NHRMC Physician Group Takes Steps to Protect Patients, Staff

March 23, 2020
NHRMC Physician Group has implemented a number of operational changes to protect patients, staff, and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes include additional virtual visit options and expanded safety procedures to ensure patients continue to have access to their providers and care teams.  
 
“We want our patients to know we are here for them when they need us, and we are committed to ensuring safe access to care,” said Dan Goodwin, Vice President of the Physician Network. “Our practices will continue screening and social distancing efforts to protect our patients and staff while offering creative new methods of patient interaction.”
 
Meanwhile, NHRMC Physician Group primary and urgent care practices have the ability to test patients for COVID-19.
 
“For patients that are concerned they may have COVID-19 infection, we want them to call or contact the office via MyChart,” said Jeffrey Warhaftig, MD, Medical Director of NHRMC Physician Group. “Then if possible we will screen them via video visit and see if there’s a need for them to come in for further testing. That testing can be done in a special isolation room or in a drive-up area where we can determine whether they have Strep or Influenza virus. Then, we will determine on a case-by-case basis based on the severity of illness and underlying medical problems whether we will need to send off for COVID-19 testing under current guidelines.”
 
Below is more information on virtual video visits and safety measures to ensure patients get the best care.
 
Virtual Video Visits
 
NHRMC Physician Group is offering video visits. Schedulers are proactively contacting patients to see how they would like to handle upcoming scheduled appointments. Many patients are choosing to schedule virtual visits instead of visiting the office. Individual offices can answer billing questions, but co-pays are generally the same for video visits as on-site visits. 
 
Added Safety Procedures
 
NHRMC Physician Group employees have worked diligently to implement new safety procedures, including:
  • Patients are able to register and check-in for their appointment without leaving the car. The patient will wait in their car until they are notified the exam room is ready so they do not have to sit in a waiting room.
  • Scheduling well and sick patients at different times.
  • Screening patients via telephone prior to sick appointments and screening patients at the entrances in most locations.  
  • If a primary care provider determines a patient is at high-risk for COVID-19, the patient can receive drive-up testing in their vehicle. This testing will only be done by appointment in coordination with the primary care provider.
Additionally, NHRMC Physician Group is participating in New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s planning and response to COVID-19 to ensure effective communication and processes between the inpatient and outpatient settings.
 
For more information on NHRMC Physician Group, visit www.nhrmcphysiciangroup.org.