← Well Fall 2020
Getting Preventive Care in the Age of COVID-19
The pandemic has put a pause on many aspects of our lives
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a pause on many previously routine aspects of our lives. For some people that includes routine medical care. But the importance of preventive care isn’t taking a break just because COVID-19 is in the headlines. It’s critical to remember just how important checkups, vaccinations, preventive screenings and other types of non-emergency medical care are when it comes to staying healthy and controlling costs.
It’s understandable that people are wary of going to the doctor’s office while COVID-19 is still prevalent. But it means that patients need to be extra proactive about their health and make smart choices about when it does and doesn't make sense to do an in-person visit. Otherwise, medical problems that might have been detected early could turn into more serious and costly issues.
We’ve got a few tips for preventive care during COVID-19:
Ask your provider about safety measures
If you feel apprehensive about going to a medical facility, talk with your provider to find out what measures they’re taking to keep patients safe. In general, outpatient clinics, hospitals and other facilities are taking rigorous safety measures, like enforcing mask wearing, performing temperature checks, limiting the number of people in waiting rooms at any given time and configuring their space for social distancing. Patients with COVID-19 symptoms, or who think they may have been exposed to the disease, are generally kept isolated from other patients and providers. Learning about the steps your providers are taking to ensure patient and provider safety may put your mind at ease.
Stay on top of your preventive screenings and well visits
If you’ve missed routine physicals for yourself or your child or have had to cancel or postpone cancer screenings, heart disease screenings and other routine tests, contact your healthcare provider about rescheduling. Your doctor or other provider can help you understand which appointments should or shouldn’t be delayed, based on your specific medical history or condition.
Think twice about postponing immunizations
Routine childhood vaccines are still crucial despite the pandemic. Some of the diseases these vaccines prevent, including measles and pertussis, are very contagious and in some cases life-threatening. Flu shots, meanwhile, are especially important this fall and winter. Talk with your health care provider about how to keep yourself and your family up-to-date on your immunizations.
Video and telephone visits with providers are a safe, convenient alternative to in-office visits for routine health concerns, or to determine whether an in-person visit for testing, imaging, or a physical exam is necessary. For Tufts Health Plan members, out-of-pocket costs for telehealth visits with network providers, including behavioral health, are waived until further notice.
Stay in touch with your care managers
If you a have a chronic or serious condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, or a mental health or substance use disorder, and you have a dedicated care manager, be sure to stay in touch with them. They can advise you on preventive measures to help you manage your condition and avoid complications or hospitalization, connect you with resources if you need them, and help you safely get in-person care if you need it.
Take care of your own health
Eating well, exercising and getting good sleep are more important than ever. If you’re a Tufts Health Plan member, it’s a good time to take advantage of some of the wellness perks and discounts available to you, including weight loss discounts, smoking cessation programs, nutrition coaching, online stress management and yoga, and more.
If you need to get tested, get tested
If you have flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, fatigue, muscle or body aches, call your health care provider and find out how to get tested for COVID-19. Drive-through testing sites are available at many locations. It’s important to get tested both for your own health and that of others with whom you may have come into contact.1
At Tufts Health Plan, we’re committed to helping our members stay healthy and safely connect with the medical care they need.