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Virginia Mason Partners with Carena to Provide Insurance Billing for Virtual Clinic Visits

Mother using virtual care clinic for sick son

SEATTLE – (Nov. 7, 2016) – Seattle-based virtual care provider Carena announced a partnership with Virginia Mason today to offer insurance billing to Virginia Mason Virtual Care Clinic patients insured by Regence BlueShield.

Carena's new partnership will make low-cost virtual care more accessible for 40,000 Virginia Mason patients.

The partnership, the first in which Carena has offered health insurance billing, will make low-cost virtual care even more accessible for the 40,000 Virginia Mason patients currently covered by Regence BlueShield.

Previously, Regence BlueShield members needed to pay the full cost of a virtual visit out-of-pocket, without the ability to apply their insurance benefits for care delivered through the Virginia Mason Virtual Care Clinic, a 24/7 virtual clinic that offers high-quality care, wherever patients are, using a smartphone, tablet or a computer. Now, members have access to use their health care benefits for virtual visits, making the process much more convenient. Regence BlueShield members will still be responsible for paying any copay or coinsurance they may have, depending on benefit status.

“We are excited to kick off virtual care insurance billing with a trusted partner in our home market,” said Carena President and CEO Ralph C. Derrickson. “Empowering Regence BlueShield members to apply their insurance benefits for care delivered through Virginia Mason Virtual Clinic opens the door to superb virtual care for even more patients.”

Virginia Mason Virtual Care Clinic is powered by Carena, its clinical and technology partner. Patients are able to receive virtual urgent care services any time of day or night, including diagnoses, prescriptions and opportunities to conveniently schedule follow-up appointments at any of Virginia Mason’s physician and specialist offices. Virginia Mason Virtual Care Clinic is an extension of Virginia Mason’s network, with the ability to provide high-quality health care throughout the greater Seattle area.

“We have a moral imperative to make health care better, more accessible and more affordable,” said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD. “Our collaboration with Carena underscores our commitment to these goals and to always meeting the needs of our patients.”

Virginia Mason Virtual Care Clinic is built on Carena’s Virtual Clinic Platform that includes software, staffing and operations services. It is fully integrated into Virginia Mason’s clinic-based care delivery system. The clinicians working in the virtual clinic will follow Virginia Mason’s practice guidelines to ensure patients receive high-quality, evidence-based care. The virtual clinic helps current Virginia Mason patients stay in network for continuous care, and helps new patients connect to a Virginia Mason provider after their virtual visit.

By integrating virtual care into its health system, Virginia Mason will operate its Virtual Care Clinic as part of its broader care continuum, reducing fragmentation, improving access and lowering costs.

About Virginia Mason Health System Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online: VirginiaMason.org

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving the Yakima Valley in Central Washington since 1950. Memorial online: YakimaMemorial.org

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509
gale.robinette@VirginiaMason.org