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The Doctor Will See You Now. . .Online
Date:11/24/2009

BREWER, Maine, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks to an innovative program recently developed between Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (EMHS) and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, some Anthem members in Bangor and Presque Isle can now "visit" their physician without leaving home.

As part of the pilot, Anthem members are able to send health related messages and questions and communicate via email with their provider about non-emergent issues, in addition to scheduling appointments, checking on test results, or requesting prescription refills.

"This program provides yet another way for individuals to interact with their physician for non-urgent health issues," said Iyad Sabbagh, M.D., lead physician at Husson Internal Medicine in Bangor. "We feel it will offer our patients greater ease of access to their doctor and help save time for both physician and patient."

According to Vincent Liscomb, Jr., Executive Director, Provider Engagement and Contracting, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, the initial phase of the program will involve primary care physicians PCPs at selected primary care practices at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Bangor and The Aroostook Medical Center (TAMC) in Presque Isle. "In addition to the added convenience," Liscomb notes, "members who choose to use the pilot will not have co-pays."

Liscomb adds that while the new service will benefit all patients, those who don't always have access to reliable transportation, college students, or people who live out of the state for part of the year, will find the program particularly helpful.

EMMC and TAMC - both members of EMHS - are also participating in a similar pilot with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Sabbagh said that EMHS staff has worked hard to develop a number of protocols to ensure the interactions are both secure and appropriate to a patient's treatment plan. "This program is
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