Virtual doctor

In order to help people stay home during the COVID-19 outbreak, Warren Clinic and Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital have expanded its services for patients to include Video Visits.

Whether it’s scheduling a new doctor’s appointment, or an existing appointment previously on the calendar, patients now have the option to talk with their health care provider by simply accessing a camera-enabled smartphone, tablet or computer. Established Warren Clinic patients can schedule this new type of visit with their primary care physician, as well as their physician specialist, Warren Clinic Urgent Care and Laureate mental health provider. Parents can also schedule a Video Visit with their child’s Warren Clinic pediatrician.

To plan a Warren Clinic Video Visit, simply call or send a MyChart message to your physician or Laureate provider’s office. Doctors say thousands of patients from eastern Oklahoma have already taken advantage of this telemedicine option since the program was put in place in late March.

“Virtual visits have been an effective tool to help us stay in touch with our patients and provide appropriate counseling during a challenging time,” says Brent Dennis, M.D., Warren Clinic internal medicine physician. “These new safe options provide patients with access to appropriate medical care from the safety of their home. This allows us to address smaller health issues as they occur or stay on top of their chronic medical issues that might otherwise result in an unnecessary visit to the emergency room.”

Video Visits are now also being provided by many Warren Clinic physician specialists. “Virtual visits are not limited to primary care physicians; patients can also see a specialists or surgeon via Video Visits. In one day, I saw several patients on this platform — many of these patients had issues that couldn’t wait. Even surgical specialists are able to see some post-op patients virtually,” says Michael Spain, M.D., interventional cardiologist with Warren Clinic Cardiology of Tulsa. “If a patient needs care, we’ll figure out a way to get it to them. Video Visits are almost like the old days when physicians regularly made house calls … this is the modern-day house call.”

Warren Clinic E-Visits also remain an option for patients to access health care services from the safety of home and expanded services include a new COVID-19 E-Visit for those who have a fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms.

Warren Clinic patients can visit saintfrancis.com/mychart for more information, details and E-Visit criteria.

All Warren Clinic and Laureate providers offering telemedicine services are health system-affiliated physicians practicing in Oklahoma, and virtual visits, video or E-Visits, are not outsourced to out-of-state providers. There remain some conditions and appointment types that still require an in-person visit. Patients should call their physician or health care facility to discuss any concerns.

As for insurance coverage for virtual care, normal patient co-pays still apply. As of March 17, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expanded access to telemedicine so that patients can receive a broadened range of services without going to a health care facility, according to CMS.gov. Under this new waiver, many insurance providers, including Medicare and Medicaid, are covering the costs for telehealth appointments.

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