What is Virtual Primary Care at FOLX?

Learn more about health care via telehealth, or virtual primary care, and how it works with LGBTQIA-expert affirming primary health care providers at FOLX.

September 5, 2023
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Figuring out how to get supportive health care can be overwhelming, especially for those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community who have been excluded by traditional medical systems. Finding the right clinician, with availability, can seem impossible, especially when so many of us have had negative experiences with doctors in the past. FOLX provides expert LGBTQIA+ care from the comfort of your home and is there when you need us.

What is virtual primary care?

Imagine getting medical care, prescriptions, and expert health support without the hassle of waiting rooms, the fear of being dead named or misgendered in a clinic, and without having to wait months for an appointment. Virtual primary care delivers services through online platforms, giving patients the safety, flexibility, and convenience they've always wanted.

FOLX offers virtual primary care and more. Learn more about what healthcare services we offer and how we might help you meet your health needs.

Why choose FOLX as your primary care provider? 

LGBTQIA+ people sometimes have difficulty finding a provider who is sensitive and knowledgeable about our unique health care needs. At FOLX, we have clinicians who get you, with no judgment, and are up-to-date on important LGBTQIA+ relevant science and medical options. We are experts in what we do, plus over 80% of our clinicians are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, too. 

You can typically make an appointment with a FOLX clinician within a few days. We offer visits not just during the day, but on evenings and weekends too, all from the privacy of your own space. Also, FOLX clinicians can be your designated primary care provider (PCP) on your insurance card if you need to designate one.

What types of primary care can I get at FOLX? 

With virtual primary care at FOLX, we care for your whole self. You can get preventive health care, ongoing management of chronic conditions, illness care, and more. Here are some examples of what our clinicians can help with in your primary care visit:

  • Gender-affirming hormone therapy
  • General wellness visits
  • Mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or sleep issues
  • Chronic condition management (thyroid disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more)
  • Treatment for illness
  • Sexual and reproductive health care (UTIs, STI testing, birth control, fertility consultations, and more)

If there is something we can’t treat via telehealth, we can refer you to specialists or in-person care from our extensive network of affirming providers. Even if you have a condition that requires in-person appointments, we can still help collaborate and navigate the health care system with you. 

How it works at FOLX

At FOLX, you pay a monthly membership fee of $39.99 or an annual payment of $299 (a 38% discount). You then pay for clinical services only when you need them (visits, meds, and labs). If you have in-network insurance with us, you can use that to help cover the cost of visits. Your insurance may also help cover the cost of medications or labs.

As a member you get access not only to clinical care, but also to our LGBTQIA-expert care team, our national LGBTQIA-vetted referral network, and support navigating your care. You also get access to letter-writing services (for name and gender marker changes, and surgery), and discounts to other brands (like fertility services and gender diverse clothing.)

Another part of membership is our FOLX Community Platform where you can connect with folks in the community, access resources, and join events and support groups. 

 

Frequently asked questions about virtual primary health care

What are the benefits of virtual primary care?

Care services via telehealth mean convenience, accessibility, and safety. We know many folks live far from an LGBTQIA-friendly health center. We also know that transportation can cause barriers to getting quality in-person health care. Virtual primary care is available on your time, where you live.

What if I need blood work, labs drawn, or radiology?

Your FOLX clinician can help you get any labs or imaging studies (x-rays) for primary care or other health problems. Your clinician can order most labs, x-rays, make referrals, and otherwise create various care plans with you and your local resources.

When do I need to see an in-person clinician?

While many medical visits do not require a comprehensive, detailed physical exam, some situations are better suited to seeing someone in person. Sometimes, we may want someone to listen to your heart or lungs, look in your ears, or do a more comprehensive physical exam.

Situations like severe pneumonia, concerns about serious heart conditions, or certain orthopedic conditions might require a referral to an in-person evaluation. We are knowledgeable about what we can and cannot do. If we need a local in-person evaluation, we can help you connect with the appropriate resources and referrals. Your well-being and safety is our priority.

How do I stay in contact with my clinician if I have a question after? 

After a visit, you can message your care team anytime with any questions regarding lab results, medications, or care with us via your Athena Patient Portal. Some simple questions can be answered through exchanging messages with your care team. Other questions may require scheduling a video visit to discuss your issue more in-depth with your clinician.

If you have questions about account management, billing, shipping, lab issues, scheduling, referrals, and letters, please get in touch with our Member Navigators via the Help Center. (For LGBTQ resources, you can also reach out to our Member Navigators via the Help Center!)

How do I book an appointment?

Once you join FOLX, you can book an appointment anytime right from your FOLX account.

Does my primary care doctor have to live in my state?

FOLX can provide care across the US to all our members since we have licensed clinicians (including doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives) in all 50 states. When filling out your intake form, input your current address where you live so we can make sure your provider is legally authorized to provide care in that state.

Also, make sure you are in the state that matches your current address at the time of your appointment. Let us know if you are traveling or moving states and need care! You can always reach out to our Member Navigators, who can help you continue to access FOLX care.

Where do my medications get sent after my virtual primary care visit?

You can have your prescriptions sent to a local or delivery pharmacy of your choice. If you have insurance, you can often use it to help pay for your medications. For select medications, such as those commonly prescribed for gender-affirming hormone therapy, you can also choose delivery from the FOLX partner pharmacy. You'll select your pharmacy on intake and can change it in your account anytime.

Can I use health insurance for my virtual primary care visit?

If you're using health insurance, you can input your insurance information in your FOLX account or when you book an appointment to check your eligibility. FOLX accepts some in-network insurance plans for visits. You may be able to use your insurance (whether or not it is in-network with us) to cover medications as well (check with your insurance for exact coverage).

If you do not have insurance, we have discounted rates for labs and medications whenever possible. You can review fees for services on our website, visit the Help Center FAQs, or reach out to our Member Navigators for questions about pricing and membership.

How do I prepare for my visit?

To prepare for your virtual primary care visit, find a quiet and private space. Make sure you have a stable internet connection with good wifi or a strong cell signal. Test out Zoom if you've never used it. You may have filled out your medical history beforehand. Having it pulled up for reference during the visit is still helpful. Be sure to have this information ready and a list of medications and symptoms or concerns you'd like to discuss.

Do I need any medical devices?

If you have a blood pressure cuff/monitor, blood glucose meter (glucometer), thermometer, scale, or any other device that could provide useful health information, have that equipment ready for the visit. If you don’t have these, that’s okay! If it is a necessary part of your care, your FOLX clinician can help you obtain the medical equipment you need.

What do I talk to my clinician about?

It's often helpful to have a list of concerns and symptoms ready to discuss ahead of time. Be ready to clearly explain any symptoms or health concerns you have. Consider writing them down ahead of time so you remember everything. Keep in mind that you may not be able to address all your health concerns in a single visit, so start with the issues that concern you most. Prioritize your top 1-2 health concerns to make sure they get discussed during your visit. You can always schedule a follow-up visit.

FOLX is a safe and non-judgmental medical and mental health space. Please understand that we can give you the best advice and recommendations if we truly understand your medical issues, needs, and certain aspects of your personal situation. During the visit, be open and honest with your clinician. Even though you're not in the same physical space, it's important to communicate as if you are. After the visit, make sure you understand the next steps, whether that's a follow-up appointment, tests, or a new medication regimen.

Do I have to be on camera during my video visit?

Some studies show that video communication is associated with higher patient understanding and satisfaction compared with telephone communication. However, we are here to work with you in your health care journey and decisions to make you feel empowered during your video visit. 

We do require video for identification (ID), and then you can turn the camera off if that’s more comfortable. Though we always need the camera on at first for ID–we also understand that you may have to turn the camera off during the visit for electronic or connection reasons.

Can I or should I take notes?

Many of us need help remembering everything discussed during a visit. Like in-person medical visits, we have a summary of your care. You can access your visit summary in your Athena Patient Portal, which will have important info about your labs and prescriptions. Still, some folks find that keeping a few notes during the visit helps them remember the details that are important to them.


For any other questions, please visit the Help Center to review frequently asked questions (FAQs). You can also check out other articles about:

Start your journey with FOLX today, and discover the power of a connected health care experience.

Please keep in mind that this is not an emergency service. If you are having a medical emergency, always call 911.

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FOLX Health is the first digital healthcare company designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our services include virtual primary care, gender-affirming hormone therapy including estrogen and testosterone (HRT), mental health care, sexual and reproductive health care, preventive care, and fertility consultations. FOLX memberships give you access to LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, peer support, thousands of LGBTQIA+ resources, and more. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, or nonbinary, you can find LGBTQIA+-specialized health care that helps you meet your wellness goals. FOLX Health is health care that's queer all year. Get all the benefits of becoming a FOLX member and sign up today!

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