Back to articles

Adventist Health and Blue Shield Help Patients in Nine Northern California Communities Access Specialty Care from Specialists Using Telehealth Video Technology


3/5/2014 - Adventist Health and Blue Shield Help Patients in Nine Northern California Communities Access Specialty Care from Specialists Using Telehealth Video Technology 

Adventist Health and Blue Shield announced today a new telehealth initiative to help individuals and families in rural northern California communities to access specialty care in their area. Many patients in these regions currently drive long distances to seek specialty care due to a lack of local specialists. With this program, Blue Shield members can be diagnosed and treated by specialists from across the state through interactive video technology available at a local Adventist telehealth site. The telehealth collaboration will reduce travel time and expense for patients while increasing their access to high-quality care.

The program is targeted to Blue Shield individual and family plan customers, including those who purchased coverage through Covered California. Available specialties include cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology (diabetes), pulmonology, rheumatology (arthritis), orthopedics, infectious disease, nephrology, gastroenterology, general surgery and spine surgery. The specialists are Adventist Health physicians and are contracted in the Blue Shield network. A patient can be referred by their local primary physician or can self-refer, make an appointment through a centralized care coordination call center, and go to their local Adventist Health telehealth location for their office visit.

Participating Adventist Health telehealth sites are located in the following cities in Paradise, Clearlake, Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg, St. Helena, Napa, Sonora, and Dinuba. The member’s cost for a telehealth visit is the same as their plan’s co-pay/co-insurance amount for specialist visits with an in-network provider.

“Adventist Health’s telehealth program will help patients from rural areas across the region get access to the specialists they need,” said Gwen Matthews, CEO at Ukiah Valley Medical Center. “Patients will be able to get treated sooner, which ultimately can lead to better health outcomes,” said Rick Bockmann, CEO at Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital.

Each telehealth site is equipped with specialized interactive video technology which allows the patient to see, hear and interact with their specialist. A clinical coordinator in the office assists the patient and utilizes diagnostic equipment including an electronic stethoscope, vital signs monitor, and high definition camera to send accurate data, images and audio to the specialist during the visit. The visits are private and confidential, with the patient’s information encrypted and transmitted through a highly secure connection on the Adventist Health secure data network.

Blue Shield individual and family plan members interested in scheduling a telehealth visit should call 1-(866)-832-8218. Visit for more information.

About Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital and Ukiah Valley Medical Center

Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital and Ukiah Valley Medical Center are part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 28,900 includes more than 21,200 employees; 4,500 medical staff physicians; and 3,200 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 19 hospitals, more than 170 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies, six hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. We invite you to visit for more information.

About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with three million members, 5,000 employees and $10.5 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California provides health, life, dental, vision, and Medicare insurance and health care service plans in California. Blue Shield of California was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2012 and 2013. Since 2005, the company has contributed more than $200 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation, one of BusinessWeek's most generous corporate foundations. Contact your local agent or broker about Blue Shield of California products and services, or visit