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In the News: Offering Choice, Connection, and Convenience With Virtual Blue

Blue Shield of California's Medical Director of Innovation Acceleration, Nina Birnbaum, M.D. sat down with MedCity News to highlight the benefits of Blue Shield’s new virtual-first plan.
Nina Birnbaum
Dr. Nina Birnbaum

Dr. Nina Birnbaum, Blue Shield of California’s medical director for innovation acceleration and a practicing family physician, spoke with MedCity News about the nonprofit health plan’s latest offering: a virtual-first plan called Virtual Blue.

Here are excerpts from the article:

“What we’ve done is tied a really robust virtual-care offering to our Tandem [preferred provider organization] network, which is an in-person network that spans the entire state of California,” said Dr. Nina Birnbaum, medical director of innovation acceleration at the payer. “So, people can easily access virtual care through our virtual care partners for those benefits in primary care, specialty care and mental health. If they want or need at any time to be seen in person, they’ve got access to our team and PPO network across the state.”

Among the many benefits for members, Virtual Blue is a big step toward Blue Shield’s mission of ensuring all Californians have access to high-quality health care, notes Dr. Birnbaum.

“Our ultimate goal is to really increase access to everybody. It’s not just pure convenience. ‘Oh, I can get an appointment right now or in five minutes or in half an hour.’ It’s ‘I can get an appointment with someone who knows me, who can see my medical record, who can help me make judgments about what’s right for me.’ That kind of access we think is going to pay dividends to those individuals in terms of really improving their health.”

Read the full MedCity News article.