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Here is the full story:
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) — Doctors and clinics across the Mid-state are changing how they treat people who might be sick from how they use protective gear to how they see patients.
Most people are not going directly to the hospital, but to clinics and family physicians like Complete Urgent Care in West Nashville on Charlotte Ave.
The clinic is now using a designated tent outside to check patients in, in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Staff encourages people with respiratory illnesses and issues especially to use the “curbside check-in” as a way to get seen faster with safety in mind.
“The biggest thing at this point is keeping people apart from each other,” said Dr. Ty Babcock, owner of Complete Health Partners. “What we realized is by treating our respiratory patients outside in their cars we were not going to have to mask each individual patient.”
The new service model allows sick patients with respiratory symptoms to receive the care they need while staying in their car. This reduces the potential spread of COVID-19 and allows other patients to seek treatment in a safe environment. The clinic’s waiting room is reserved for those who have other urgent care needs, such as stitches, x-rays and treatment for non-respiratory conditions.
The curbside check-in treatment lets staff treat common colds and minor illnesses outside. If needed, patients are brought inside for injuries or x-rays.
The new set up also allows medical staff to isolate people who may have the coronavirus.
“Early on we had a positive test,” said Dr. Babcock.
Dr. Babcock tells News4, his clinic has done under 100 COVID-19 tests since the start of the crisis and has a limited number of tests. He says a test can be given in a patient’s car if they are showing symptoms.
His staff outside is in full protective gear. He tells News4 separating patients this way also saves the clinic gloves and masks and saves people time talking with doctors outside.
“The labs are overwhelmed as well and so just being able to talk to someone who is a medical professional just kinda talk about what are the real risks and what does this disease look like.”
“If you are having symptoms that you would not normally seek medical attention for, we encourage you to follow the CDC guidelines and stay home. It’s important during this crisis that we reserve medical care for those who need it,” Dr. Babcock said. “If you are unsure, we can first screen you through a telemedicine visit.”
Complete Urgent Care also treats patients via tele-medicine over the phone. Dr. Babcock says a growing number of patients have started using the service in order to stay home and be seen by a doctor.
“Our clinic model has always been built on reducing unnecessary demand on Emergency Rooms and that need is more present today than ever,” said Dr. Babcock. “People haven’t stopped having accidents or injuries or getting sick with other illnesses. In fact, this continues to be an extremely active flu season. Unfortunately, we know that the demand on our local hospitals is likely to increase substantially in the weeks ahead before this pandemic subsides. Every patient we can treat outside the ER allows those healthcare workers to better focus on patients with life-threatening conditions.”
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