17 Apr Medical Care During a Pandemic: We Are Still Here For You
We have entered into a new, strange time. The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything the state, country, and world has ever faced. As a result, we are all scrambling to adjust our lives to new restrictions, which are constantly changing. Because the virus is mainly spread from person-to-person, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed. Therefore, we must “socially distance” ourselves from other people in the community including family members, friends and co-workers. The pandemic has also led to new state restrictions, including the closure of “non-essential services.” Although these changes are necessary to fight the spread of the coronavirus, they have left many people confused regarding what they are able and not able to do.
What if I am in Pain?
Good news! Medical practices like Desert Spine and Sports Physicians are considered essential services under the Shelter-in-Place order. Providing evidence-based medical care to decrease pain and improve function is our passion, and we are determined to remain available to our patients in need. We have made changes in accordance with state and CDC guidelines so that we can continue to provide high quality care safely.
As of March 25, 2020, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order requiring health care insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services that would normally be covered for an in-person visit. This was done to allow patients who are ill or under quarantine to access medical care from their homes. In addition, it provides an option for healthy patients to avoid visits to healthcare providers, which further decreases their exposure to the virus. Desert Spine and Sports is proud to announce that we are offering Telehealth visits for both new and established patients.
How does Telemedicine Work?
If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, then you have access to FaceTime. When using an iPhone, FaceTime automatically registers your phone number. Approximately 15-20 minutes before your appointment, a Medical Assistant from DSSP will call you on the phone in order to gather some preliminary information about your chief complaint. Then, at the time of your scheduled appointment, one of the DSSP providers will FaceTime you at your registered number.
Google Duo is a video communications platform that can be used with most mobile devices, smart-devices, and desktops; in fact Google Duo comes pre-installed in many Android phones. This application is easy to download and use of the basic program is FREE. Begin by downloading the Google Duo mobile app or signing up online, and then create an account. This account will then sync with your phone number. Approximately 15-20 minutes before your appointment, a Medical Assistant from DSSP will call you on the phone in order to gather some preliminary information about your chief complaint. Then, at the time of your scheduled appointment, one of the DSSP providers will call you on your phone via Google Duo, and the alert should “pop up” on your screen. Simply swipe up to answer.
What about Procedures?
Governor Ducey has also issued an Executive Order to cancel all non-essential or elective surgeries. This was done in an effort to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by our hospital workers fighting the coronavirus. However, this does NOT include smaller procedures or injections where gloves are the primary PPE used. Therefore, if you feel that your pain is “unmanageable,” we are able to continue to provide this service for our patients.
How Can You Help?
At this time, more than ever, it is essential that we all work together to protect ourselves and each other. A physician’s clinic, like anywhere else, can become a source of exposure to coronavirus. Therefore, we are taking precautions to help limit contact between patients and staff. However, we need your help. If you have symptoms of a cold (cough, runny nose), fever, malaise, body aches etc, OR if you have had potential exposure to someone with coronavirus, PLEASE do NOT come to the clinic. This would put our staff and other patients at risk for getting infected. Instead, please call the office so we can arrange an alternative way to provide you care.
We are all in this together and we will come out stronger. Here at Desert Spine and Sports Physicians we are here to help you with your pain management needs during the COVID-19 situation. We are adapting our care to safely and effectively provide appropriate treatment for those in need. Please contact us with any questions you may have.