L.A. Care Receives $200,000 Grant from Blue Shield of California Foundation to Improve Patient Access to Specialty Care

Nation’s largest publicly operated health plan expands eConsult program to enable better collaboration between primary care providers and specialists

LOS ANGELES – L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, announced that it was awarded a $200,000 grant from Blue Shield of California Foundation to further develop eConsult. 

eConsult is a web-based care coordination platform that enables primary care providers and specialists to securely share health information and discuss patient care, with the goal of providing the right treatment at the best place in the shortest amount of time.  eConsult results in reduced wait times for appointments and in many cases addresses the needs of the patient in the primary care setting, reducing the need for patients to see a specialist.

The grant funding will help support several eConsult initiatives:

  • Expand the program to serve additional patients
  • Increase the platform capabilities to support the new behavioral health benefit
  • Design a mobile “app” to further expand the virtual, anytime, anywhere nature of the platform for use by providers
  • Evaluate the impact of the platform on the local safety net

“L.A. Care’s eConsult platform reflects our commitment to improving access to quality health care for low-income residents throughout the county,” said Chief Executive Officer Howard A. Kahn.  “The safety net, the system that provides health care to the poor and uninsured, is overwhelmed with the volume of patients needing access to specialty care.  eConsult aims to ease this through technology.”

The eConsult platform is used by 2,300 primary care providers in 194 community clinic/health center sites across L.A. County that collectively serve 500,000 low-income individuals and families.  More than 30 different types of specialist physicians are available to review eConsults from primary care providers.

“Our initial support for the eConsult system has resulted in significant improvements in access to specialty care for historically underserved patients across L.A. County,” said Peter Long, Ph.D., President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation.  “This additional funding expands the successful model to more patients, and focuses this potentially game-changing innovation to better coordinate behavioral health care within the safety net.”

The eConsult program, which is the largest rollout of its type in the US, consists of the second largest public health care delivery system in the nation, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, and one of the largest safety net clinic associations in the state, Health Care L.A. Independent Physicians Association.  Also involved are MedPOINT Management and the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County.  L.A. Care provides major funding and management.

For more information about eConsult, visit www.econsultla.com.

About L.A. Care

L.A. Care Health Plan (Local Initiative Health Authority of Los Angeles County) is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of health coverage programs including L.A. Care Covered™Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan, L.A. Care Healthy Families, L.A. Care’s Healthy Kids, L.A. Care Health Plan Medicare Advantage HMO and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan.  L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net.  With more than 1.3 million members, L.A. Care is the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan.

About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state's largest and most trusted grantmaking organizations.  Its mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence.  For more information visit: www.blueshieldcafoundation.org.  Blue Shield of California Foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Shield Association.