‘Virtual’ doctor appointments now available

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

With COVID-19, everything from church to M.D. meetings is going ‘virtual.’ People can even have a doctor appointment from home. These include patient visits, consultations, and mental health services.

The Alberta government is making changes and sending out media releases very quickly. One from March 23rd had to do with how doctors should bill for virtual patient care.

These temporary billing codes will enable doctors to be paid for virtual care.

In the media release, Alberta Medical Association president, Dr. Christine P. Molnar said the following.

“These new virtual care codes will make it possible for physicians to deliver care safely and effectively to patients during the pandemic. These codes apply not only for COVID-19 care, but for all the physical and mental health needs of patients as they present every day. Delivering virtual care will maintain ongoing physician-patient relationships which are essential for quality care. These codes represent an important step towards ensuring the viability of physicians’ practices, and supporting the thousands of Albertans they employ.”

The codes are on par with face-to-face service.

In-person care continues. In Slave Lake, the health clinic is only using the emergency entrance, said Town of Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman in a COVID-19 video update.

The Slave Lake Family Care Clinic sent out a letter on March 19 outlining the changes.

At the door, a nurse will screen people for COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, dry cough, etc. “If any of these symptoms are present, the patient will be asked to return home and self-isolate for 14 days.”

Since then, the government of Alberta has updated the mandatory isolation rules. For people under mandatory isolation, they are to remain in isolation for the longer of two options: an additional 10 days or until they feel well.

As of March 30, people in isolation are no longer allowed to go on walks. People in apartments must stay in their unit and not use the stairways or elevators.

“Albertans are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days if they: returned from travel outside of Canada after March 12 (or) are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (provides care, lives with or has close physical contact, or comes into direct contact with infectious body fluids).”

The complete list of changes to the Slave Lake Family Care Clinic is available on www.lakesideleader.com.

An Alberta Health Services worker protecting herself from COVID-19 with personal protective equipment (PPE). Photo courtesy of Alberta Health Services.

Share this post

Post Comment