by Jordan Roberts
Director of Government Affairs, John Locke Foundation
Hurricane Florence caused massive amounts of damage when it bombarded the North Carolina and South Carolina coast. There were record rainfall and flooding which caused massive damage and severely limited people’s access to health care services.
Fortunately, the use of telehealth is making it easier to get access to care for those affected by the storm. Taylor Knopf of North Carolina Health News compiled a list of all the telehealth networks that are offering assistance to hurricane victims:
Go online here to access virtual health visits through Atrium Health. Atrium is waiving fees during hurricane recovery. Use the coupon code “FLORENCE.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC notes that Magellan Health is offering free, confidential counseling for those impacted by the storm. Magellan can also give referrals to local non-profit organizations, shelters and other community-based support. Call 800-327-7451 to get started.
The state Department of Health and Human Services also has a behavioral health “Disaster Distress” hotline, call: 1 800 985 5990
Due to the hurricane, Cone Health is waiving virtual doctor visit fees through 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19. Visit Cone Health online here or download the Cone Health Virtual Visit app to schedule an appointment. When registering, use the code “CONEFLORENCERELIEF” to waive the usual fees.
Health Line Blue
With Health Line Blue, a product of Blue Cross Blue Shield, nurses answer questions about medications and provide medical guidance until patients can see a physician. Call 877-477-2424 anytime, day or night, to speak with a Health Line Blue nurse.
MDLIVE has set up a hotline for those impacted by the hurricane, call 888-959-9516 and use the code “Florence” to schedule an virtual visit.
“This virtual health offering is available via MDLIVE’s online medical network for the diagnosis and treatment of common health problems, as well as non-emergency dermatological ailments and behavioral issues,” according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina’s hurricane resource page.
Teladoc is also offering free virtual doctor visits for those affected by Florence. The Teledoc hotline is 855-756-8708. Call to get started or visit Teladoc’s Hurricane Florence web page here.
UNC Urgent Care 24/7
To assist those physically located in North Carolina who are displaced by the storm, the University of North Carolina health care system is waiving fees for its virtual care visits through Sunday, Sept. 23. To use this service, go to the UNC Urgent Care 24/7 website or download the app on your mobile device. Be sure to use the free offer code “UNCFLORENCE2018” on both the website and the app.
Vidant is waiving fees associated with its virtual care network VidantNow through Sunday, Sept. 23. To get started with a telehealth visit, you can call 888-575-2522, download the VidantNow app on your mobile device or visit the website here. Use the coupon code “vidantrelief” to get your free visit.
Doctor on Demand
A national organization, Doctor on Demand, also announced it will cover video visits at no cost to all those impacted by the natural disaster now through September 30th. To access Doctor On Demand, download the free app (iTunes or Google Play) or create an account on the website. Once registered, patients can enter code FLORENCE2018 to their account to redeem their visit with a medical provider.
While this hurricane was a tragic event for the Carolinas, the use of telehealth networks to assist the victims of Florence offers a valuable insight into how this innovative technology can help people in times of crisis.