During the COVID-19 pandemic, providers far and wide are sharing the same message: “Don’t delay your health care,” urging people not to put off obtaining health care out of fear of contracting the virus. We’re passing on these important messages from the OneCare community of providers who want you to stay healthy, are taking extensive measures to ensure patient safety, and creating new ways to make health care safe and easily accessible, including by offering appointments by telephone and video.
Postponing health care can have numerous complications: minor issues can become more complex to treat, and issues from chronic conditions such as diabetes, COPD, or high blood pressure can become more difficult to manage. On top of physical health issues, providers are also concerned about individuals who have been isolated and may be at risk of depression, anxiety, or an exacerbation of other mental health issues.
Please keep the lines of communication open with your provider. Don’t put off routine checkups important to your health, and always go to urgent care or the ER for emergency health issues, such as symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke.
By now, it’s well known that staying home saves lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is an important caveat: When you need medical care, you shouldn’t suffer in silence. I’ve heard from providers across our health system who are concerned that many people are delaying necessary medical treatment. We worry about the impact this could have on our neighbors and communities. Our emergency departments and our urgent, specialty and primary care clinics are ready to care for you – whether via video and telephone visits or in-person visits when needed. Please make your safety, and your health, a priority.
Many people seem to be waiting for someone to blow a whistle and suddenly we will be able to all go back to seeking medical care in person. For those with chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and lung disease, we suggest a check-in visit with your primary care provider to be sure that your numbers and symptoms are under good control. When everyone suddenly wants an in person visit, it may be hard to be the first in line. It is also more important than ever to be able to communicate with your doctors about equipment related to your health – for example if batteries for a blood pressure monitor need to be changed, or you need a new device or testing supplies, please call the office and work at getting your home monitoring devices in tip-top shape.
During this COVID-19 pandemic when you are trying to stay safe and healthy, it is important to remember that your primary care provider is available to help you with that. Providers are ready and eager to help you with your health care concerns. You can still call the office with questions and concerns, receive advice and reassurance, schedule a telemedicine or office visit, or obtain a referral. We do not want to see people delaying care due to their fear of the virus, only to present later with a much more serious or complicated illness.
Resources and messaging from our partners
- Post: Avoiding the Emergency Room? Waiting Could Be Worse
Via University of Vermont Health Network: Illness and injuries happen. During the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Vermont Health Network providers have found a concerning trend: people are delaying the care they need. Out of concern for coronavirus infection and reserving care for critically ill patients, people are deferring care and smaller health concerns are growing into larger ones.
- Audio/Discussion: Navigating Routine Medical Care, Elective Procedures During the Pandemic
via VT Edition: While people seem to be avoiding doctor’s offices and urgent care facilities due to COVID-19, getting regular check ups, vaccines and medical care are still recommended by doctors and state health officials. VT Edition (of VPR) chats with doctors and specialists about keeping up routine health care and the return of elective procedures.
- Video: Coronavirus PSA from VAHHS and VT Department of Health
Via: VAHHS and Vermont Department of Health: Hospitals and health practices are now able to deliver care you may have had to postpone during the pandemic. This video explains what to expect.
- Video: Don’t delay your care because of COVID-19. Your health is important.
Via University of Vermont Health Network: The University of Vermont Health Network has safe, secure and easy ways to get the care you need right now. Don’t delay your care – stay healthy.
- Post: A Message from the Vermont Association of Hospitals & Health Systems CEO
Via VAHHS: A message from Jeff Tieman, CEO, urging Vermonters to pay attention to their health needs.
- Post: Time to Get the Care You Postponed
Via VAHHS: A message from Jeff Tieman, CEO, detailing the new normal health care facilities will all follow to protect staff and patients.
- News story: The doctor is online: Telehealth may become big part of new normal
Via VTDigger: Quoted: Dr. Andrea Green of University of Vermont Medical Center
- Post: Five Questions with the Chair of the Department of Surgery
Via Southwestern Vermont Health Care: Malcolm Paine, MD, of SVMC OB/GYN, serves as the chair of the Department of Surgery for SVMC. He answers five questions about COVID-19 and how it feels to deliver care right now.
- Post: Delaying Care Is Dangerous: One Patient’s Journey
Via University of Vermont Medical Center: A story about a patient’s medical experience during the pandemic.
- News story: Alice Hyde Hospital offers curbside, virtual appointments
Via NBC5: Dr. Todd Whitman says people are worried about contracting the virus while at the hospital, or they simply do not have access to the technology for a virtual appointment. A team at the medical center established a curbside, virtual appointment program to help.