UC Davis Health has entered into a new agreement to provide pediatric telehealth services to the 14 Northern California counties that Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) serves, starting July 1, 2020.
PHC is a nonprofit, community-based, public health care organization that contracts with the State of California to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers. PHC covers Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo counties. PHC provides health care to some of California’s most vulnerable populations, which include low-income residents in rural counties, children, those with disabilities and the elderly.
“Health care is driven by patient needs and technology," said David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of human health sciences and CEO of UC Davis Health. “Video-enhanced health care is one lesson learned from COVID-19 – innovate with technology in a human-oriented way that best serves patients. We must provide care where patients want it, when they want it, how they want it, and this new partnership does exactly that for children in these counties.”
The telehealth services will connect providers in these counties with the expertise of UC Davis Health physicians in a range of more than 15 pediatric subspecialties.
“We are excited to partner with UC Davis to pilot specialty pediatric telehealth services,” said Elizabeth Gibboney, CEO of Partnership HealthPlan of California. “We serve some extremely rural communities that often have to travel long distances for care. Through this new telehealth partnership, not only will our vulnerable children’s population continue to receive high-quality care, but we hope to reduce the stresses and burdens faced by members and families seeking these services.”
The UC Davis Pediatric Telemedicine Program, the first of its kind in the United States, provides clinicians and patients with real-time remote consultation and evaluation through interactive, high-definition video and audio communication. Through enhanced video technology, patients will not have to leave their own community and can gain access to UC Davis Children’s Hospital specialists located hundreds of miles away. These telehealth consultations are a collaborative meeting between the primary care provider, specialist, and patient, strengthening the medical home.
“Access to pediatric subspecialists has been a major challenge in rural North California. Children and their families with special care needs often drive hundreds of miles to seek care. This includes children with diabetes mellitus, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, congenital heart disease and anomalies of the urinary bladder and kidneys,” said Satyan Lakshminrusimha, physician-in-chief at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “This contract aims to deliver this care to these children in their own community by pediatric subspecialists at UC Davis Children’s Hospital through telemedicine.”
This initiative is part of a goal set by David Lubarsky, vice chancellor and CEO of UC Davis Health, and State Senator Richard Pan to create a “virtual children’s hospital” to cater to the needs of all children in Northern California.
"I applaud the agreement between UC Davis Children's Hospital and Partnership Health Plan of California to provide telehealth access to pediatric subspecialty care at clinics in 14 rural Northern California counties. Children in rural communities will gain access to subspecialty care while this arrangement is an important economic development opportunity for Sacramento as UC Davis further develops our region's telehealth leadership," said Richard Pan, pediatrician and State Senator representing the Sacramento region in the California Legislature.
Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) is a nonprofit community based health care organization that contracts with the state to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers to ensure Medi-Cal recipients have access to high-quality comprehensive cost-effective health care. PHC provides quality health care to approximately 550,000 individuals. Beginning in Solano County in 1994, PHC now provides services to 14 Northern California counties — Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo.
UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children’s surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit children.ucdavis.edu.