Medical Appointments during the COVID-19 Outbreak
Taking into consideration the COVID-19 outbreak, monitoring our health and well-being has taken on even more importance. In light of the pandemic, you may be wondering about your medical appointments. Which ones to keep? Which ones to reschedule? What are the experts telling us?
Speaking to physicians on March 17, 2020, Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force thoughtfully stated, “Things that don’t need to be done over the next two weeks, don’t get it done.” That is worth repeating. “Things that don’t need to be done over the next two weeks, don’t get it done.”
Naturally, as the situation evolves things will change but for now, here are some guidelines to consider.
Routine and Non-routine Appointments and Screenings
Reschedule routine and non-urgent appointments for at least sixty days from today, March 24, 2020. The American Cancer Society has urged people to reschedule routine cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies. Continue to check in with your health care provider about when to reschedule. Ask that your appointment be set for the safest, earliest date.
Chronic Conditions in General
Continue to monitor chronic illnesses per your doctor’s orders. If lab work is needed, know that labs are safe because they are sterile, are cleaned after each patient, and the technicians wear gloves.
If you are currently in active treatment including undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, consult with your oncologist about the risks and benefits associated with appointments and your cancer care.
On March 16, 2020 the American Dental Association (ADA) recommended that dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures for three weeks. April 6, 2020 is that three week mark but circumstances and information are ever-evolving so that date will likely change. Communicate with your dentist’s office to learn how they will be proceeding.
Physical Therapy Appointments
The American Physical Therapy Association released a statement on March 17, 2020, stating that patients should consult with their physical therapists about their individual treatment. Non-urgent PT visits should be rescheduled to remain consistent with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations.
The recommendation for individuals who see mental health professionals is to meet through video-conferencing, phone check-ins, or the online platform used by the practice. Note: The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act allows for Medicare to cover telehealth sessions, however if immediate psychological assistance is needed contact:
- Disaster Distress Helpline at (800) 985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255
- Crisis Textline: Text TALK to 741741
Self-care, including emotional well-being have never been more important. Even though these are difficult and worrisome times, don’t hesitate to contact your health care professional with your questions and concerns. After all, your health and well-being are of the utmost importance to them. Take any and all precautions to maintain good health and rest assured that time will pass and we will get to the other side of the outbreak.