Virtual Care Employee FAQs
What is a video visit?
Video visits allow you to have a face-to-face encounter over streaming video for certain medical conditions (see list below). You can use your mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, as long as it has video camera streaming capabilities. Work-related injuries are not eligible for video visits using Houston Methodist Virtual Care.
What’s different between Houston Methodist Virtual Care and existing video visits?
Houston Methodist Virtual Care builds on video visits by offering non-emergent care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Houston Methodist is partnering with Amwell (American Well), an established provider in telehealth, to improve its existing virtual services. Video visits are staffed by Houston Methodist providers and Online Care Group providers from Amwell. You no longer have to call the Houston Methodist Primary Care Group for an appointment. Instead, you access video visits through the Houston Methodist Virtual Care app.
Where do I find the Houston Methodist Virtual Care app?
The app is available for free in the IOS and Android app stores.
What is the cost of a Houston Methodist Virtual Care visit?
Houston Methodist Virtual Care is free for employees and their family members insured by the Houston Methodist Medical Plan. During set up, simply select HM Employee Medical Plan from the drop-down on the Insurance Screen in the About You section, then enter your Member ID from your Houston Methodist insurance card in the appropriate section (Subscriber ID). Once this information is entered, there is no need to enter a coupon code. If you already have an account with Houston Methodist Virtual Care, simply select HM Employee Medical Plan from the drop-down on the Insurance Screen, and enter your Member ID in the appropriate section (Subscriber ID) of this screen. When asked for a coupon code, just skip this section. You will see a charge of $0 reflected. Employees not insured by the Houston Methodist Medical Plan are welcome to use the service for a fee of $50.
Who is eligible for Houston Methodist Virtual Care?
At first this service will only be available to Houston Methodist employees and family members who are insured by the Houston Methodist medical plan. Employees not insured through Houston Methodist are welcome to use the service by paying the service fee of $50. The service will expand to corporate partners in the near future and eventually to patients everywhere.
My friend or family member needs to see a provider in the middle of the night and is not covered by Houston Methodist insurance. There’s no harm in sharing my information with them so they can be seen, is there?
Houston Methodist is paying for video visits for employees and family members insured by Houston Methodist. Please do not share your identity or insurance information with anyone for a video visit. This could lead to disciplinary action. Refer to HR01 for further information.
Is there an age limit for patients to utilize this service?
Yes, you must be at least 18 years of age to establish an account with Houston Methodist Virtual Care. Providers can see insured family members as young as 2 years of age. If you cover a dependent 18 or older, he or she will need to establish an account on their own.
What if my child is under 2?
Call your pediatrician or visit our urgent care partner, Next Level Urgent Care.
You can use Houston Methodist Virtual Care, too. But there will be a $50 fee for using the service.
Will the way I access a provider for a video visit change?
Yes. You no longer call Houston Methodist Primary Care Group for an appointment. Employees, covered spouses and covered dependents 18 and older are encouraged to download the free Houston Methodist Virtual Care app from IOS and Android app stores to their smart phones, which is necessary to access a video visit. Enroll before you get sick so you can quickly access video visits when you need them.
Why do I need to download the app before I get sick?
By downloading the app and enrolling for the service now, you’ll be able to access a provider much faster when you actually need one.
While registering with the Houston Methodist Virtual Care app on my iPhone or other IOS device, I’m prompted to sync data from other health apps via Apple HealthKit. Do I need to do this?
Who are the providers who’ll see me in Houston Methodist Virtual Care?
Houston Methodist providers and the Online Care Group providers from Amwell.
Is there a difference between Houston Methodist providers and Online Care Group providers?
No. Employees can expect the same high quality clinical expertise and excellent patient experience regardless of what provider they see.
Will I be able to visit my regular physician via Houston Methodist Virtual Care?
No. Houston Methodist Virtual Care is intended to provide non-emergent care at any time, on demand. While you can select the provider you see, not all providers participate. Your regular physician may offer video visit services for established patients, but that is not available through this service. Please contact your physician and ask if he or she can see you via video visit. You will be instructed on how to access that service. A regular office copay would apply when seeing your regular physician.
I have an established relationship with a Houston Methodist Primary Care Group provider. Can I see my provider using this service?
No. Houston Methodist Virtual Care is specifically for employees to address non-emergent needs in a timely manner and to provide an alternative to time away from work or use of the emergency room. If you would prefer to see your established provider, please call the HMPCG Scheduling Center at 713.394.6724.
I need a primary care physician (PCP). Can I use Houston Methodist Virtual Care instead?
Houston Methodist Virtual Care is intended for non-emergent, urgent care needs. It is a great solution when you need to see a provider quickly, but should not replace your primary care physician for ongoing wellness. To schedule an in-office visit with a PCP, please contact the Houston Methodist Primary Care Group Scheduling Center at 713.394.6724.
Will I get to choose the provider when I use this service?
When you start your video visit, you will be given the opportunity to select from a list of physicians and advance practice providers who are available at that moment. It provides each provider's specialty, making is easy to find a pediatrician if you are seeking care for a child. Each physician has a brief background that can be viewed before selecting that provider. Depending on day or time, they may include Houston Methodist providers and Online Care Group providers from Amwell. Houston Methodist providers when available will be at the top of the list.
How do I schedule a video visit?
Video visits aren’t scheduled. They are available on demand through the Houston Methodist Virtual Care app.
Do I need to bring anything for my video visit?
Please have your medication list ready for your visit.
Will my regular doctor have access to my video visit information?
A Continuity of Care Document will be sent to your MyChart account in Epic. Your doctor will be able to see that document if they are a Houston Methodist provider.
Can I get a prescription?
A provider will recommend the best treatment for your condition, which may include a prescription if necessary. Chronic pain cannot be treated with controlled drugs, such as narcotic pain medications, via video visit.
How long does a video visit last?
Video visits typically last around 10-15 minutes.
Is the app secure?
Houston Methodist Virtual Care uses secure, encrypted technologies that comply with all HIPAA regulations to keep your patient information secure.
I took part in a Houston Methodist Virtual Care visit expecting to get a prescription for an antibiotic, but didn’t. Why?
We all want to get better as quickly as possible when we’re under the weather. However, most upper respiratory infections (sore throat/pharyngitis, colds, bronchitis and sinusitis) are viral in nature and will not respond to antibiotics. Our providers will decide whether or not your symptoms require antibiotics based on their clinical knowledge and will also recommend and/or prescribe treatments to help your symptoms.Learn more about appropriate antibiotic use.
I took part in a Houston Methodist Virtual Care and was referred to see a provider in person. Why?
Virtual care visits are ideal for non-emergent conditions. However, if your provider determines your condition is too complex, requires in-person testing or examination, or is not suited to be treated via video, he or she may ask you to see another provider in person. This in-person referral is done for your safety.
Can I use Houston Methodist Virtual Care while I’m traveling?
Yes. Once you log into your account, you will be prompted to answer questions regarding your current location. Complete the information, including your preferred area pharmacy, and a provider can see you while you are away from home. This service is limited to the United States.
Video Visit Conditions Treated
- Back/neck Strain
- Cold sores
- Cold or flu
- Minor skin infections
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pink or red eyes
- Sinus infections
- Sore throats
- Upper respiratory infections
- Urinary tract infections (women only)
- Vaginal yeast infections