Getting care in a COVID-world? Here’s what you can expect
Controlling the coronavirus has changed the world as we knew it. Especially when it comes to health care.
To protect patients and employees, you may see some differences at doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics and hospitals. Extra precautions have been put in place to keep you safe. But for your convenience, HAP is here to help you navigate your next visit.
Getting care during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here’s what you should be aware of, whether you’re preparing for your annual well-visit or preventive flu shot:
- Some entrances may be closed. And you may have to wait in your car until your appointment time. In the days before your visit, pay attention to your email and/or voicemail. You will likely get a message noting where, when and how to enter. For example, the building might have a well side and a sick side. Or your doctor may schedule appointments grouped by well and sick visits. They may also ask you to go directly to a room, rather than stopping at the front desk. But remember: It’s only to keep you and others safe. It will help you get to the right place at the right time, while maintaining a safe distance from others.
- Upon arrival, you will probably have a health screening. More than likely, everyone entering will be screened in some way. You may have your temperature taken, get checked for symptoms of COVID-19 or be asked a couple of questions. (With that in mind, we ask you to please be friendly to all staff members. They’re only there to help you.)
- You will have to wear a face mask. People all across Michigan are masking up, because it’s the law. But, it’s also proven to be safe and effective. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, research shows masks can greatly reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Especially because approximately 40% of people who have it may be asymptomatic. To keep you and your care team safe, everyone in the building should be wearing a mask. Yourself included. (If you don’t have one, one may be provided to you.)
- You will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer. Because experts know proper handwashing and sanitizing is crucial to help contain COVID-19, hand sanitizer will likely be available in all medical buildings. But, it may also be beneficial to keep a small bottle in your purse or pocket.
- The facility will encourage social distancing. Chances are, waiting rooms will have six feet of space or protective dividers between chairs. You may also notice markings on the floor – showing you where you should stand. To stay safe, follow signs, instructions and/or seating configurations. And if you have questions, ask.
- There will be visitor guidelines. To help limit exposure, there will likely be more visiting rules. Depending on your age and reason for visiting, you may be advised to come alone. If you need someone to accompany you to your appointment, we recommend bringing just one person. Although, some facilities will make exceptions for children under the age of 21. (For specific questions, it’s best to call the doctor’s office or hospital. Or, see if you can find answers on their website.)
- If you’re having a procedure or surgery, you may be tested for COVID-19. A positive test could postpone or cancel your appointment, or result in extra precautions.
As always, health care teams will be following strict handwashing protocols, and exam rooms and waiting areas will be cleaned thoroughly. So, rest assured. The top doctors and leading hospitals that are part of your HAP network are taking as many precautions as possible – all to keep you as safe as possible.
Not so sure about the “new normal?” If you’re still worried about being seen in person, virtual visits are available. Whether your doctor is still using telehealth as his/her primary care method or they simply offer it as an option, it gives you the opportunity to get care from the comfort of home. It is always best to talk to your doctor about your care. To learn more, read our blog post: Let’s talk telehealth. Our experts are answering the most common questions.
Plus, don’t forget: For your safety and convenience, you can also use an at-home prescription delivery service, like Pharmacy Advantage. Call your doctor’s office for a renewal, or ask for one during an office visit or telehealth appointment.