Not since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 has the United States seen as drastic of a challenge to it's healthcare system as it is right now. In response to this change, the world has quickly adapted to allow doctors better access to their patients while providing for prescribed social distancing. While the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 is spreading across the globe, patients who are high risk due to weaker immune systems are mandated to stay at home. While this is good practical advice, how can these patients safely keep up with their own routine healthcare?
Telemedicine is not new. The technology has been around for years, but the government and commercial health plans would only cover these services under very strict circumstances. In response to COVID-19, Governor Abbott of Texas waived certain regulations and directed the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to issue an emergency rule relating to telemedicine provided through state-regulated insurance plans. Also, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has temporarily broadened telehealth access to Medicare patients. Medicare can pay for office visits furnished via telehealth in all areas of the country (not only rural areas) and in any setting, including in a patient’s home.
In addition, the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights stated that it will not penalize physicians for noncompliance with HIPAA when they serve patients in good faith through common, nonpublic-facing communications technologies, such as FaceTime or Skype. While we don't recommend using Facetime or Skype for telemedicine, except for in extreme circumstances, we do see how The Back & Body Clinic can fill a need during this nationwide crisis.
As of 3/23/2020, we are now fully capable of offering telemedicine services through our HIPAA-compliant patient portal. This means that our providers can consult, examine, order labs and tests, give at-home directions, prescribe needed medications, order orthotic braces or supports to be shipped directly to you, or screen for possible COVID-19 symptoms while you stay safe in the comfort of your own home.
All appointments are face-to-face with one of our providers, and you are able to use any Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device with a camera, microphone, speakers, and an internet connection. We are able to see any patient within the state of Texas.
If you are choosing to stay at home and practice social distancing during this time, let us help you stay well. Take advantage of our Telemedicine appointments today!
Also, since we are an essential Primary Care facility we are remaining open to serve our patients during this crisis.
Rest assured that we are taking extreme precautions such as examining and measuring every team member's temperature each day, wearing protective gear during patient visits, and deep cleaning and sterilizing our equipment in-between every patient encounter.
For patients who are feeling well and not in a high-risk category, we are able to provide immune-boosting services such as:
Super B shots- loaded with immune-boosting nutrients
IV Hydration Therapy- loaded with immune-boosting antioxidants (NOTE: we have run out of IV therapy bags, but should receive more this week, so grab your appointment ASAP to receive yours)
Finally, remember that while we wisely take precautions we were not meant to live in fear. Take advantage of any opportunity to slow down and enjoy those important people around you. While improving your physical health, take time to rest and improve your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." - 2 Timothy 1:7