Dignity Health – Southwest Division announced on Monday, March 23, the launch of a free virtual urgent care service, Virtual Care Anywhere, for anyone in our community experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of the new coronavirus. Virtual urgent care visits are being encouraged as an initial care option for anyone who would like to discuss symptoms characteristic of COVID-19 with a health care professional.
As ambulatory and acute care facilities across the country experience an increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 symptoms, virtual health care visits can help providers such as Community Hospital of San Bernardino and St. Bernardine Medical Center meet demand while reducing potential transmission of the coronavirus.
The service is a safe and convenient way for people to speak with a medical professional for advice without needing to visit a physical care location. There are six Dignity Health hospitals in Southern California, including: California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles, Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center, Northridge Hospital Medical Center and St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, as well as Community Hospital of San Bernardino and St. Bernardine Medical Center in the Inland Empire.
To use the service, people can simply visit dignityhealth.org/virtualcareanywhere, download the Virtual Care Anywhere app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or call (855) 356-8053 and use the coupon code COVID19. The service has a fee of $35 per visit, and the fee will be waived for any patient who thinks they may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. After requesting a virtual care visit, a provider will contact the patient once they are available, typically within 15-30 minutes, although high demand may result in longer wait times. The service is on-demand and does not accept appointments.
“Virtual urgent care visits are one way we will help patients with COVID-19 symptoms assess their options for treatment or testing,” said Julie J. Sprengel, Southwest Division President. “Virtual visits allow for timely care delivery without putting other patients or our clinicians at risk for contracting the virus. And while it’s not intended to replace in-person care visits, it will help reduce patient volumes at care sites, so we can serve those who need care the most.”
Dignity Health knows this can be a scary time for our communities, and we want to ensure the public receives knowledgeable and helpful advice.
Health care experts are recommending virtual urgent care for patients with less severe symptoms of COVID-19, such as low-grade fever, a cough, or shortness of breath. People with mild symptoms who are evaluated virtually by a medical professional can avoid interacting with others and ensure they receive the appropriate level of care in the right setting.
Anyone experiencing severe symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as a high fever or difficulty breathing, should call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room. Dignity Health encourages people to call their medical facility in advance to notify the care team of any COVID-19 symptoms before visiting in person.