Heritage Family Medicine is pleased to announce that we have rushed into adoption the use of Telemedicine as available to our patients. We were moving in this direction, carefully - now we will leap - not quite sure how to land. Bear with us. We will be making adjustments as we go. We will even accept NEW patients who meet our usual criteria for service AND qualify clinically for telemedicine.
Telemedicine offers the promise of more convenience for the patient and, in this pandemic environment, a safer place to otherwise visit and work by moving some of your care off-site.
Washington State supports the development of telemedicine and has decreed cost parity (the same reimbursement from insurance as a regular office visit). Medicare has rushed forwards rules, making it acceptable for seniors who, especially at this time, should not make unnecessary trips - anywhere. DSHS (Apple Health) has also provided this opportunity for their clients (note: we contract, only with Molina, for children under 18 years old).
1. Must use two way video and be through a platform that ensures patient privacy.
2. Is by appointment only. FOR NOW, through our business office 360.740.0888. They have access to our scheduling system and can spend the (perhaps) extra time explaining, and helping you than can our currently over worked front desk.
3. Is for conditions appropriate to telemedicine such as:
a.) Follow up for chronic visits (i.e. review of BP records, wt loss progress, Diabetes, Depression, etc.)
b.) Counseling and education (i.e. screening COVID-19, travel plans, Family Planning, smoking cessation)
c.) Minor injuries such as back or ankle sprain.
d.) Minor illness, colds, flu, diarrhea or vomiting - you may wish a doctors note for and management help.
e.) some rashes - in part depending on the resolution of your camera and the size and distribution of the lesion(s).
f.) Periodic, necessary lab work (cholesterol, liver or kidney function, anemia recheck) can be arranged for or discussed, but obviously, you will need to drop by to have the specimen taken.
Telemedicine is NOT appropriate for:
a.) Preventative, school, work or CDL/DOT exams.
b.) Most NEW issues - there may be more involved than Dr. Google knew.
c.) Where there is a lump or mass to see and feel - video just does not do a good job of that.
d.) Potentially serious abdominal, chest, or neurologic issues.
e.) Anything for which an immediate specimen or x-ray is required (i.e. strep throat, influenza test, most urine infections, potential broken or dislocated bones, follow up pneumonia or heart failure).
f.) Anything that requires a procedure (i.e. cleaning an ear, suturing a wound or removing sutures).
g.) Never used for the initiation of any drugs of potential abuse (tranquilizers, narcotics, stimulants). HFM will, however, experiment with established patients with chronic pain or ADHD, to visit via telemedicine every 2nd visit.
How It Works
1. Call and request a telemedicine visit 360.740.0888.
2. You will need a smartphone, a laptop, or a computer with camera and microphone. A headset is nice.
3. When you schedule, you MUST provide a credit card (exception: DSHS). Charges are the same as if in the office. If your co-pay is known, it will be billed at the time you make your appointment. Your charges will be submitted where applicable to your insurance. What they do not cover after contractual discounts will be charged to your card as usual and you will receive the usual billing marked "Paid."
4. Just like in regular office visits, your provider may have unanticipated more complex patients before you, please allow for a one hour window after your appointment time when you will be available for your call.
5. At the time of your appointment, please be available by your designated means of communication, chosen at the time you made your appointment. You will receive an email or text message inviting you to enter the waiting room of Dr.______. Follow the online instruction to do so. Your appointed provider then "calls" you out of his or her electronic waiting room and your dialog begins.
Please be patient with us as we start this new adventure.