Heritage Health is now offering telehealth for its medical, behavioral health and psychiatric patients in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
This new option will allow Heritage Health’s 30,000 patients to address medical problems, both ongoing and new, says Heritage Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Purrington.
“This gives health care providers a vital tool to help our patients,” says Purrington. “It will help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and lessen the burden on our community’s health care systems. Patients concerned about having the coronavirus could speak with their doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner virtually to learn about testing and what they should do next.”
Using telehealth, patients can consult with a medical professional via phone and/or computer.
Telehealth also gives patients with ongoing issues a mechanism to see their provider from the comfort of their own home. For example, a patient with diabetes wouldn’t have to postpone a regular follow-up visit with their provider. The patient could communicate with their provider via the phone or with many video platforms, such as Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp.
Medicare officials said on Tuesday that it will expand coverage for telemedicine across the country to help seniors with health problems stay at home to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
Previously, Medicare patients were limited in their coverage when they used telehealth and would previously only receive coverage for routine services in certain circumstances, such as if they lived in a remote location. But the federal government said that Medicare would temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services to its patients including mental health counseling, common office visits, and preventative health screenings.
Patients using telehealth are normally required to fill out waivers before accessing telehealth, but those waivers can be done verbally and documented during your telehealth visit.
“Your medical information will continue to be confidential,” said Purrington. “We want our patients and families to be confident that they can use telehealth as a trusted resource to communicate with their medical or behavioral health provider.”