April 13, 2020

How to Access Medical Care During a Pandemic

April 13, 2020

Cooley Dickinson Providers “Are Still Here” for their Patients with Telephone and Video Visits; Outpatient Clinics Expand Hours

NORTHAMPTON – The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has prompted Cooley Dickinson-affiliated health care providers to re-think how to deliver medical care.

“We are hearing that the public is anxious about accessing their primary care providers and other types of care they may need,” says Sari Miettinen, MD, Medical Director, Cooley Dickinson Medical Group. “Our message to them is that we are still here to take care of you, but in a slightly different way.”

Northampton Plastic Surgery with Simone Topal, MD
Simone Topal, MD, seated, right, with Northampton Plastic Surgery colleagues, from left, standing, Terry Tougas, receptionist; Donna Gulow, medical assistant, and Nicole Zarba, PA-C, seated. (Not pictured: Surgical Scheduler Kelley Vallandingham).

Staying Connected to Health Care Providers

Maintaining a connection with one’s medical provider, and the health care system in general, is important now more than ever, especially for people who have underlying, chronic health issues, Miettinen adds.

To do that, Cooley Dickinson-affiliated practices are offering telephone and video visits as a way to deliver care without having people go to their provider’s office when possible.

Calling the visits “touchpoints of care,” Miettinen says Cooley Dickinson providers want to make sure people have what they need and are managing their care all while doing their part to prevent (and curb) the community spread of infection.

Emergency Department Open for Life-Threatening Issues

The expansion of services is one way Cooley Dickinson Hospital is taking care of its community at its offsite locations in anticipation of a possible surge in patients at the hospital.

For the past few weeks, Cooley Dickinson has worked on “surge” capacity scenarios so that the organization is prepared to take care of the anticipated increase of patients who may need hospital care, particularly in the Emergency Department or in the Intensive Care Unit.

The Emergency Department is always open and its staff continue to care for patients who are experiencing heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening conditions.

Listed below ways the community can access care based on their symptoms:

Primary Care

For primary care, adult medicine and family medicine, patients can call their CDMG provider with their medical concern. The PCP will decide if the patient will be “seen” via video or over the phone. If someone is calling with flu symptoms, respiratory issues, or symptoms of COVID-19, the PCP will direct the caller to where they can be seen quickly.

If someone doesn’t have a primary care provider, they can call the Community Call Center (888-554-4234), weekdays from 8 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday, 8 am to 5 pm, for a referral to a primary care provider.

Clinics Treat Burns, Cuts, Lacerations; Offer Orthopedic Care; Expanded Hours

Cooley Dickinson announces expanded, walk-in hours for medical providers who treat orthopedic injuries as well as burns, lacerations, skin infections/injuries.

“I’m offering this clinic-based service now to help offload the Emergency Department in a time of need and to better protect otherwise healthy patients with soft tissue injuries in a smaller, more controlled environment,” says Plastic Surgeon Simone Topal, MD. “Repairing and treating urgent conditions like lacerations, abscesses, and burns is something I can contribute that I do routinely and well.”

  • The Plastic Surgery Clinic treats lacerations, abrasions, skin tears, anywhere on the body or face; burns anywhere on the body; abscesses/skin infections; splinters and nail bed injuries. Based in Florence, the Plastic Surgery Clinic (413-584-0044) is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

Chief of Orthopedic Surgery Jonathan Fallon, DO, reminds everyone to stay home and practice social distancing, “but if you do get hurt at home, our injury clinic stands ready to help take care of you.”

  • “If you have something bent, broken or generally pointing in the wrong direction, come see us.” Fallon says that the orthopedic injury clinic has been treating the community for years, and that “we are extending our hours in response to this public health crisis. Our additional evening and weekend hours might just hep you avoid doing to the ER.” Fallon adds that the clinic welcomes walk-ins; no appointment is needed.

The Orthopedic Injury Clinic treats fractures, sprains, strains and dislocations at their office in Hatfield. The Orthopedic Injury Clinic (413-586-8200) is open weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm and weekends from noon to 8 pm.

Urgent Care Southampton

Urgent Care is appropriate for people who are experiencing non-life-threatening minor illnesses and injuries; Urgent Care Southampton does not treat respiratory-related illness. If someone is experiencing respiratory problems, they should contact their PCP. The PCP will triage any respiratory concerns to a location where they can be seen quickly.

Walk-ins are welcome and no appointment is necessary. Urgent Care hours are weekdays, 8 am to 8 pm and weekends 9 am to 5 pm; their phone number is 413-527-1105.

Cooley Dickinson Women’s Health

For pregnant patients, Cooley Dickinson Women’s Health offers support groups and other programs via zoom meetings. Learn more by visiting the Midwives at Cooley Dickinson Facebook page.

VNA & Hospice

Employees from the Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice program continue to offer home visits and hospice services. VNAH is seeing patients for essential visits and is prepared with adequate personal protective equipment. Social work and spiritual care visits are done primarily via telephone, unless a situation warrants a face to face visit. Call 413-584-1060 for more information.

Rehabilitation Services

All rehabilitation locations are open with limited hours and have rescheduled non-urgent visits.

COVID-19 Community Call Center

Community members who have general questions about COVID-19 are encouraged to call the COVID-19 Community Call Center at 888-554-4234. Health care workers staff the phones weekdays from 8 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday, from 8 am to 5 pm.

For more information, visit Cooley Dickinson’s COVID-19 resource page.