Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): How DispatchHealth is Responding

DispatchHealth team with car and PPE
Last updated 5/5/20

As coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) news spreads, it causes widespread fear and anxiety, making objective, reliable information (like that published by the cdc.gov and who.int) and choosing the right care options critical to protect yourself and your loved ones. 

This pandemic reinforces DispatchHealth’s dedication to helping people with complicated health issues recover comfortably while lowering medical costs. Our processes and capabilities are evolving quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the safety of our patients, communities and medical teams is our number one priority. 

What is Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)?  

According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.  

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains that people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19: 

  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

Or at least two of these symptoms: 

  • Fever 
  • Chills 
  • Repeated shaking with chills 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Headache 
  • Sore throat 
  • New loss of taste or smell 

However, this list is not all inclusive. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel sick. According to available data, most people (about 80 percent) recover from the disease without needing any medical care. Around one out of every six people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. Four out of five people that become infected catch the virus from someone that does not know that they have it themselves. Older people, and those with underlying medical conditions, are more likely to develop serious illness. 

Can DispatchHealth test for COVID-19?  

As of May 5, 2020, our teams are able to test for COVID-19. However, tests will be administered when our providers deem appropriate. Testing resources are prioritized for people who have a combination of COVID-19 symptoms and are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease 

Samples are sent to a national lab for processing, and results can take up to 3-5 days. 

How much does a COVID-19 test cost? 

COVID-19 tests are conducted by an external laboratory, so the patient’s insurance is billed directly for the test. Beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare should not have any out-of-pocket charges for the test under the new CARES Act. 

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19? 

According to the CDC, if you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately: 

  • Trouble breathing 
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest 
  • New confusion or inability to arouse 
  • Bluish lips or face 

However, this list is not all inclusive.

If you are concerned that you may have COVID-19, you can call DispatchHealth to get guidance on next steps. We will let you know if it is appropriate to get a test and have our medical teams visit you at home, or if you need to head to the nearest emergency room.  

Can DispatchHealth treat patients that have tested positive for COVID-19?

DispatchHealth team in PPE at home

As of May 5, 2020, our teams can treat patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 (except for patients in our Springfield, Massachusetts, and Ridgewood, New Jersey service areas)  

We have been working diligently to develop comprehensive infection prevention protocols and obtain adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) so our medical teams can safely treat you in your home.  

Download our app today or request care online. 

How Does DispatchHealth Treat COVID-19 Symptoms? 

Our teams can evaluate and treat symptoms and secondary conditions with the goal of keeping patients safely at home. We can help patients who wish to stay home with their family through this illness and create a plan of care consistent with the patient and their family’s wishes. 

Our team has nearly all of the capabilities of an emergency room. We can administer IV fluids, prescribe medication, and more. To ensure continuity of care, DispatchHealth provides a detailed report to each primary care physician, living community, or a home health agency, in addition to electronically sending prescriptions to a patient’s pharmacy if needed. 

If our team identifies a high-risk patient who is having life-threatening symptoms, they will escalate them immediately and safely to a facility where the patient can be monitored and treated with life saving measures.    

What else is DispatchHealth treating during this pandemic?

If you or a loved one have an illness or injury unrelated to COVID-19, but don’t want to risk exposure to coronavirus by leaving the house, you can get care delivered to your doorstep with DispatchHealth.   

Our medical teams treat common to complex illnesses and injuries so you can avoid crowded healthcare settings and limit your exposure to others. Whether it’s a fall, laceration or UTI — we can care for you at home during this stressful time to help keep you safe and provide peace of mind. 

Download our app today or request care online 

How is DispatchHealth keeping patients and medical teams safe?

Extensive infection prevention protocols have been put in place to ensure teams are taking utmost precautions when treating patients. Our teams wear surgical masks, gloves and protective eyewear for every patient encounter. For patients with respiratory and/or COVID-19 symptoms our teams also wear N95 respirator masks, gowns and shoe covers. Additionally, we wipe down kits and contents before and after every visit and at shift change, as well as disinfect the car. Plus, our teams follow strict guidelines for entering and exiting patient homes, as well as disposing of material used during patient care. 

Providing Timely Updates 

As the COVID-19 outbreaks evolves, we’re committed to keeping you informed on how to care for yourself and your loved ones during this outbreak, and how DispatchHealth is supporting your health and safety. Follow us on social media for updates. 

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