~ Press release issued by Valley Health
WINCHESTER — Valley Health has implemented three services to streamline access to safe and timely COVID-19-related outpatient care:
- a COVID-19 Respiratory Care Phone Line,
- telehealth visits with providers,
- and a new Respiratory Care Clinic.
“The vast majority of patients who contract COVID-19 won’t require inpatient care in a hospital setting,” says Jeffrey Feit, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Valley Physician Enterprise. “We felt strongly that we needed a way to care for the community that provides a full spectrum of care for patients with respiratory complaints and reduces the chances of well patients and patients with chronic illnesses becoming sick when going to a regular office visit.”
COVID-19 Respiratory Care Phone Line
Valley Health has developed a new service for people who have fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms and need evaluation. Community members may call our dedicated phone line at (540) 536-0380, Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and be guided to their primary care provider or a Valley Health Family Medicine/Urgent Care office for a telehealth visit.
Telehealth at Valley Health Urgent Care Centers and Medical Practices
Following recent changes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow the broad use of telehealth visits by providers and health systems, several Valley Health Family Medicine, Urgent Care and Specialty offices successfully piloted a new platform this week that enables patients to be seen by providers from the comfort of their homes.
“We are committed to caring for patients with respiratory illness in the safest way possible, and also want to offer other patients an expedient way to be evaluated,” says Jacob Meza, Senior Director of Valley Regional Enterprises, a division of Valley Health. “By Monday, all Valley Health Urgent Care centers and most Valley Health medical practices will have telehealth in place.”
After making an appointment, the office determines if telehealth is a good option instead of, or in addition to, a face-to-face office visit. If so, the patient receives a link which, when clicked, puts them “in” the exam room, ready to see their provider.
The new platform does not require the user to download any new software and may be accessed with any iPhone, android phone, tablet or computer with a web camera, using Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Additionally, all telehealth visits have waived copays at the time of the visit to remove as many barriers as possible to helping people receive the right care in the safest manner.
Visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/telehealth for a list of participating practices.
Respiratory Care Clinic
Patients who need an in-person provider visit now have a “next step” opportunity for care at a new outpatient Respiratory Care Clinic located adjacent to the COVID-19 test collection site at Rutherford Crossing in Winchester. Opened Thursday, March 26, the clinic is a resource for patients who need chest x-rays and other physical exams following a telehealth visit. Referral is required from a patient’s primary care physician. Watch for additional locations in other Valley Health communities.
Other updates related to COVID-19:
Request to Employers – Valley Health’s hospital Emergency Departments, Urgent Care Centers and physician practices have reported a growing number of patients requesting a note to return to work. We are unable to accommodate that request. Consistent with guidelines from the CDC and state agencies, we ask area employers to waive the required healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work. Our emergency departments and doctor’s offices are not in a position to provide this documentation in a timely way.
Supply Donations –Many businesses and individuals have offered to share their time and talents by making home-sewn masks. We are heartened and encouraged by this show of support and concern for the safety of our patients and staff. Donated masks will help us preserve our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). In order to ensure the highest possible level of protection, we have step-by-step instructions for making masks with elastic and masks without elastic on our website. Information about collection locations will be available soon at www.valleyheathlink.com.
Blood Donors Needed – Many are asking what they can do to help. We urge all residents who are able to roll up their sleeves and help maintain our supply of blood products. The Red Cross donor center in Winchester has daily collection times. In West Virginia, bloodmobiles are scheduled in Keyser on March 31, Berkeley Springs on April2, Ranson on April 3, and Bunker Hill on April 4. For more information, visit redcrossblood.org and enter your zip code or call 1.800.RED.CROSS.