Telemedicine and the Clinic

YES!! In fact we are operating at our normal hours. We do ask that you call before you come and respect the signs on the doors that instruct you to wait in your car for your appointment or to call before entering the building if you are sick. We ARE NOT taking walk-ins of any kind. To keep our providers safe and to comply with all the ordinances around the state to keep you safe, we are offering ONLY telemedicine or telephone consults as a first line visit. IF the provider you speak with or see over secure video feels that an onsite appointment is needed you will then be scheduled for an onsite follow up. Thank you for calling first!
YES! If we did not think that telemedicine was safe or effective we would not be offering it. Many problems can be discussed over video and even some physical findings can be observed. If we feel that an onsite visit would be more informative and is crucial to your health we will schedule you after your telemedicine appointment for a follow up.
Medicare and Medicaid are covering telemedicine visits during the time of COVID-19 crisis at the same rates and co-pays as a normal office visit. Many different private insurance companies are also willing to cover telemedicine during this time. IF you have any doubt that it is covered you may contact the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to find out more. Each person’s plan is unique and we are not able to tell you exactly what your plan provides as benefits.
Medicare and Medicaid are covering telephone visits for those who do not have access to a computer or smart phone for a telemedicine visit. This also includes those who have technology troubles during the video session. The typical charge for these visits range from $25-$60 depending on the amount of time. We are unsure if private insurance will reimburse for these visits. If your insurance does not reimburse our out of pocket charge remains $35 for up to 15min (charge may be higher for prolonged call).
Call our office 8:30-5pm Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment. All appointments will be offered as telemedicine or telephone visit usually the same day. Once you are scheduled, the front desk will send you an email with a link that you can click on about 5 minutes prior to your appointment. Wait in the “waiting room” and your provider will start the video at your appointment time.
Telemedicine visits are private. We use a HIPAA compliant secure video system. During this time of crisis — the government has made it easier to access telemedicine visits. If we need to FaceTime or GoogleChat has also been approved for video appointments. These are all encrypted. We do not store or record any of the video session. Your visit is recorded only as a written record in your electronic health record.

COVID-19

Please call us at 206 524 5656 to schedule a telemedicine appointment. We have providers who are available every day by secure video as well as by phone for those of you who do not have access to video. We recommend starting with talking to us about your symptoms.

Typical symptoms of COVID-19 are mild and can be fever (>100 F or subjective fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath). Less often people also complain of headache and diarrhea. These symptoms can be generalized to many different diagnosis — seasonal allergies, influenza, other respiratory colds. By talking with your provider, we can get a better picture of what is going on with you, offer medications to treat symptoms, and, if clinically relevant, refer for testing for COVID-19.

At this time there is a shortage of testing supplies and the Department of Health, University of Washington and other organizations are requesting that we reserve testing for those to whom it would make a clinical difference. We would be happy to speak to you about your concerns via a telemedicine or telephone visit.

If you have had a high risk exposure, meaning that you were in close contact (within 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes) with someone who is sick with fever or symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and they tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 2 weeks, you should self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms.

The best thing to do is to stay at home, stay 6 feet from family members, use your own dedicated bathroom, and monitor your temperature daily for fever and for symptoms of cough, sore throat or shortness of breath. You should do this for 14 days since your contact with the sick person.

If you develop symptoms please call our office for a telemedicine appointment. We can evaluate and find a testing site for you if appropriate.

Currently (3/18/2020) the Department of Health guidelines recommend that you self quarantine, for a minimum of 7 days from the onset of symptoms and for 72 hours fever free and symptoms are greatly reduced which ever is longer. If you have any specific concerns please, we are happy to review your situation and offer recommendations through a telemedicine or telephone visit.

You should follow department of health standards for cleaning your house — wiping down hard surfaces with alcohol containing product or other cleaning products that indicate that they kill other similar viruses like the flu or other coronaviruses (example is Lysol or Chlorox wipes that say they kill 99.9% of viruses). Important surfaces are faucets, doorknobs, sinks, toilet handles, light switches, in the kitchen the doors to the refrigerator, oven, microwave, and all pulls.

Members of your household should use a different bathroom than you when possible. If not possible, wipe down counters and toilet after each use. You and all members of your household should continue to use good hand hygiene to prevent spread. Wash hands before you eat. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw away.

The World Health Organization has recommended avoiding those drugs or drug families if you think you have COVID-19.

SARS-CoV 2 is the virus that causes COVID-19 It is stable for several hours to days on hard surfaces:

  • in small droplets that have been aerosolized (like if you use a nebulizer at home) for up to 3 hours
  • up to 4 hours on copper
  • up to 24 hours on cardboard
  • up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel

The good news is that wiping with regular household cleaners — Windex, Bleach sprays, surface cleaning wipes can remove the virus that causes COVID-19.

Also, if you use good hand hygiene to prevent spread, wash hands before you eat - avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth . Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw away you can reduce transmission of the virus and the possibility that you will be exposed.

While it has been found that there are asymptomatic or presympomatic people (those with the virus but they are feeling well with NO symptoms at all) who have tested positive for COVID-19, it is unclear if they can transmit the virus as actively as those who are sick. The virus is spread in droplets NOT in the air. In order to get sick, you have to come into contact with the virus through bodily fluids entering your mouth, eyes or nose. Again, if you use good hygiene, and social distancing this risk is very low.

There is a huge shortage of personal protection equipment in this city, the county, the state and the world. Surgical masks do offer a some protection to those who wear them from the droplets that come from sick people coughing on you. However, given the shortage it is imperative that health care workers have protective gear in order to continue to protect themselves from getting sick. Without our health care workers, where would we be?

If you are in a high risk category - over the age of 60, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, heart disease, or immunocompromised, or a health care worker, it may be a good idea to wear a simple surgical mask in public. If you do not have any masks, then you may wish to try other strategies such as having friends or neighbors shop for you, delivery of groceries, making reservations at grocery store to shop at quieter hours. The best protection is to stay away from crowded places, and wash your hands when you return.

If you have bought many masks, more than you need (i.e. more than 50 for one family of 4), then you may consider donating your masks to a local hospital.

If you have bought N95 masks, these are mostly needed by health care workers who need to perform high risk, life saving procedures and we recommend you donate these to your local hospital.

1. Give blood: during this time of isolation, blood banks are not collecting nearly enough donations. Please contact your nearest blood bank.

2. Offer to shop for a neighbor or friend who has higher risk to COVID-19: anyone over the age of 60, immunocompromised, or other conditions that make it hard for them to get to the store.

3. Video chat with friends and family and try to stay social yet isolated. Do not gather! Stop the spread by staying in your home or going out for a walk with one friend or family member and keeping your social distance to 6 feet.

4. Stay calm. This is not a time to panic or hoard. Shop for what you need and try to go at off peak hours. Batch your trips — shop for a friend or two to minimize exposure. Maintain your distance from others in line.

From WSMA (Washington State Medical Association)

Prevent transmission/spread.

Is it a cold or COVID?