Nova Health Offers COVID-19 Serological Antibody Tests

EUGENE, Ore. – April 29, 2020 – Nova Health, a comprehensive provider of quality urgent care, primary care, physical therapy, and musculoskeletal services in Oregon and Montana, is now offering COVID-19 serological antibody tests at all clinic locations.

Serological tests for SARS-CoV-2 are intended for those individuals who either have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and had a negative molecular test, or those that were not tested when ill and now have recovered.  This test determines the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Part of the excitement of the new testing, is that it will have the potential to be used for patients who were ill this spring and were unable to get a test because of limited capacity.  According to Nova Health Medical Director, Marc Schnapper M.D. Nova Health’s ability to offer the serological antibody testing is part of its ongoing efforts to help our communities have a better understanding of the presence or absence of the disease.

“Nova Health is committed to the well-being of our patients, and all those in our community,” said Schnapper. “Accurate and expedited testing is vital to containing the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Thanks to this new test we can further meet our goals of evaluating and treating patients.”

A positive serological test indicates that an individual may have produced an immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  A negative test indicates that an individual has not developed detectable antibodies at the time of testing.  The most common reason a person may have a negative result is when the test is performed early in the illness as it can take up to two weeks to develop an antibody response.

Individuals who have had COVID-19 symptoms and are interested in obtaining this test should visit one of Nova Health’s clinics or use our telemedicine offering to determine if testing is needed. Nova Health has taken substantial measures to segregate patients with respiratory illnesses from other patients to ensure the safety of patients, staff and the community.  Our primary care clinics have been separated from urgent care facilites, and outdoor screening and separate entrances have been established to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

What is Telemedicine and How Can it Keep You Safe During COVID-19?

It feels like COVID-19 is the most significant health risk we are all facing this Spring, which is why it’s easy to forget that millions of Americans are still experiencing minor illnesses and injuries from sprained wrists, to sinus infections, to rashes. With significantly strained healthcare facilities becoming ground zero for the battle against COVID-19, many Americans in need of other minor treatments are fearful of a trip to their local urgent care or doctor’s office.

To provide a safe way for patients with minor injuries and illnesses to interface with their provider, without leaving home or increasing their risk of being exposed to a COVID-19 patient, healthcare providers across the nation are offering telemedicine services. Read on to learn why telemedicine is just as reliable as an in-office provider visit, and how it can help minimize your risk of COVID-19

 

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine services are similar to the services our patients receive in our clinics, except, they are provided in patients’ homes via an app or web browser. Using digital technology, patients and healthcare providers can see and speak to one another.

 

For What Types of Health Concerns is Telemedicine a Reliable Option?

You can make a telemedicine appointment for such mild injuries and illnesses as:

  • Allergies
  • Annual wellness visits
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic conditions if you are an established patient on a recurring treatment schedule
  • Cough or cold
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Follow-up consultation to imaging or lab work
  • Migraine or headache
  • Medication refills
  • Pink eye
  • Sinus problems
  • Urinary tract infection

You should see a healthcare provider in-person, or seek emergency care if you are experiencing:

  • An injury that requires hands-on care
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain

 

Can a Provider Prescribe Medication via Telemedicine?

Yes. During a telemedicine appointment, your provider may prescribe or refill many common medications.

 

Does Health Insurance Cover telemedicine?

Individual insurance plans may not cover telemedicine services. However, insurance coverage is evolving rapidly in response to Federal and State emergency proclamations addressing COVID-19 (coronavirus). Many insurers are adding coverage for telemedicine services. Talk to your insurance provider and ask if your current benefits plan includes coverage for telemedicine.

The Medicare Chronic Care Management Program is a national policy that does not currently restrict patient use of telemedicine. Medicaid reimbursement varies based on state. To determine if you have Medicaid coverage for telemedicine services, call your Medicaid office.

 

Is My Personal Health Information Secure?

Telemedicine appointments are subject to HIPAA compliance, which means your provider must offer you a secure technology service with which to transfer health information and conduct your appointment. Not every video conferencing services, such as FaceTime or Skype meets HIPAA compliance standards, so if you have any questions about security, talk to your provider’s office.

 

What are the Benefits for Me if I Choose Telemedicine?

Patients who seek telemedicine care benefit from:

  • Time efficiency—no need to take time off from work and drive across town to your doctor’s office
  • No travel expenses
  • Total privacy—you conduct your appointment from the privacy of your home
  • Safety from COVID-19 and other contagious viruses during the shelter-in-place mandate and other peak illness seasons

 

Is Telemedicine Technology Easy to Use?

Telemedicine technology is designed to be easy for all patients, regardless of their technical expertise. If you have concerns about being able to successfully use the necessary technology, ask your doctor’s office if it offers a helpful guide for patients.

 

Will Telemedicine Still be Available After COVID-19?

While many healthcare providers have implemented telemedicine to address their immediate need for caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not a new or temporary technology. Healthcare industry experts anticipate that telemedicine will continue to be a common choice for patient care long after we beat COVID-19.

Nova Health is now offering telemedicine services focused on treating new and existing patients for many common ailments. Telemedicine is available 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Click here to schedule an appointment.

Nova Health Implements Emergency Action Plan to Ensure Staff and Patient Safety During COVID-19 Pandemic

At Nova Health, our mission is to take care of our patients and each other. We have taken steps to protect our patients and our staff during this difficult time. While the impact of COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, we continue to monitor guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and address our patient care and staffing procedures accordingly.

To support national efforts to mitigate virus spread, effective March 18, 2020, we implemented an Emergency Action Plan. Among other steps, we have separated our business locations to designate specific clinics for urgent care treatment only, and other clinics for primary care and therapy services only. Please note the following changes to our clinic services:

  • Established Safe Zones within our clinics to separate exam rooms and waiting areas for patients with upper respiratory concerns
  • Dedicated patient screening protocols to identify at-risk patients based on present symptoms and travel history
  • Treating potential COVID-19 patients outdoors or in the car to protect our patients
  • Offering telemedicine appointments 7 days a week from 8 am – 8 pm from the convenience of your home. Visit NovaHealth.com/Telemedicine to learn more.
  • Following CDC-recommended isolation procedures for at-risk patients
  • Stocked preventive supplies and equipment in all clinics, including waiting room signage and the availability of respiratory masks
  • Elevated training for all clinic staff

In this ever-changing environment, we anticipate regularly updating information about COVID-19 and our processes to keep you safe.

Your health and safety remain our top priority at Nova Health.

What are the Different Types of Face Masks and What Will Protect Me from COVID-19?

What face mask is good for covid?

On April 3, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance encouraging all individuals to wear a face mask in public when obtaining essential services, such as grocery shopping. This latest evolution in our national efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 has left many wondering what the best type of face mask covering to use is, and how to wear one effectively. To help you minimize your risk of COVID-19, read our face mask guidance below, as sourced from the education provided by the CDC.

Why is the CDC Now Encouraging Facial Masks to be Worn in Public?

Initial guidance about COVID-19 contagion mitigation stated that there was no evidence to suggest that wearing a facial mask in public would protect someone who had not yet contracted the illness. Face masks, health officials advised at the time, should only be worn by those who have been exposed to someone with the virus or by individuals who have tested positive.

What we know today, however, is that a significant portion of individuals who have contracted COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning they do not initially, or may not ever, exhibit symptoms. Despite these individuals not realizing that they are a carrier of the virus, they can still spread it to others. For this reason, the CDC now recommends that everyone, regardless of whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms or believe they may have contracted the virus, should wear a face mask in public.

What are the Different Types of Face Mask Options, and What Should I Wear?

When out in public or when viewing COVID-19 news coverage, you may commonly see three types of face masks:

  • N95 Respirators – A particulate-filtering facepiece respirator that meets the N95 standard of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health air filtration rating because it filters at least 95% of airborne particles.
  • Surgical Face Masks – A mask intended to be worn by healthcare professionals during surgery to catch the bacteria shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the wearer’s mouth and nose.
    • Click here for more information about the differences between an N95 respirator and a surgical face mask from the CDC.
  • Homemade Cloth Face Mask Coverings ­– Bandanas, scarves, and cloths that cover the nose and mouth. 

The general public is encouraged to use a homemade face mask at this time. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are in critical demand, and the CDC asks that citizens reserve them for use by healthcare workers and other medical first responders. You can make an effective cloth face covering from household or other common materials. The CDC provides instructions for creating a facemask from t-shirts, coffee filters, bandanas, and other cotton clothes here. All face coverings must be disposed of after each use, or laundered before being worn again.

Note that all homemade cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit securely but not uncomfortably against the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops to hold in place
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for unrestricted breathing
  • Be launderable without damaging the material or changing the shape

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on anyone who:

  • Is under age two
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance

Stay Home. Stay Safe.

Over the next few weeks, as we continue to battle the global fight against COVID-19, stay home and stay safe. Follow social distancing requirements, and minimize unnecessary trips to public places, even if obtaining essential services. Together, we will flatten the curve of COVID-19 and recover as a world from this deadly and devastating illness.

If you think that you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or you have had symptoms Nova Health is now offering COVID-19 screening and testing. You can make a telemedicine appointment to get screened or visit any of our clinic locations

Be Careful What You Read – How to Find Trusted Information Online About COVID-19

It is difficult to open any news or information source these days without being inundated with information and opinions about the COVID-19 pandemic. It may feel like every news outlet is solely discussing the virus, that every brand is emailing you updates, and that every person you’ve ever connected with on social media is sharing information about their journey with social distancing.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

While it may feel like COVID-19 information is everywhere, until we flatten the curve of the virus and can resume routine travel, work, and lifestyle behaviors, we cannot safely tune-out the noise. We want to ensure you are following government mandates and fully understand your risks for contagion. It is vital to stay informed about virus spread and local mandates. What is just as crucial is ensuring that you are referencing guidance from trusted entities, and remaining guarded about advice from other sources—including well-meaning friends and family on social media who are unintentionally sharing misinformation and creating unnecessary anxiety.

To ensure you are obtaining news and education information from reputable sources, we have compiled a list of trusted outlets. Bookmark the following websites and reference these experts for any questions or concerns you have regarding COVID-19.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. They are leading global COVID-19 research and education efforts. Visit the WHO>>
  • Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. As of the time of this publishing, the number of identified cases of COVID-19 had exceeded 850,000 globally. With such staggering figures, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fully comprehend the impact of the virus on our communities, our nation, and the world. Johns Hopkins University & Medicine has created a dynamic and interactive COVID-19 global cases map to help illustrate the virus’ impact. The map is updated regularly to ensure it always includes the most accurate, current data. Visit the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center>>
  • Your Local Government Website. The battle against COVID-19 is heavily fought at the local level. For social distancing requirements, local business and public facility closures, possible testing opportunities, and restrictions that apply to your hometown visit your local government website. Many administrations have created dedicated COVID-19 resources pages. If you are a Nova Health patient who lives in Western Oregon or Montana, the following sites may offer the local information you need:
  • Your Health Care Provider. If you have any questions or concerns about your risk of contracting COVID-19, or if you are concerned that you have been exposed to the virus or are exhibiting symptoms, talk to your doctor. At Nova Health, you can trust that the COVID-19 information, education, and resources available on our website and social media sites all contain medically verifiable information that you can trust. To help our patients follow safer at home guidelines, we are also offering Telemedicine appointments with all our providers. Visit our COVID-19 resource page>>

Nova Health Offers Telemedicine Services to Provide Safe, Virtual Patient Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

Telemedicine

Nova Health, a comprehensive provider of quality urgent care, primary care, physical therapy, and musculoskeletal services in Oregon and Montana, has announced that it is now offering telemedicine services to new and existing patients. The new virtual provider-patient care service is part of Nova Health’s commitment to safely and effectively care for its patients and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine allows for the delivery of health care services and clinical information to patients using audio-video conferencing technology in which patients and providers can see and speak to one another via a mobile application or desktop computer. 

According to Nova Health Chief Executive Officer Bill Clendenen, the addition of telemedicine services represents a critical step in Nova Health’s efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19. 

“We are committed to safely caring for patients who present with symptoms that may indicate a COVID-19 diagnosis,” said Clendenen. “We have made changes to our clinic schedules and service models to minimize exposure of these patients to those seeking routine or non-COVID-19 related care, which remains vital during this pandemic. To further mitigate virus spread and ensure that patients are not delaying routine care or concerns related to minor illnesses or injuries due to worries about exposure to COVID-19, our telemedicine service allows patients to talk to a provider from the comfort and safety of their home.” 

It’s not necessary to speak with your normal provider, so patients can schedule a telemedicine appointment with any Nova Health provider. Telemedicine providers may prescribe and refill many common medications and provide care for many common ailments, such as allergies, bladder or urinary tract infections, bronchitis, cough and colds, diarrhea, fever, migraines/headaches, pink eye, rash, seasonal flu, sinus problems, sore throat, and stomach ache.  

“For now, our community members are safer at home,” said Clendenen. “Our new telemedicine services are allowing us to do our part to keep our patients safe and healthy at home.” 

New and existing Nova Health patients who would like to make a telemedicine appointment should call 541.225.4997 to speak with a member of Nova Health’s scheduling team or visit NovaHealth.com/Telemedicine 

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. What Does it Mean to be “On the Spectrum?”

April Is Autism Month

Approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To help spread awareness and support advocacy for this often misunderstood condition, on April 2, we recognize World Autism Awareness Day. To help do our part to strengthen understanding and acceptance for all those children, teenagers, and adults living with ASD, we share the information below to help explain what it means when someone says their son or daughter is “on the spectrum.”

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

ASD refers to a wide range of conditions characterized by difficulties with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.

Why is Autism Known as a “Spectrum Disorder?”

Individuals diagnosed with ASD experience a wide variation in the severity and manifestation of their symptoms. Some individuals are highly functioning but may exhibit some social behavior challenges, positioning them at the lower end of the behavioral spectrum. At the opposite end are those who suffer from more complex behavioral difficulties. Such individuals may have limited speech or cognitive processing capabilities. In the middle of the spectrum, from the highest functioning, lowest symptomatic cases to those with the most complex challenges is a broad scope of millions of people with varying levels of behavioral, speech, and social condition complications.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of ASD?

A physician or trained mental health care provider will look to assess a variety of a child’s behaviors, cognitive processing abilities, and social understanding to determine if he or she has ASD. What follows are just some of the actions observed in those with ASD. Again, with it being a spectrum disorder, some individuals may not show all the behaviors listed below, while others may exhibit many of them.

Social Challenges:

  • Making infrequent or inconsistent eye contact
  • Struggling to listen to or look at others
  • Difficulty following conversations
  • Being slow to respond to verbal cues, including hearing their name
  • Rarely sharing enjoyment through demonstration
  • A desire to speak at length about a topic without noticing others are not participating or engaged in the conversation
  • Showcasing facial expressions or gestures that do not align with dialog
  • Either a flat or sing-song voice tone
  • Difficulty understanding the opinions or perceptions of others, or an inability to predict others’ actions

Possible Repetitive Behaviors or Other Challenges:

  • Echolalia, a behavior marked by repeating words or phrases
  • A lasting interest in specific topics such as individual facts, details, or numbers
  • Focused attention on moving objects or specific object components
  • Irritation at a change in routine
  • Extreme sensitivity to sensory input, including noises, light, temperature, or clothing
  • Sleep difficulty
  • Irritability

While those living with ASD may face some of the challenges listed above, many are exceptionally gifted in art, music, science, and math, are keen auditory and visual learners, and can remember detailed information for long periods.

Who is Most Likely to be Born with ASD?

While doctors and researchers are still studying the causes and risk factors for ASD, current research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may affect ASD development. Other believed risk factors include:

  • A sibling with ASD
  • Being born the child of older parents
  • Genetic conditions such as fragile X syndrome, Rett syndrome, and Down syndrome
  • Low birth weight

ASD Treatment and Therapy

While ASD is not curable, those born with ASD can receive therapy and treatment to help them manage their symptoms and excel academically, socially, and personally. Treatment options for ASD include medication or behavioral, psychological, and educational therapy.

When to Get Help for Your Child

If you believe that your son or daughter may have ASD, talk to your doctor. He or she can help assess if your child has an autism spectrum disorder and can help devise a treatment plan to help your child cope with difficulties and excel at his/her strengths.