BOISE, Idaho — COVID-19 is changing a lot more than just the way we work and socialize. Many medical professions are turning to technology to treat patients through telehealth.
Terry Reilly Health Services, treating 40,000 patients across southwest Idaho, is among providers embracing the change.
"So I would say, like everybody, COVID has turned out world upside down," Terry Reilly CEO Heidi Hart said. "When people call and schedule an appointment, our scheduling team, it's the very first question they ask: Do you want your appointment in-person or through telehealth?"
In the spring, as coronavirus cases started to appear in the Treasure Valley, Hart says 60% of their appointments transitioned to telehealth, allowing patients to meet with providers via Facetime or Zoom.
"Virtual visits have been wonderful for medical and behavioral health in particular, so people can still see their provider but they can do it from the comfort of their own home," Hart said.
Terry Reilly offers a broad spectrum of services, ranging from pharmaceutical needs and dental care to behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment.
"[Telehealth] really a great modality for counseling visits, for psychiatric medication management visits, as well as primary care visits that don't require some sort of on-hand physical contact with a provider in order to render medical services," Hart said.
Unlike many medical facilities, Terry Reilly doesn't turn patients away because of their inability to pay.
"Certainly if somebody has Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance, we work with those partners to make sure people have access," Hart said. "But we also have a sliding fee scale that makes us able to match the cost of health care to people's financial resources so that nobody goes without access."
And for the future, with or without concerns of COVID-19, Hart says telehealth for Terry Reilly is here to stay.
"It's something both providers and patients have come to appreciate," Hart said. "It's faster, it's easier, and so I don't see it going anywhere anytime."