Plano primary care office expands access for those at high-risk for COVID-19

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Village Health Partners is now accepting Medicare insurance plans for telehealth and expanding access to telehealth services for all patients to allow for a high level of care while maintaining social distance.

The last thing a person over 65 years old should have to worry about right now is if they can find a doctor who accepts Medicare plans.

Village Health Partners is expanding access for individuals who are enrolled in Medicare to provide care for a high-risk population during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our slogan is, ‘Helping our communities thrive,’ and we want to help our senior neighbors access care,” said Keith Eppich, Village Health Partners Clinical Vice President and physician. “The last thing a person over 65 years old should have to worry about right now is if they can find a doctor who accepts Medicare plans.”

On March 17, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expanded Medicare coverage for telehealth services, and the Department for Health and Human Services waived penalties under HIPAA laws for good faith use of telehealth during this emergency. This allows individuals without access to HIPAA-compliant software to have appointments with physicians through other software, like FaceTime.

“We are seeing a major shift in coverage from big insurance companies, and now Medicare, allowing patients to access virtual visits that they haven’t been able to in the past,” Chief Administrative Officer Patrick Figures said. “We have not been able to see new patients with Medicare, but due to restrictions being lifted, we can now see anyone.”

Village Health Partners now conducts nearly 90 percent of visits through telemedicine, to encourage social distancing while continuing to provide care for high-risk patients. They see more than 600 patients through telehealth per day.

“We have always been a leader in bringing new technologies to patients,” Figures said. “We have been practicing telehealth for a number years, so our providers are comfortable with providing care virtually. Our physicians and patients are happy to still be able to work together on patient health, despite the distance.”

Telehealth visits are medical appointments that allow individuals to visit with a physician, counselor or other provider from outside of the office – including at home or work – to allow for social distancing. Individuals can be treated, diagnosed and counseled by a health professional for cold and flu symptoms, a fever, sore throat, nausea and more, without having to leave their homes.

“We’re living in the future of healthcare,” Figures said. “It works just like a normal in-office visit. It’s all of the care without any of the hassle.”

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Jazmin Saenz
since: 03/2009
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