CareFirst to Invest $3 Million in Telemedicine Initiatives Increasing Access to Care

Company accepting grant proposals for use of telemedicine to address health disparities

Baltimore, MD (October 12, 2015) - CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) plans to award up to $3 million over the next three years to programs aimed at increasing patients’ access to quality health care services through the use of telemedicine in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

In an effort to remove barriers to care and address existing health outcome disparities in its service area, CareFirst has issued a request for proposals from qualified nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations, or public (governmental) entities seeking funding for innovative programs using telemedicine to improve access to health care and increase efficiency.

Proposals must be submitted online via the Expanding Access to Medical Care through Telemedicine Application and must be completed no later than Nov. 23, 2015. CareFirst will provide additional information during a pre-application webinar on Oct. 26. Proposals should focus on telemedicine interactions between provider and patient.

“While increased utilization of telecommunication technology has enabled health care providers to better evaluate, diagnose and treat patients remotely, geographic disparities in Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia remain,” said Maria Tildon, CareFirst Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs. “Barriers including access to providers, lack of transportation and others, should not prevent those in need from receiving quality health care, and this investment will directly impact the underserved communities in our region lacking adequate health care services.”

CareFirst has previously contributed more than $1.3 million to support the use of telemedicine in its service area. In 2013, CareFirst issued an RFP on the use of telemedicine to expand access to behavioral health services in underserved rural and urban communities. Organizations receiving funding include Associated Catholic Charities, Atlantic General Hospital, Sheppard Pratt Health System and La Clinica del Pueblo.

About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
In its 78th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2014, CareFirst contributed nearly $55 million to more than 300 community programs designed to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com or follow us on Twitter.