin residents since 1984 across its health 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 MHS Health Wisconsin
MHS Health Wisconsin, founded in 1984, is a health maintenance organization (HMO) that provides coverage for Wisconsin beneficiaries in BadgerCare Plus, Medicaid SSI and Medicare Advantage. The health plan serves more than 80,000 members. MHS Health’s Medicaid plan is accredited through the NCQA. MHS Health, through its parent company, Centene Corp., also offers specialty services including behavioral health, life and health management, managed vision, telehealth services and pharmacy benefits management. For more information, visit www.mhswi.com.