Rocking Horse Community Health Center and Mercy Health are offering Telehealth Services for Patients amid the coronavirus pandemic. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Coronavirus: Clark, Champaign health providers to offer virtual options

In effort to help decrease exposure amid the coronavirus pandemic, some Clark and Champaign county health providers are offering virtual options for patients in lieu of in-person appointments.

That includes online questionnaires that allow patients to catalog their symptoms as well as services that allow physicians to conduct virtual appointments through video chats or over the phone.

In Springfield, the Rocking Horse Community Health Center has recently added telehealth services using a HIPA compliant software company. So far, 25 providers have been trained to use the new option that allows patients to have a check-up without having to leave their homes.

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Patients who want to utilize that service instead of an in-person visit would be sent a link through a text message or by email. Then they would be set up with a healthcare provider through a video or audio connection.

Stacy Lee, the health center’s director of operations, said they are currently working with patients who already have scheduled an appointment. She said that service would also be available for those who are looking to schedule an appointment in the near future.

“With telehealth, patients are able to keep their scheduled medical and mental health therapy appointments and remain compliant with (Gov. Mike DeWine’s) directive to practice social distancing,” said a news release sent by the health center.

Dr. Yamini Teegala, the chef medical officer for Rocking Horse, said through the new service, healthcare providers are still able to address patient’s medical needs and questions as well as conduct assessments.

She said it also translates well in terms of behavioral health, as many visits include patients sharing their medical history as well as symptoms and providers making recommendations. It can also be utilized for patients who are managing chronic illnesses as well as those displaying signs of minor illnesses.

Rocking Horse continues to remain open for in-person visits and their hours have stayed mostly the same amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, they are closed on Saturdays until April 10. Lee said they wanted to offer telehealth services as a way to provide patients with more options.

In addition, Mercy Health, which has operations in both Clark and Champaign counties, also offers virtual options for established patients and are also adding services for new ones in regards to physician visits.

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Established patients can use their MyChart account that allows them to log their symptoms and request a video appointment with their provider.

“With the aid of a questionnaire, patients detail their symptoms and concerns. Once their Mercy Health Physicians or Bon Secours Medical Group provider reviews this information alongside their medical history, the patient will receive a message with the recommended treatment plan,” said a recent news release from Mercy Health.

New patients or ones that have a physician that does not have an Apple device are asked to call the doctor’s office and will be instructed on how to set up a video visit, said Nanette Bentley, a spokesperson for MercyHealth.

The health network is also offering COVID-19 video visits for those experiencing symptoms associated with the virus or may have been in contact with someone recently diagnosed with the virus. That service can be accessed through the Bon Secours 24-7 app.

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