Telehealth offers both promises and challenges related to health care quality, patient experience, and health outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred increasing use of telehealth, leading to greater access to care for people who may experience barriers getting to a provider’s office. Yet, the pandemic also illuminated a digital divide that can lead to inequitable use of telehealth and access to its benefits, particularly for people served by Medicaid.

This panel discussion, made possible by The Commonwealth Fund, explored policy- and practice-level strategies to increase access to telehealth for people who face challenges getting to a provider’s office, including patients in rural and frontier areas and individuals living in under-resourced communities.

Strengthening Primary Care through Medicaid Managed Care

This panel discussion is part of a learning series from the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), Strengthening Primary Care through Medicaid Managed Care, which is examining the tools and levers that states can use to advance comprehensive primary care strategies and equitably improve the health of Medicaid enrollees. The series is made possible by The Commonwealth Fund.

YouTube video


I. Welcome

Speaker: Greg Howe, Senior Program Officer, CHCS
G. Howe welcomed participants and introduced speakers.

II. Panelist Introductions

Each of the panelists gave a brief overview of their work:

  • Sachin Shah, MD, Associate Chief Medical Information Officer, University of Chicago Medicine, discussed opportunities to advance health equity through new telehealth policies and practices that took off amid the pandemic.
  • Jenny Azzara, MM, Senior Director, Performance Improvement & Organizational Development, Community Care Cooperative, highlighted the Massachusetts FQHC Telehealth Consortium, which supported member health centers to implement telehealth during the pandemic.
  • Chelsea Bodnar, MD, MPhil, FAAP, CEO, Montana Pediatrics, shared experiences using telehealth to increase access to pediatric patients living in rural and frontier areas.
  • Christopher Chen, MD, MBA, Medical Director, Washington Health Care Authority, shared Washington State’s work to improve telehealth access for its Medicaid population.        

III. Moderated Discussion and Q&A

G. Howe moderated a panel discussion and facilitated an audience Q&A session.
C. Chen served as a reactor to share a state Medicaid perspective.

IV. Wrap Up and Next Steps

G. Howe summarized the webinar and previewed upcoming sessions.