ACA, TennCare signups eased with video service

The office of Dr. David Florence and the Center for Advanced Medicine in Manchester is currently the site in Coffee County for VTM Interactive Video Customer Services. The enrollment program uses live video chat to connect those looking for health insurance through the ACA Marketplace with a VTM medical service representative in Nashville. (Staff photo by Chris Barstad)

Coffee County now has access to a free health insurance enrollment program which makes finding and signing up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace or TennCare an easier task for those qualified. VTM Interactive Video Customer Services, a startup company based out of Nashville, has developed a mode of communication which brings healthcare expertise to rural communities. “In metro Nashville about 10 to 12 percent of people who come to hospitals are uninsured, whereas in Manchester it’s about 50 percent,” said Albert Ganier, CEO of VTM. “We are using this technology to bring the same expertise to the most isolated communities.” The enrollment program uses live video chat to connect those looking for health insurance with a VTM

The office of Dr. David Florence and the Center for Advanced Medicine in Manchester is currently the site in Coffee County for VTM Interactive Video Customer Services. The enrollment program uses live video chat to connect those looking for health insurance through the ACA Marketplace with a VTM medical service representative in Nashville. (Staff photo by Chris Barstad)

medical service representative in Nashville. The representatives are registered nurses who provide thorough, consistent in-formation about health care options. They assist in every step of the process from identifying qualification to filling out the application on www.healthcare.gov. “Navigating the website and filling out the application can be extremely frustrating for people,” said medical service representative Jenny Rustioni. “We’re here to help with that process.” VTM integrates the capacity to print and make transactions with video conferencing technology. “We wanted to create a complete, turnkey transaction that you would normally complete in person,” said Ganier. Right now, the insurance enrollment program can only be accessed in Coffee County through Dr. David Florence’s office, the Center for Advanced Medicine, in Manchester. However, those using the program do not have to be patients of Dr. Florence nor are they required to become his patients in the future. Florence also uses VTM’s pain management walkthrough to ensure that his own patients understand all aspects of their pain management including what to expect and patient responsibilities. The pain management walkthrough uses the same live chat format. Each session is recorded and people using the program are given a user ID and password to access their session online. This gives patients the opportunity to share the information with their family so that each person involved is knowledgeable about pain management guidelines. Ganier hopes to expand and better the technology within Tennessee and the U.S. “We know that this technology is scalable. In Tennessee we hope to work with 10 regional hospitals and their affiliates,” said Ganier. The flow of people through hospital emergency rooms is greater than the flow through individual physician offices and VTM hopes to reach as many people as possible. “Hospitals have the greatest incentive to get people insured because they have the greatest cost to bare. Seventy percent of TennCare money is spent on patient services in hospitals. It’s where the need is greatest,” said Ganier. VTM Senior Vice President Katie Malone Meador said, “If we can get into 10 or more hospitals we can really help identify people who can qualify for insurance.” Not everyone who is uninsured in Tennessee qualifies for health insurance through this program. The 280,000 Tennesseans living within the “cover-age gap,” those who do not qualify for TennCare but do not make enough money to qualify for government subsidized healthcare, would have been qualified had Insure Tennessee passed earlier this year. In order to qualify, an interested person must fall outside of the coverage gap. They will either qualify for TennCare or have access to the healthcare.gov Marketplace. The Marketplace is accessible to everyone during the open enrollment period from November to February. To receive access to the Marketplace outside of these months one must have experienced a major life change such as a loss of income, a move or a death in the family. Those interested in this insurance enrollment pro-gram can call the Center for Advanced Medicine at 728-5522 to make an appointment. It is located at 804 Keylon St. For more information about VTM and their healthcare technologies visit www.vtm2020.com.