LOS ANGELES – In an effort to ease the demand on urgent care facilities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic — and to reduce exposure potential — Dignity Health announced Monday the start of free virtual consultations for anyone experiencing mild to moderate symptoms characteristic of COVID-19.
“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,” Dignity Health spokeswoman Christina Zicklin said in a statement.
Patients interested in a consultation via Virtual Care Anywhere must request one via dignityhealth.org/virtualcareanywhere, or using the “Virtual Care Anywhere” app on the Apple App Store or Google Play store. Patients can also call 855-356-8053 and use code COVID19. After requesting a virtual care visit, patients will typically receive follow-up communication by a provider within 15-30 minutes, although high demand may result in longer wait times, Zicklin said.
Although the service typically carries a $35 per visit fee, patients who think they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will receive a fee waiver.
Virtual consultations are recommended for patients who are experiencing “less severe symptoms of COVID-19, such as a low-grade fever, a cough or shortness of breath,” according to Zicklin.
“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, Dignity Health 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.”