​​Ensure patients know how to access after-hours care​

August 1, 2022

Under Independence Blue Cross's Professional Provider Agreement, all network providers are required to be available to provide or arrange for covered services on an emergency basis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We strongly encourage you to discuss after-hours access and weekend coverage with your patients, including the availability of urgent care centers and retail health clinics, to ensure they receive quality health care whenever the need arises.

As specified in the Independence Blue Cross Provider Manual, providers who use answering machines for after-hours service are required to include:

  • Urgent/emergent instructions as the first point of instruction
  • Information on contacting the covering physician
  • Telephone number for after-hours physician access

If an after-hours call is received for an urgent/emergent problem, you should respond within 30 minutes.

Please remind your patients to promptly contact you (as their primary provider or specialist) after a visit to the emergency room/department (ED), urgent care center, or retail health clinic to assess appropriate follow-up care. This is especially important for pediatric patients, elderly patients, and patients with chronic conditions.

All patients want to receive the best possible care. Helping your patients understand why it is critical for you to be informed of any visits to the ED, urgent care center, or retail health clinic will encourage open communication and support better health care outcomes.