Anyone with a chronic condition today such as CKD needs to be extra careful during the pandemic as most of you already know. Telemedicine – the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology – is a good way for doctors to check in on patients without having to see them in person during these challenging times. Previously, reimbursement for telemedicine visits was typically restricted to those in rural settings where people didn't have close access to medical care. The recent government approved CARES act has eased telemedicine restrictions for physicians and allowed for reimbursement for these sessions. See the full list of coverage here.
For those of you who are on home dialysis or have a family member who is, being able to stay home as much as possible during this pandemic is no doubt a relief, as this allows you to limit your exposure to others. Outside of the need to go out for your monthly blood tests, if a situation arises where you want to have an in person visit with your doctor you can now see if you can have this visit remotely with your physician via electronic means or a phone call. Some healthcare systems already have telemedicine systems in place so it might be an easier endeavor than you expect.
If you have the need for a doctors appointment and have a good internet connection, an iPad, tablet or computer with a camera reach out to your physician’s office to see if it is possible for you to show your doctor via the camera or speak over the phone to describe any concerns you have versus going to the clinic, center or office in person.
For those of you not comfortable with or don’t have access to these technologies- reach out to your family members, friends or caregivers they can be a huge resource helping you get set up initially even if it is just them talking you through it over the phone.
Take Care everyone! We will get through this by thinking carefully about our actions, and taking the best precautions we can, remember we also have the help of the larger kidney organizations who are reaching out on our behalf to make sure patients are protected and have the resources they need to stay healthy!
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