PeakMed COVID-19 Advisory: Clinical Operations, TeleMed Visits, and Medication Refills

UPDATED: March 14, 2020

Dear PeakMed Member:

PeakMed is issuing a healthcare advisory to our members and making common-sense updates to our clinical operations effective for the next 30 days, from March 16, 2020, to April 15, 2020. 

For the safety, health, and wellbeing of our members, we will reschedule non-urgent clinic visits, encourage the use of TeleMed visits, and provide medication refills by mail or curbside pickup. 

We are aware of Colorado school districts beginning to close for extended periods of time and the potential impact this may have on PeakMed staff with children at home. 

We are also aware that the employers and employees we care for are also beginning to close or change staffing levels. 

Please review the steps we are taking to remain proactive as we respond to COVID-19 and the public health impact:

  1. Reschedule Non-Urgent Appointments
    For the safety, health, and wellbeing of our members, we will reschedule non-urgent clinic visits, so if you currently have an appointment scheduled, we will contact you to adjust your appointment. Your support and flexibility will allow us to serve our members and community who require urgent care in addition to avoiding unnecessary exposure.
  2. Reduce Clinic Traffic with TeleMed Visits
    Your provider may recommend a phone call or TeleMed visit over having you come into the clinic. Using your mobile device or desktop, you’ll have the option to call or video conference with your provider to discuss your healthcare needs. If your provider determines you need to come into the clinic, you’ll be scheduled for a visit right away.
  3. Medication Refills by Mail
    For the next 30 days, we will be shipping chronic medication refills to our members to help avoid the risk of exposure. Please allow 1-week lead time for your medication to arrive. We ask all members with chronic illnesses to make sure you have a 30-day supply available. Members will also have the option to pick up medications curbside at the clinic if they do not have enough supplies to get through. However, we would like to avoid unnecessary exposure as much as possible, so use the mail option as your first choice when applicable.

Why is everything closing for COVID-19?

The ideal goal of fighting a pandemic is to completely halt the spread. By using techniques such as school closures, staffing level changes in companies, and “mitigation” techniques, we’re working to protect our communities from the spread of the virus. This reduces the number of cases that are active at any given time which, in turn, gives doctors, hospitals, police, schools, government agencies, and vaccine-manufacturers time to prepare and respond without becoming overwhelmed.

As explained visually in the graph above, a high curve means the virus is spreading fast. A low curve shows that the virus is spreading more slowly. Keeping the curve down diminishes the rate at which new cases occur and prevents overtaxing healthcare resources (represented by the dotted line) available to treat them. Hence, if we mitigate exposure by closure, we can essentially get in front of the virus and minimize the number of people infected, decrease the economic impacts long-term, and, most importantly, improve the health and wellness of our community.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 Healthcare Concerns
Members with non-life-threatening COVID-19 healthcare concerns should call their PeakMed LifeCenter BEFORE visiting the clinic in-person. PeakMed has a policy and procedure in place to properly triage and screen members telephonically to ensure the wellbeing of all members and staff. We want to limit walk-in visits and encourage the use of virtual visits in an effort to protect the health of our patients and staff when appropriate. 

Medically-stable patients with suspected COVID-19 symptoms will be asked to wait in a personal vehicle or outside the LifeCenter where they can be contacted by a mobile phone call or text message when it is their turn to be triaged and medically screened for COVID-19 prior to entering the LifeCenter. 

Please remember that if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you should call 911.

COVID-19 Testing
Testing locations and criteria are changing daily. If a member is identified for COVID-19 testing, PeakMed will advise them on the appropriate steps. Consult with your provider directly on your testing instructions. 

On a personal note, I believe our schools, county officials, state officials, and employers understand the importance of mitigating the risk and spread of COVID-19. Containing the virus by closing schools and businesses is a  proactive approach to protecting our state and communities. These are difficult decisions for everyone, but I believe they are the right ones given what we know today. What we are learning on a daily basis about this virus allows us to get in front of it and mitigate the number of people impacted, so let’s continue to work together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Tomasulo
President & CEO
PeakMed Direct Primary Care