MedLink Helps Improve Access to Care for a Federally Recognized Native American Tribe

An Underserved Population in Need

A Native American Tribe with a patient care population of 2,500 members needed telespecialists to help transition their care model from acute episodic care to “whole person” care. They needed rheumatologists, dermatologists, nephrologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, and pulmonologists. 

The reservation is in a financially distressed rural county, with the median household income well below neighboring counties. It’s been well documented that low-income individuals and those who live in depressed areas are much less likely to have access to quality healthcare and other supportive services. 

Their existing, committed staff was in the process of implementing electronic health records. They had installed a kiosk in their waiting room for Medicaid clients to sign up and update their own records. They had also invested in a telehealth cart in their exam rooms with an otoscope, stethoscope, EKG, ultrasound and camera. 

MedLink identified and recruited the necessary specialists in rheumatology, dermatology, nephrology, neurology, endocrinology, and pulmonology. With an internal database of over 25,000 physicians (including all sub-specialty areas), MedLink had already formed relationships with physicians who could help serve this community and was able to recruit others through email campaigns and social media outreach. 

Once specialists were identified, they went through a rigorous screening process to determine that they were suitable for performing tele-specialty consults for this very specific patient population. MedLink also screened physicians for the correct licenses and facilitated their credentialing. Once they were ready, MedLink also coordinated tele-visit training and onboarding with the Native American tribe. 

Specialty Recruitment Results

In less than 6 weeks, MedLink was able to successfully staff the Native American Tribe’s specialty clinic with 8 physicians. Those specialists were onboarded well within the goal time frame and are on their way to providing better access to care and “whole person” care to this underserved population.