BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — When the COVID-19 pandemic initially geared up in the Mountain State, Governor Jim Justice announced a stay at home order. Under that stay at home order, people could still go to their doctor’s appointments..
Rocco Massey is the Community CEO of Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital.
“Well, guess what? People didn’t keep their doctor’s appointments. They’ve been sitting at home,” said Massey.
Without their preventative care, patients were getting more sick and ending up in the hospital.
“We’ve had issues where people have come into the emergency department with a very very emergent condition that could’ve been cared for in a much less invasive way,” Massey explained.
So, BARH had to get a little creative to best meet their patients needs, especially the ones who were still a little fearful. Patients can drive up to their clinic and call into the office. Then, their provider will meet them curbside.
If a patient is really at risk, like Linda Casper, the provider will meet with the patient virtually.
“It was very easy. She is so wonderful to talk to. And she makes you at ease. So, it’s nice. She’s even called me a couple times to see how I was doing,” Casper said.
Her provider is Dr. Elizabeth Nelson. Nelson said using technology like Zoom, can really help her provide proper care for her at risk patients.
“Telemedicine allows you to see what’s really going with the patient. I mean, we still do physical exams and we have them take their glasses off, we look into their mouth, we look at their neck. You can tell a lot just from observing the patient,” said Nelson.
Most importantly, doctors can continue the care for their patients.
“And they’re not feeling abandoned,” Nelson said.
Patients still have the option to go into their doctor’s office for a face-to-face appointment, and the clinics take extra safety precautions.