The Latest from Immediate Care West!
Happy Star Wars Day! Hopefully everybody took advantage of yesterday’s sun and earned a Star Wars series binge day today. Not us! Immediate Care West is open and ready to see you today!
First some procedural updates. Due to pandemic quarantines, it has been pretty quiet here. Hopefully that means everybody is actually staying healthy! For us, it means some changes to the usual operating procedure.
St. Joe’s Imaging, the excellent diagnostic imaging group, provides x-ray service for us. They too are seeing fewer patients, and as a result have had to decrease staffing. For us, that means temporarily no x-ray is available on weekends. We can still see you for orthopedic injuries, but we might have to do the splint first and have you come back on Monday for the x-ray. X-ray is available during the week, although St. Joe’s Imaging is closing early (again, hopefully temporarily), so if you think you need an x-ray, please come before 4pm.
Because of decreased visits to Immediate Care West, and reduced availability of x-ray, we will remain closed on Sundays for the time being.
We have returned to full staffing and will keep our doors open the rest of the week. However, we are still encouraging video visits whenever possible.
We do have limited tests available for coronavirus PCR (the nasopharyngeal swab to test for acute disease) and coronavirus antibody (the blood test to check for previous infection). Because of the limited supply we are restricting testing to high risk individuals such as health care workers and first-responders, and for people coming in for other issues to be addressed. If you are interested in being tested, please call first to ensure we will be able to do it for you.
On that note, let’s talk about testing, since it has been a big news topic recently. In my practice of medicine, I have always been very judicious with testing. Before ordering a test, I always ask myself “Will this change how I treat the patient?” If the answer is no, I tend not to order it. Unnecessary testing is a huge contributor to the runaway cost health care spending in the US.
Regarding coronavirus testing, I am a little more open as we are trying to collect epidemiologic data to guide policy. However, by and large, it does not change management, and there is the added caveat that with the rush to get these tests online, we don’t even know how accurate and reliable the results are. The nasopharyngeal test is particularly uncomfortable to have collected correctly, affecting the accuracy of the test. Further, positive or negative results may give people a false sense of security.
So, my best recommendation to all is to use common sense. Maintain separation in public, cover your coughs and sneezes, which is just good policy for any respiratory illness. If you have severe symptoms you cannot handle on your own, seek medical care regardless of whether you think your symptoms are caused by coronavirus or something else. Immediate Care West is here to help with the small stuff, but the ER’s are open and safe to go to for emergencies.