MedCall Healthcare Advisors Frequently Asked Questions
Who is MedCall Healthcare Advisors?
MedCall Healthcare offers MedCallAssist™ as the only mobile health service that accepts emergency and non-emergency calls without members having to schedule an appointment or wait for a physician call back.
MedCall’s primary objective is to increase access to healthcare and reduce costs for groups, associations, individuals, families. It is the also the first non-insurance health care plan that includes a prescription medical plan or a customized Medical Kit allowing their physicians to solve hundreds of the most common ailments without members having to leave their home or office.
Eric Stirling, M.D. is the Chief Medical Director with more than 25 years experience through thousands of MedCalls and MedKits bringing patients immediate, direct care by a physician over the telephone or Internet.
The idea for MedCall started with helping people in remote situations who lacked access to emergency care. The service has gradually moved to groups, companies, self-insured groups, families and individuals who lived in urban areas. Over the years working in emergency medicine Dr. Stirling saw more than 100,000 patients come into the ER seeking medical help for things like minor lacerations or infections when easier, less expensive treatments were available. He always regretted when these patients received a large bill for these services and was determined to find a way of helping patients get advice on their medical conditions without exorbitant health care costs.
What is Mobile Health (mHealth)?
mHealth (also written as m-health or mobile health) is a term used for the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices. The term is most commonly used in reference to using mobile communication devices, such as mobile phones, tablet computers and PDAs, for health services and information. MedCall has taken this to a whole new level with integrating prescription medications and emergency medical transportation.
What is Telemedicine? Telemedicine is physician guidance over web or phone, based on the patient’s medical history. This emerging field of medicine is also referred to as Telehealth or Telecare. Since MedCall is the only service that accepts Emergency Calls, we are considered a Tele-Triage Service.
The American Telemedicine Association, formally defines it as the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.
Who can become a member?
The standard health care plans are designed for everyone two years and older. All pre-existing conditions are accepted without restriction. All associations and industries are welcome. We are accepting memberships in all 48 states. Service is currently not available to residents of Texas or South Carolina.
What Services do you offer?
MedCall – Immediate access to U.S. based emergency trained board certified physician without appointment or physician call back 24-7.
MedKit – A prescription medical kit personalized and prescribed for each member.
Are these services meant to replace the primary care physician?
MedCall’s services do not replace the need for a Primary Care Physician. The services are designed to improve access to health care. When necessary the member will be instructed to follow-up with their Primary Care Physician or an emergency or urgent care provider. Your MedCall’s medical records are HIPAA compliant and can be electronically accessed by approved medical professionals to continue your care when appropriate.
How does a member sign up?
For individuals and households you complete your membership application and submit. Choose a product and follow the easy order process online.
Are there age restrictions for who can be a member?
Standard health care plans are designed for ages two and up.
Can all my family members use the service?
We offer family household accounts covering up to 5 members living at the same location. There are no relationship requirements so friends and family are accepted under the same household account.
What happens after member enrollment?
You will receive a Welcome email and a phone call. If you qualify for the purchase of a MedKit, you will be asked to complete a Medical History. If you plan to use your smartphone for access you will need to visit the App store and download the “MedCallAssist” app. Your account is activated within 24 hours of enrollment.
Do you have to be a US Citizen to enroll?
No. All US residents who enroll have immediate access to U.S. based emergency trained board certified physicians.
How are members medical records maintained?
All records are stored in a HIPAA compliant patient management portal limiting access to authorized health professionals or the individual member.
What does HIPAA Compliant Mean?
HIPAA stands for the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996” Visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website for the official guidelines to HIPAA.
Can a member access their personal medical records?
All members will have access to their medical records 24 hours a day. Members have the ability to print, save or electronically send via email their medical records. Inactive member’s medical records including health information are stored for a limited amount of time and then deleted.
What if a member has a preexisting health condition?
Pre-existing conditions are accepted. Members include their medical condition when completing their health records and the physician will review them prior or during consultation.
How many members are included in a household account?
Five household members are included for each household account. An additional $10 per month is charged for additional members above five.
What if a household member moves to college? Are they still part of the household?
As long as the member has the same address as the primary account holder’s address, they are still considered a member of the household. Members may acquire additional MedKits at a discounted rate for household members traveling or living abroad.
When should a member make a MedCall?
Any time a member needs medical attention they should call MedCallAssist. Our physicians are specifically trained to take both Emergency and Non-emergency calls. Call MedCallAssist First™ and in a few minutes know what the doctor recommends. If there is a life-threatening emergency the member should always call 911, and it’s recommended they also make the MedCall if they are able. Having the doctor’s guidance throughout the process can help the emergency personnel make more rapid decisions. Time is of essence in an emergency situation and having immediate access to a licensed physician saves lives.
What conditions are treated?
The member can call with any condition. If the member thinks they need to see a doctor, they should make the MedCall. If a specific condition or situation requires a specialist for further or immediate evaluation the MedCall team of physicians and health professionals will assist the member in understanding their next steps in continuing quality health care the member needs.
The most common conditions include:
Cold & Flu Symptoms
Poison Ivy & Oak
Ointments & Creams
Urinary Tract Infections
Must a member file a claim with their insurance carrier before or after making a MedCall?
No. MedCallAssist services are not regulated under insurance guidelines. The member’s consultation is recorded, documented and available for the members to share with their other health practitioners.
Where are the physicians located?
All Physicians are licensed under the laws required in each state. In most cases, your physician will be a resident in your state but in the event one is not available, we would utilize physicians in neighboring states who hold secondary state licenses. The physicians are not required to work for a specific office or location. They make themselves available during assigned shifts.
Does the physician review the member’s medical history before consultation?
Yes. The member’s medical history is available for the physician to review prior or during the medical consultation. When the call is made the physician receives on his monitor the member’s health information so they can immediately deliver the appropriate health care. If the physician has questions regarding medical history or if the patient has not completed the patient portal, the physician will ask the appropriate questions.
What happens when I make the call?
When you call, a live-coordinator will quickly verify your identity in the MedCall patient database. After verification you will immediately be connected with an emergency trained, board-certified physician who is licensed in your State. The physician will be your first consultation, and when appropriate will write a prescription for you and call it in to the pharmacy you choose.
Your Identification is linked to your phone number in our database and it automatically links to the appropriate health records. Your records are presented on the call coordinator’s monitor immediately on call pick-up. This information will then stay with your call as you are connected with the physician.
Do I have to set an appointment to speak to a physician?
All calls are accepted without appointment. The call coordinator will verify your membership and connect you with an emergency trained physician within minutes. The average connection time is under two minutes when a member calls from a registered.
Can a member make a MedCall from anywhere?
Yes. The member may call the physician without appointment from anywhere in the world that a member can access a telephone line or Internet connection to make the MedCall.
When a member travels outside the United States, do they call the same number?
Yes, enter US country code first, 001 before the toll free number. For example Dial 001-1800-xxx-xxxx When possible, Members should notify us when they are traveling abroad.
Is there a cost per call?
It depends on which MedCall plan you subscribe to. We offer monthly programs with unlimited access and no consultation charges. We also offer group plans wherein plan participants may be required to pay a small consultation fee. A member can call any time of day or night.
Does the physician have a time limit on member consultations?
No. The physicians have no time restrictions while consulting members. The average member spends 15 minutes consulting with the MedCallAssist physician.
How many times can a member call?
A member may call for any medical reason. There is no set limit to the number of times the member can make a medical call and speak with a physician over the phone or web. The physician will give specific orders at the end of the consultation and in most cases members receive follow-up calls to assure the member is receiving the care they need when they need it.
Will a member always speak with the same physician when they call?
The member may or may not speak to the same physician. When MedCall physicians are off shift another emergency trained and licensed physician is on call and will have immediate access to the previous physician’s notes, recommendations and prescriptions. In addition, call coordinators are always on staff organizing and orchestrating the follow-up activities with every member to assure a high level of care when the member needs it.
What is MedKit?
The MedKit is a customized, non-narcotic based prescription medical kit. It is the same medical kit that our emergency trained physicians would bring with them on a house call.
Hundreds of common ailments and medical situations are solved immediately by using the “MedCall” in conjunction with the “MedKit”. All group plans that include a “MedKit” include free prescription refills, further reducing utilization costs of more expensive health insurance. Medkits cost between $85 and $135 depending on what the doctor determines will go into your kit.
How can you ship a prescription medical kit if the doctor has not seen the patient in person?
Before a prescription MedKit is shipped, each member completes a health information questionnaire, is spoken to by a MedCallAssist health practitioner, and reviewed by a MedCallAssist physician. Some states require a video consultation before prescriptions can be written.
How much does it cost to refill a prescription used from the MedKit?
There is no cost. When you subscribe to the MedKit for $10 per month, your refills are free. When you make a MedCall and the physician prescribes from the MedKit, a refill of that prescription will be sent to the member a few days after the call to assure the MedKit is complete and ready for the next MedCall.
What happens when prescriptions in the MedKit expire?
Prescriptions in the MedKit expire two years after the MedKit is prescribed. Prior to expiration, the member will receive, at no charge, replacement prescription medication to help assure the MedKit is ready to assist the physician whenever required.
Can a member purchase additional MedKits?
Yes. Additional MedKits are sold at a discount to existing members. The most common reasons a member purchases additional MedKits are for putting them in RV’s, Boats, additional homes or remote offices, as well as for household members living abroad for a short period of time, like a college student.
How long does it take to receive the MedKit after the membership is activated?
A MedKit is shipped to the member only after the member, or primary member of the household, complete the basic health information. Once the basic health information is confirmed it can take two-to-three weeks for the member to receive their MedKit.
Can the MedKit be personalized for the member?
Yes, each MedKit can be personalized for a specific member. In addition to purchasing additional items for the kit, the MedKit may be personalized at no charge with items that best fit the member’s health needs as disclosed in their health records and prescribed by the physician.
A new member will receive a phone consultation with a health advisor prior to shipping the MedKit.
Is there a co-pay or deductible for using prescriptions within MedKit?
No. There is no co-pay or deductible when a when a physician prescribes the use of a prescription medicine from the MedKit.
What if a member already has full health insurance coverage?
MedCall’s health care plans were developed to reduce the overall cost of health insurance and to help members prevent the use of their required deductibles. The more times a member uses MedCall the less they’ll need to spend on the higher cost health care provided by insurance carriers.
Is a member required to have health insurance?
No. All services are provided without bias to those with health insurance or not.
Are these Health Care plans considered health Insurance?
No. All MedCall’s health care plans are non-insurance based health care plans developed by emergency trained physicians providing immediate high quality care for its members. If any re-imbursement is due to a member for MedCallAssist services from any entity including an insurance provider or tax agency, the member is responsible and should seek professional tax advice.
When a member makes the MedCall, it removes many of the barriers between the patient and the physician so they are focused on care, not setting appointments, driving to the doctor’s office or to the ER. In many cases the patient, if they are feeling sick or injured, can avoid driving to pick up a prescription and stay right where they are and rest. That’s because the MedCall and MedKit include treatments for hundreds of common ailments.
Prescription Policy Q&A
Can the doctor prescribe a prescription over the phone?
Yes. MedCallAssist physicians will prescribe medications over the telephone appropriate to the treatment recommended. Our MedKit includes the most common, non-narcotic prescriptions for the most common ailments.
Is the member guaranteed to receive a prescription over the phone?
MedCallAssist physicians will prescribe medications over the telephone appropriate to the treatment recommended. They will have a patient’s complete electronic medical history to help decide what medications to prescribe.
What prescriptions can the doctor prescribe?
Ask your MedCallAssist physician about certain medications at any time during your MedCall. Without face-to-face meeting the law does not allow prescriptions for controlled substances. The doctor is able to prescribe medications normally used in the course of their practice, and each MedCallAssist physician is emergency trained and will suggest medications appropriate to the treatment.
What if I need a narcotic prescription?
A MedCallAssist physician is not permitted by law to prescribe narcotic or controlled substances during the MedCall. If controlled substances or narcotics are necessary, your MedCallAssist emergency trained physician will immediately guide you according to your individual circumstances. Only non-narcotic prescriptions are included with your MedKit and are not covered under our complimentary replacement plan.
Can the physician refill my existing prescription?
MedCallAssist physicians can refill many existing prescriptions following a consultation and based on your medical health history. Simply make a MedCall and you will be speaking to talk to a doctor in moments.
How are prescriptions filled?
Following your MedCall consultation, a prescription will be sent to the pharmacy of your choice closest to you for you to pick up as soon as they can prepare the medications.
Do you offer a prescription discount program?
Yes, you will receive a WellDyne RX Card if you do not purchase a MedKit. Prescriptions are included with MedKit and are then replenished automatically at no charge to the customer after use, and automatically before they expire. There are no fees for prescription refills or replacement for members with an active subscription of a health plan that includes MedKit.
How do they prevent abuse of prescription drugs?
If a member takes a medication out of the MedKit without making a call to a physician, it will not be replaced at no charge as it was not prescribed. We make our service available immediately so we can make sure the patient takes the appropriate medications and appropriate actions to heal well. If a member takes medication without consulting a physician their services may be terminated.
Does this replace my primary care physician?
No. We work closely with primary care physicians around the globe. We remove unnecessary office visits and help improve those that are necessary by deliver clear advice and even delivering updated health records for the physician the patient will see face-to-face when necessary.
I could not be more pleased with my Medcall experience. Not only has it saved me money but also the time it has saved me from sitting in an urgent care is priceless. Thank you Medcall for providing a doctor immediately at my fingertips to help resolve my medical issues.
Jason, Birmingham Member since 2013