As we continue to work through the changes in our businesses and lives brought on by COVID-19, no industry has had to shift focus and change faster than the medical industry. Our spotlight today is on SoCal Emergency Medicine. Their team is on the front line of COVID-19 testing and quickly implement changes on how to treat patients safely. Thank you to SoCal Emergency Medicine for helping the local communities you serve. We are clapping for all your offices today!
COVID-19 Fast Tracks Telemedicine for Patients
SoCal Emergency Medicine Urgent Care Clinics serve the Riverside and San Bernardino Counties with six locations and have felt the impact of COVID-19 as you would imagine a doctor’s office would. While they do perform COVID-19 testing under the recommended guidelines provided by the CDC, the transformation to their business went beyond dealing with COVID-19.
“The good news for medical providers stemming from COVID-19 is that we can now practice telemedicine,” said Julie Bearie RN, BSN and Vice President of SoCal Emergency Medicine. “We wanted to expand our offerings to include telemedicine a while back, but the insurance companies have been slow to respond to telemedicine.” Due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, the federal government now requires insurance companies to expand their coverage to include telemedicine.” Bearie went on to say, “This is excellent news for the consumer; however, it meant that we had to quickly expand our services, create new protocols, and update our website in less than 48 hours to serve our community.”
In addition to offering the telemedicine option, SoCal Emergency Medicine put in place precautions for all patients regarding COVID-19. “If you have any of the symptoms, we ask that you check in on our remote portal and wait in the car. We have you enter our urgent care centers through a separate door and have you go into a designated room away from other patients and areas of the facility.” Bearie continues, “if you meet the conditions for testing, we also have the option to come out to your vehicle to perform COVID-19 testing.” She adds that only 15% of the tests have come back positive. “It is allergy season, and some people think their symptoms are due to the virus instead of allergies.”
Recently SoCal Emergency Medicine has added COVID- 19 Antibody testing in all their locations in addition to providing the nasal swab test to see if you have the virus.
While the world focus is on COVID, Bearie is concerned that other medical issues are ignored because patients have canceled scheduled doctor visits or are too afraid of this virus to go to a doctor.
“Healthcare is essential, and I am concerned that people are not taking other health issues seriously or waiting too long to meet with a doctor,” Bearie said. The consequences of putting off a trip to the doctor may lead to a more critical and complex medical need. A routine urinary tract infection left untreated can become a kidney infection. “I want patients to know that they are safe to come in for sprained ankles, allergies, or testing. We put a patient’s health and well-being first and foremost all day every day, and we are open and ready to serve our community.”
SoCal Emergency Medicine also provides pre-employment testing, Tdap tests, tetanus shots, lab testing for pregnancy, blood tests, and more. “Patients are nervous about going to doctors’ offices, but people with diabetes need to have their blood sugar tested, ear infections still need treatment, and with at-home projects on the rise, we have on-site x-ray machines to check on that potential sprain when you fall off your ladder.”
The SoCal Emergency Medicine website has added the wait times for each facility listed and the ability to check-in online to “save your spot” so you spend less time in the office waiting to see a doctor.
Bearie was quick to mention how all the employees have worked diligently to transform each office to ensure that their patients are well cared for and know they are safe when they visit any of their locations. Bearie stated, “our team has always known how important it is to connect with our patients, but with the uncertainty surrounding the virus and patients feeling uneasy and vulnerable, our team is going the extra mile for our community.”
SoCal Emergency Medicine is open and ready to serve the community. For additional information, please visit: http://www.socalem.com/