WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Officials with NHRMC Physician Group on Tuesday announced that several operational changes have been implemented to protect patients, staff, and the community during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Those changes include additional virtual visits options and expanded safety procedures so patients can continue to have access to providers and care teams.
“We want our patients to know we are here for them when they need us, and we are committed to ensuring safe access to care,” stated Dan Goodwin, vice president of the physician network, in a news release. “Our practices will continue screening and social distancing efforts to protect our patients and staff while offering creative new methods of patient interaction.”
Meanwhile, NHRMC Physician Group primary and urgent care practices have the ability to test patients for COVID-19.
“For patients that are concerned they may have COVID-19 infection, we want them to call or contact the office via MyChart,” said Jeffrey Warhaftig, MD, Medical Director of NHRMC Physician Group. “Then if possible we will screen them via video visit and see if there’s a need for them to come in for further testing."
That testing can be done in a special isolation room or in a drive-up area where health professionals can determine whether patients have strep or the flu.
Then a determination can be made on a case-by-case basis based on the severity of illness and underlying medical problems whether there is a need to send off for COVID-19 testing.
Virtual Video Visits
NHRMC Physician Group is offering video visits. Schedulers are proactively contacting patients to see how they would like to handle upcoming scheduled appointments. Many patients are choosing to schedule virtual visits instead of visiting the office. Individual offices can answer billing questions, but co-pays are generally the same for video visits as on-site visits.
Added Safety Procedures
NHRMC Physician Group employees have worked to implement new safety procedures, including:
- Patients are able to register and check-in for their appointment without leaving the car. The patient will wait in their car until they are notified the exam room is ready so they do not have to sit in a waiting room.
- Scheduling well and sick patients at different times.
- Screening patients via telephone prior to sick appointments and screening patients at the entrances in most locations.
- If a primary care provider determines a patient is at high-risk for COVID-19, the patient can receive drive-up testing in their vehicle. This testing will only be done by appointment in coordination with the primary care provider.
Additionally, NHRMC Physician Group is participating in New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s planning and response to COVID-19 to ensure effective communication and processes between the inpatient and outpatient settings.
For more information on NHRMC Physician Group, visit www.nhrmcphysiciangroup.org.