Procrastinating seeing a primary care provider? This medical group advises making regular visits

40% of adults in the U.S. have put off going to the doctor for fear of catching COVID-19

WellMed and UnitedHealthcare

COVID-19 has altered our sense of normalcy and the way medical groups practice medicine.

From online video visits to curbside care, WellMed and others have changed to make sure patients get the care they need while staying safe.

While there are times when a face-to-face visit is needed, and safe to do, many people are still avoiding their necessary care.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau, 40% of adults in the U.S. have put off going to the doctor for fear of catching COVID-19.

“I urge you not to do that,” said Dr. Joshua Beck in a brief interview with KSAT12. “You’re avoiding COVID, but you are putting yourself in perhaps even more danger.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides clear guidelines on how primary care providers should prepare and maintain clinics to protect patients and health care workers.

Listed below are some of the safety measures that WellMed has implemented to keep its employees and patients safe during the coronavirus.

  • Staff temperature checks twice daily: All staff must undergo temperature checks at the beginning of the day. Any employee with a fever is sent home. Before they leave for the day, their temperature is checked again.
  • Hand sanitizer: Hand sanitizer is available throughout the clinic.
  • Regular sanitizing: “We sanitize common surfaces several times a day and sanitize exam rooms between every patient visit.”
  • Wait in your car: If you arrive early, you might be asked to wait in your car until it’s time to be seen. This limits the number of people in the clinic.
  • Limiting visitors: You’re asked to come to your appointment alone, or with only one other adult. WellMed strongly discourages patients to bring children to the clinic.
  • Visitor temperature checks at the door: All patients and visitors must have their temperature checked before they enter the clinic. Anyone with a fever may be asked to be screened for COVID-19.
  • Masks are required: Masks are required by anyone entering the clinic. If you don’t have one, WellMed will provide you with a disposable mask.
  • Social distancing markers: WellMed clinics have markers that help patients keep at least 6 feet of distance for safe interactions.
  • All staff wears personal protective equipment: All clinic staff are required to wear personal protective equipment. You may notice staff wearing a mask over a mask, or a face shield over a mask. This further limits the risk of exposure.

In addition to in-office visits, WellMed now offers other safe options:

  • Online video visits: Patients can meet with a physician or advanced practice clinician using a smartphone, tablet or computer. It’s a convenient way to get care while limiting your exposure.
  • Curbside care: If you don’t want to come into a clinic, no problem. The clinic will care for you from the comfort of your car.

Stay safe and stay well. WellMed says it cares -- and is committed to being there for you during this difficult time, and hopefully well into the future.