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Laurel Health Centers launch more telemedicine appointments, expand hours

TIOGA COUNTY — As part of its proactive Coronavirus COVID-19 strategy, the Laurel Health Centers (LHC) are launching more virtual telemedicine appointments by phone and video in addition to expanding hours and weekend coverage.

Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to interact with patients virtually using a phone, laptop, computer, or tablet. A virtual visit (televisit) is conducted using audio and video in real-time, similar to video chatting on Facetime or Skype but using a special, secured healthcare platform.

Televisits are available to everyone. To reduce travel and time spent in public places, they are encouraged whenever appropriate for healthy patients, those managing chronic conditions, and those considered at higher risk for COVID-19 complications like seniors and the immunocompromised.

“The Laurel Health Centers are offering more telemedicine appointments to ensure you receive the same great care from the comfort of your own home,” explains Lara Jaussi, chief clinical officer for the LHCs. “Providers at all Laurel Health locations are offering in-person, phone, and video consultations to monitor and advise our patients’ health and wellness. The flexibility to see patients at the clinic or at home allows us to care for all our patients while keeping our most vulnerable populations safe.”

Patients do not need to download an app or have special equipment to schedule a televisit with Laurel Health. All that’s needed is an e-mail address and a phone or computer. If patients have a smartphone or a computer with speakers and a webcam, Laurel can conduct a video chat visit; if patients have a landline or older cell phone, Laurel can conduct the visit over the phone.

Laurel is also expanding its regularly scheduled hours. The LHCs are available 24/7 to answer health questions, review symptoms, direct care, and schedule in-person or telemedicine appointments. For a full list of locations and hours, visit laurelhc.org.

Patients who have a question after-hours can simply call their health center office or 1-833-LAURELHC (1-833-528-7354) to be connected to the LHC nurse triage line.

“All our patients will continue to receive the guidance and care they need whenever they need it,” assures James A. Nobles, LHC president and CEO. “Patients can reach us 24 hours a day by calling their Laurel Health Center, and we are extending hours to better serve our community throughout this pandemic. We ask that all patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who are concerned about a possible exposure continue to call ahead to their health center for advice. By calling ahead, you allow our team time to properly screen your risk, advise your next steps, and prepare for your arrival without the risk of exposing other patients or staff. Together, we can keep our community healthier.”

To schedule a telemedicine appointment, call 1-833-528-7354. For more information on telemedicine, COVID-19, or the LHCs, visit laurelhc.org or facebook.com/laurelhc.

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