For Tennessee residents who have put off taking care of everyday healthcare needs for fear of being exposed to COVID-19, a recently launched initiative may provide a solution.
Many of the healthcare providers in Wayne County have turned to “telehealth,” a way to communicate with patients without personal contact. Patients can contact their healthcare provider by visiting the provider’s website or Facebook page, and you will be instructed on how to conduct a “virtual visit.” You may also call your provider and ask how to proceed.
Fast Pace Health is one of the providers introducing a new telehealth program. They stated that their program allows new and established patients to get care for a number of common ailments from the safety and comfort of their own home. Patients can also get prescriptions for a number of routine medications through the telehealth program. Instead of going to a clinic, the patient can simply visit the company’s website at www.fastpacehealth.com, click on the Telehealth link, and follow instructions to register for a virtual visit.
Greg Stiel, CEO of Fast Pace Health, issued a statement saying in part, “Telehealth services are similar to the services patients receive when visiting a healthcare provider in person, except services are provided without the patient having to leave his or her home. This is done through an application downloaded to the patient’s smartphone or tablet. Through this app, patients and Telehealth providers are able to see and speak with one another, all from the safety, comfort and convenience of the patient’s home.
“The Department of Health and Human Services recommends a provider to patient ratio of one provider for every 2,000 individuals. But in rural America, 20 million people live in areas where that ratio is one provider for every 3,500 residents, according to George Washington University’s Health Policy Institute. In Tennessee, only four counties are not under some type of health provider shortage or medically underserved designation, according to the state Office of Rural Health.”
Hall Medical Clinic released a statement detailing the three ways they will treat patients during this time:
1. By phone, or telehealth. If you are in need of refills, need to review test results or have a minor condition you feel can be treated over the phone, this is the preferred method. Call 931 722-2800 to schedule a time for a provider to call you.
2. If you are having any respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, running a fever, have traveled to a high risk area in or out of the United States, or any other flu-like symptoms, please call 931-722-2800 & inform the receptionist of your symptoms. We ask that all sick patients wait in your car until it is time to be seen.
3. If neither of the above applies to you, please call 931-722-2800 to schedule an appointment.
Caution is a must during this time, however it is not the time to neglect your health!
Bethesda Clinic in Clifton released a statement to their patients as well:
“In response to Covid-19, we are here for you at Bethesda Clinic. We are staying up to date with current guidelines and recommendations. It’s a scary time for many, and we want to help in any way possible. We ask if you can please call ahead as we are urged to triage at home and to do what we can over the phone or internet. We are available in person if needed. Thankfully we are small enough we can mostly likely arrange a private hands on visit if necessary in a completely sanitized office. Our number is 931-676-5200. We are also here to help via telehealth if necessary.”
Primary Care Federally Qualified Health (formerly known as Family Health Group) is also requesting that patients call the office for any symptoms they are experiencing, and a nurse or a provider will speak with you and set up a virtual visit if necessary. Primary Care has offices in Waynesboro, 931-722-9999, and in Collinwood, 931-724-9135.
Common ailments that can be diagnosed and treated through the Telehealth service include cold and flu like symptoms, seasonal allergies, stomach viruses, rashes and skin conditions, pinkeye, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, fever blisters, minor boils, abscesses, and cellulitis (bacterial skin infection).
The number of insurance companies who cover telehealth services is expanding rapidly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government on March 17 announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.
Anyone who is concerned that they may have a COVID-19 (coronavirus) infection should call their healthcare provider for additional advice, and follow CDC guidance. Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should dial 911.