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Milestone 7: Enhanced Access

Provision of enhanced access for patients 
 
Ideally we all want primary care providers to coordinate and help manage all of the care their patients receive, whether it’s in the primary care office or after hours in another setting. Patient-centered care also requires us to reorient the health care system so that it works around patients’ needs and preferences – even if that means they need care after hours, or want to talk about their health via e-mail rather than at an in-person visit. For that reason, offering expanded access is an essential part of the patient-centered care model.  
Expanding access for your patients doesn’t have to mean keeping your practice open 24-7. This page includes resources and guides to smart, efficient ways to make sure your patients can find the right care, at the right time, at the right setting.  
Resources: 
This comprehensive document reviews the ways providers can use e-mail, websites and phone to communicate with patients. It also discusses reimbursement for these communications, and the potential risks and benefits to patients and the provider practice. 
This book chapter from Suzanne Houck’s What Works describes ways providers can gauge demand and broaden capacity as needed, reaching equilibrium between the two. 
This quick list from the AMA describes methods to improve patients’ access to care, along with recommendations for service strategies that can enhance patient experience. 
This visit checklist for patients provides a starting point for their participation in the patient-centered care model. 
Welcome to Your Medical Home (Patient Brochure)  
This brochure for patients describes the basic elements of a medical home, what they should expect from their medical home, and gives a brief checklist of what to bring to appointments. Available in both English and Spanish.  
In this article from AAFP’s Family Practice Management, one physician recounts his experience researching, buying and launching a secure patient portal for secure e-mail messaging and e-visits with his patients. The author shares advice and things to consider when implementing a patient portal. 
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.