As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect society, people are wondering – what about my healthcare needs? Some people have prescriptions that require refills and need to visit physicians, some have mental healthcare needs that should not be put on hold long-term, and some are even experiencing emergencies that need immediate attention. So, what are your healthcare options during the COVD-19 pandemic?
- First and foremost: If you are experiencing an emergency situation, call 911 or visit a Neighbors emergency room. All our Neighbors Emergency Center locations are open, and operating at full capacity. Do not wait to go to the ER. It can often complicate your condition, making it much more difficult to treat, or even cost you your life. You can always call ahead if you have concerns or questions.
- Telehealth & video conference appointment: If you are feeling under the weather, or need a routine prescription refilled, many physicians’ offices are utilizing telehealth or video conference appointments to protect their patients. Telehealth is usually offered via a phone app or your health provider’s website and video conferencing uses software similar to what you may already be using for work or contact with friends. Both utilize audio and video for a virtual appointment with your healthcare provider. Many insurance plans offer telehealth consultations at reduced or no cost to their customers. Check with your doctor’s office to see if a telehealth appointment is an option.
- Drive-through COVID Testing: There are several options for COVID-testing, and the availability of options will vary from city to city and county to county. One option is a drive-through swab test that helps protect test administrators from potential exposure to the virus. Check in your specific area if drive-through testing is an option, and what the requirements are. You can also see our COVID Resource page for information about Harris County drive-through testing.
- In-Person visits: There are some evaluations and appointments that must be done in-person – such as physicals, vaccinations, testing, or certain treatments. But do not fear – many people have reported empty doctors’ offices, and even some physicians are reporting significantly reduced in-person patient volumes. And healthcare providers are trained in infection control and are taking precautions to prevent the spread of disease. When in doubt, call your physician and ask them if you need to come into the office, and what precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We want to reiterate one more time – if you need medical attention, please get it! Delaying medical care – especially emergency medical attention – can result in adverse outcomes (medical terminology for ‘harder to treat, and potentially long-term effects’). You can always call your nearest Neighbors Emergency Center with emergency care questions or concerns.