In-patient appointments return to URPG with added safety measures (Healthy You)

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Although COVID-19 is still in our community, there are many other reasons to continue visits to the doctor.

United Regional Physician Group is taking every measure to ensure in-patient visits are safe for the patient, physician and staff.

Heart disease, diabetes, asthma, you name it.

These conditions don’t discriminate, even as COVID-19 sits as a top health priority.

That’s why URPG physician Dr. Michael Henderson said a trip to the doctor is just as important now as it was before the coronavirus.

“I’m a big believer in annual, physical exams, I’m a family medicine physician and our goal is to prevent bad outcomes, we want to keep you playing with your grandkids, we want to keep you participating in athletics and sports,” Henderson said.

After transitioning many appointments online in early March, United Regional Physician Group began welcoming some patients back.

“If it’s a visit that the patient needs to have a physical exam on and the patient doesn’t have any high-risk conditions, then we’re bringing those patients back in for office visits,” URPG Director of Primary Care/Subspecialty Maria Avalos said.

With the current situation, URPG staff wants to ensure safety isn’t being taken lightly. That means a visit to the doctor’s office might feel a little different.

“Patients are going straight from their vehicles directly into the exam room to see a provider,” Avalos said.

The process starts in the parking lot where patients are screened with questions about any symptoms they may have and if they’ve had contact to someone with, or someone tested for, COVID-19.

After temperature is checked, get comfortable in the car until it’s your turn, and don’t forget the mask or face covering before heading inside for a check-up.

“We’re no longer bringing patients into our guest seating areas to do their registration and to wait for their visit, we’re collecting a lot of that information over the phone the day prior, which is called pre-registration,” Avalos said.

“Patients that have been in their home quarantine, haven’t talked to a lot of physicians, it’s refreshing to talk to a doc, ask specific questions and see how COVID questions are answered through the lens of their current health issues,” Henderson said.

If someone doesn’t pass the screening, they can’t come in. Rather, they can visit with the doctor via telehealth.

Henderson reminding that things have changed, but what hasn’t is how important it is to take care of yourself.

“We want our patients to remember that it’s only the person that needs to be quarantined, not their conditions, their conditions continue to progress and we want to help prevent worse outcomes,” Henderson said.

For those who are more at-risk or maybe don’t quite feel comfortable going back inside to see their physician yet, telemedicine has become very popular.

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