In this section:
Virtual Care Center
We designed Texas Health's Virtual Care Center to make consumer interactions with the system fast and seamless as well as connect callers to sources within the Texas Health ecosystem. Care center agents:
- Direct consumers to information, resources, classes, physicians on the medical staffs and services across the system.
- Help schedule radiology services and select classes.
- Provide Help Desk support for MyChart and other online tools.
- Make post-discharge connections with patients who have been discharged from a Texas Health hospital to assure a seamless transition to home.
- Scheduled 224,967 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations through the Virtual Care Center, addressed 26,944 calls to the COVID-19 hotline and shared test results with 98,650 individuals.
MyChart is an online portal that allows consumers to access medication records, test results, upcoming appointments, medical bills and more in one place. Available in English and Spanish, consumers can:
- Assess COVID-19 symptoms.
- Electronically complete registration paperwork and check-in for procedures and office visits.
- Electronically provide and sign consent to procedures, medications and other treatments.
- Communicate with physicians and request prescription refills.
- View test and lab results, medical records, physician notes and immunization history.
- View and compare costs of various procedures.
- Coordinate follow-up care.
- Assign a proxy to make healthcare decisions on their behalf or give parental access to their minor children's files.
- Pay their bills and sign up for paperless billing.
- Complete financial assistance request forms.
- Enabled 1 million consumers to check in electronically, access documentation and sign agreements through MyChart. We also enhanced the portal to:
- Enable Texas Health Physicians Group patients to schedule appointments; and created aa "Fast Pass" feature to notify patients of cancellations so they can see providers sooner.
- Immediately release all but sensitive lab results.
- Send text reminders for appointments; which also allows patients to cancel or reschedule by text.
- Allow patients to upload or access COVID-19 vaccination records if received at Texas Health.
- Launched a new app to notify consumers about receiving vaccinations from our mobile health units.
- Enabled consumers to receive appointment reminders and reschedule via text.
Consumers who need emergency care are likely to be readmitted if they do not follow care plans or manage unexpected complications after discharge. The lack of follow-up and communication, prolongs recovery and increases costs – not only for patients, but for Texas Health. To provide additional support to patients who are often stressed and distracted when discharged, Texas Health's Hospital2Home virtual care program provides free support for seven days.
Patients can consult with an emergency department physician from the comfort of their homes using a mobile app where they can text or video chat to get their questions answered, receive a medical consult regarding ongoing symptoms or get help scheduling follow-up care.
- Expanded use of the free Hospital2Home app for consumers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to virtually consult with a Texas Health Physicians Group doctor to assess the need for testing or treatment. By the end of 2021, 27,306 consumers had registered to use the app and 15,526 had consulted with a physician. We will continue to make enhancements to the app to support our consumers’ needs.
Flexible Payment System
With consumer out-of-pocket healthcare costs rising and more people participating in high-deductible insurance plans, Texas Health helps consumers estimate costs and arrange payment plans to lessen the burden of paying for care. To ease the process, we created a payment portal that allows consumers to:
- Manage payment plans based on reasonable monthly amounts, depending on the balance due and the timeframe they need to pay off their debt. We also offer short-term minimal payment options, such as $25 per month for three months. We do not engage in aggressive collection tactics, such as suing patients, garnishing wages or placing liens on homes or other property.
- Pause or skip payments due to financial hardship. They also can meet with financial counselors to identify alternative coverage options, file applications for Medicaid eligibility, and help those who qualify for financial assistance mitigate part or all their out-of-pocket costs.
- Consolidate bills into one payment plan and for multiple services performed in our wholly-owned hospitals so that consumers can make just one payment a month.
- Access statements virtually to reconcile balances with an insurer's benefits in a side-by-side view. Statements are provided in multiple languages.
- Receive support through expanded customer service hours via chat messaging or email. We monitor feedback daily, proactively answer questions and help consumers navigate the portal.
- Enhanced our payment portal to optimize customer service and allow consumers to:
- Complete financial application forms online and access statements electronically.
- Make payments for up to 60 months for high balances, up from 36 months.
Determining the cost of healthcare can be complicated. Texas Health developed an online tool to help consumers estimate out-of-pocket costs to make it easier. By visiting TexasHealth.org/Cost or the MyChart app, consumers can search cost estimates for up to 300 procedures and services. They can enter their insurance or other coverage information to estimate out-of-pocket costs for the service and facility selected.
With more cost transparency, consumers can make more informed decisions about their healthcare and be better prepared for the financial impact of services provided.