What is virtual care?
Virtual care enables health care when you and the doctor aren’t in the same place at the same time, such as:
- Talk to your doctor live by phone or video (video visits are often called “telehealth”)
- Sending and receiving messages from your doctor
- Allowing your doctor to check your vitals at home (called remote monitoring)
Benefits of virtual care include:
- Reducing everyone’s exposure to COVID-19
- Addressing health issues wherever you are, even from the comfort of home
- Avoiding commuting, travel in bad weather, time off from work, need for child care
- Shorter wait times to see your primary care provider
- Expanding access to specialists 
Why telehealth matters for community health centers
Community Health Centers provide high-quality, affordable, accessible care to all, regardless of ability to pay, insurance coverage or immigration status. At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, health centers rapidly switched to providing care to their patients through virtual care.
AHC member health center patients, when surveyed, reported high levels of satisfaction with virtual care across race, ethnicity and age groups:
- Survey results showed health center patients were better able to get the care they needed, when they needed it.
- The same surveys showed that the vast majority of health center patients prefer and use phone visits (audio only) as the primary virtual care modality.
- This is because video visits (“telehealth”) require internet connections, devices and technological capabilities that are often less accessible to health center patient populations.
As a result, health centers seek continued reimbursement for providing virtual care, including audio-only telephonic care and e-consults, beyond the public health emergency.
- Los Angeles Times: Op-ed: Telephone Visits With Doctors Work by La Clinica & West Oakland Health Clinicians
- California Health Care Foundation Issue Brief: How California’s Health Centers Adapted During the Pandemic
- CDC Report: Telehealth Use in Health Centers During the Pandemic
- Telehealth & COVID-19: Debunking Myths
- Telehealth & COVID-19: How to Protect & Expand Telehealth Coverage in California
- Laws & Reimbursement Policies
- Telehealth & Children
- Insure the Uninsured Fact Sheet
Click images below to see why some of our providers are thankful for telehealth.