Patients encouraged to make appointments online today at www.cayugahealth.org/telehealth.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Turner, Vice President, Public Relations
April 14, 2020 Ithaca, New York –– Cayuga Health System announced today that it is expanding Telemedicine services to rapidly expand its capabilities to allow patients to stay at home and have online appointments with their health care providers. The expansion is in response to the COVID-19 virus emergency and the subsequent regulatory changes that broadened the range of health services that can be delivered through Telehealth.
Within the Cayuga Health System’s hospitals and its partners, Telehealth is offered by over 200 providers at:
- Cayuga Medical Center
- Schuyler Hospital
- Cayuga Health Partners
- Cayuga Medical Associates
- Cayuga Wellness Center
Many Cayuga Health providers have online portals and accept email requests from patients seeking Telehealth appointments. Most portals also provide patients with their medical records, medication lists, diagnostic test results and summaries of medical visits. For specific instructions on how to schedule a Telehealth appointment at any of the Cayuga Health locations including Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, and Cayuga Health Partner locations patients can visit https://cayugahealth.org/telehealth. Additional information and a complete listing of participating Cayuga Health providers is also available using this link.
With the expanded Telehealth services, patients can use their smart phones, tablets and computers to have online appointments. Using a high-definition video and audio Telehealth link, patients and providers can hear and see each other in real time. A provider can evaluate a patient, develop a treatment plan, order medication and schedule follow-up appointments during a Telehealth visit. Most primary care physicians, specialty care providers, nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the Cayuga Health System participate in the Telehealth service.
“Telehealth is emerging as an effective and substainable solution for precaution, prevention and treatment to stop the spread of COVID-19,” states Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “This technology bridges the gap between our patients and providers so everyone – especially symptomatic patients – can remain at home and see their physicians for an appointment. This reduces the spread of the virus in the community and better protects our medical staff on the front lines fighting this pandemic.”
Shortly after the COVID-19 national health emergency began, physicians within the Cayuga Health Partners network of 60+ primary and specialty care practices saw a spike in the number of patients using Telehealth.
Cayuga Health Partners includes the area’s largest local medical practices including Family Medicine Associates of Ithaca, Cayuga Medical Associates, Buttermilk Falls Pediatrics, Dryden Family Medicine, Northeast Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, OB/GYN and Midwifery Associates of Ithaca and Trumansburg Family Health. Center. Patients can make Telehealth appointments with their Cayuga Health Partners’ practitioners by calling the provider’s office.
For a Telehealth appointment patients must have internet access, a smart phone, tablet, or computer with audio and video/webcam functions, and a browser such as Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
Some common conditions a primary care doctor may treat via telemedicine include: allergies, arthritic pain, asthma, colds and flu, diarrhea, infections, conjunctivitis, skin inflammations, sore throats and vomiting. Telehealth services can vary by a health provider’s specialty. A surgeon might use Telehealth to do post-operation check-ins with patients to make sure their wounds are healing properly. A gynecologist might use Telehealth to provide birth control counseling. An endocrinologist may do video chats with patients to discuss recent lab results and answer questions.
Fees are the same for routine Telehealth appointments and in-person office visits. Medicare and most private insurers have waived co-pays and deductibles during the COVID-19 emergency and have expanded the range of health services that can be provided by a Telehealth provider. Those waivers are expected to expire when the COVID-19 emergency ends, so check with your health insurer on fee changes. Public and private insurers payment schedules can vary depending the health plan and whether the patient has met the plan’s deductible. Check with your insurer to know what services will be covered and the amount of the fee the plan will pay.
“We can’t emphasize enough that Telehealth is not a substitute for emergency or urgent care,” adds Stallone. “Patients with urgent, acute conditions that are not life threatening such as sprains, simple fractures and rashes may need in-office care from their physician or visit a Cayuga Health System urgent care office when their physician is unavailable. When a patient requests Telehealth services, an initial assessment of the health issue is made to determine if Telehealth is appropriate for the person’s health needs. Patients having a medical emergency such as chest pains, seizures, head or neck injuries should call 911.”
About Cayuga Health
Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences.