Madison Free Clinic Announces Free Telemedicine Solution

Distance and travel time between patients and care providers can limit access to care. Fortunately, telemedicine can overcome geographic barriers to healthcare, especially for specialized providers. Telemedicine can be particularly beneficial for patients in medically underserved communities and those in rural geographical locations where clinician shortages exist.

A recent study showed that with telemedicine, patients had:

• 38% fewer hospital admissions
• 31% fewer hospital re-admissions
• 63% more likely to spend fewer days in the hospital
• Were more engaged in their healthcare

A strong doctor-patient relationship is the foundation for high-quality patient care and reducing health care costs. Telemedicine should support, not replace, traditional care delivery. With telemedicine care providers can continue to care for patients in-person care while still providing the flexibility and convenience of seeing patients remotely for follow up visits, check-ups, and education when appropriate or necessary.

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5 Coronavirus Facts to Share WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida

This information doesn’t mean you should panic, but you do need to take the pandemic seriously. Everyone has a responsibility — not only to protect themselves, but to protect their friends, family, neighbors, and community. You don’t want to be a vector for the virus, and the best way to curb the outbreak is to strictly practice social distancing.

1. People are contagious very early on in the infection, potentially even before they’re symptomatic. A study conducted by researchers in Germany found that nine people infected with the novel coronavirus were shedding huge amounts of the virus — thousands to millions of copies — as early as Day One of their infection, when they had only mild, cold-like symptoms. In fact, virus levels in the nose and throat were highest on that first day and declined in the days after. This suggests that infected people are shedding the virus even before they are symptomatic.

2. It can take up to 11 days for symptoms to appear after infection. Research has shown that the median incubation period is five days. That means some people will develop symptoms sooner and some will develop them later. The study also reported that only 2.5% of people showed symptoms two days after exposure, and 97.5% of people were symptomatic after 11 days. This means that if you’ve come into contact with someone who has the virus, you need to quarantine for the full 14 days to be safe. This timeframe is especially important because you can be highly contagious during this time and not even know it (see point above).

3. The virus lives on surfaces for up to three days. In an experiment, scientists created an aerosol that contained the novel coronavirus to mimic how it would be spread by a sneeze, a cough, or an exhale. Then, they sprayed that aerosol onto different surfaces to see how long the virus could survive. On copper, the virus was detectable for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastics and stainless steel for two to three days. This means that objects can remain contaminated for a much longer time, and people can become infected with the virus if they touch the object and then touch their face. You can also get infected if you inhale a sick person’s sneeze, cough, or exhale.

4. The rate of the infection is growing exponentially. The WHO estimates the infection rate for the novel coronavirus is between 2 and 2.5, meaning that every person who gets sick will infect another two or three people. At that pace, the number of people with the virus will double every six days. This rate has led epidemiologists to predict that 40% to 70% of the population could contract the virus if extreme social distancing measures aren’t taken.

5. It’s not just old people who are getting seriously sick. A lot of young people have blown off the risk of Covid-19 because most of the deaths have been reported in people over the age of 60. However, a new report by the CDC found that in the U.S., 38% of people who were hospitalized for Covid-19 were between the ages of 20 and 54, and 12% of ICU beds were taken up by people aged 20 to 44 years. Even if the virus doesn’t kill you as a young person, it can still make you very sick.

The truth about treatments

Researchers and doctors are searching for effective treatments for this coronavirus, but the work has just begun. Know that there is no treatment for Covid-19 that has proven to be safe and effective.

Chloroquine and the closely related drug hydroxychloroquine have been around for decades. Chloroquine is used to treat malaria and hydroxychloroquine is used to treat autoimmune conditions such as lupus. The drugs, generally considered to be safe for most patients, can have side effects including seizures, nausea, vomiting, deafness, vision changes and low blood pressure. DO NOT TAKE THESE DRUGS without medical supervision.

Chloroquine is being fast-tracked for clinical testing as a treatment for COVID-19, however, it can have deadly side effects — particularly if accidentally ingested by children.

There is limited evidence, partly from studies on human cells, that they could have antiviral effects — one hypothesis being that they could make it harder for the novel coronavirus to bind to human cells.

Remdesivir is another experimental drug being trialed. The antiviral has been used for other coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, as well as Ebola.

Doctors in China, France, the United States, and other countries are using the drugs experimentally in Covid-19 patients, but there is not yet sufficient clinical evidence that it’s effective in humans. That’s why trials are needed. They take time and we do not have the answers yet.

“Using untested drugs without the right evidence could raise false hope and even do more harm than good and cause a shortage of essential drugs that are needed to treat other diseases,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.

Stay at home to save lives

As a doctor, it’s hard to hear my colleagues on the frontlines of the pandemic pleading for more masks and gowns so they can stay protected. While the federal government has mobilized industry to make more masks, I keep hearing stories of people stepping in and donating masks and gowns. Fashion designers are sewing masks and engineers are making them with 3D printers. It’s truly amazing to hear how people are stepping in to try and help.

But, here’s the thing — you don’t have to have a 3D printer to help. All you have to do is stay at home. Stay home and you reduce your chances of contracting or spreading the virus. While many people are heeding this advice on their own, more than a dozen states have issued orders essentially requiring residents to stay at home. As of today, with more state orders in effect, more than 40% of the US population is now officially being urged to stay home.

Now, staying at home doesn’t mean everything is shutting down. Essential services such as groceries, pharmacies, gas stations, food banks, convenience stores, and delivery restaurants have remained open in many states, as have banks, law enforcement agencies, and some local government offices.

If you do need to be among other people, limit your gatherings to no more than 10 people and remember to keep 6 feet between yourself and others.

A letter from one of our patients

Universal blue circle symbol for diabetes
Universal blue circle symbol for diabetes

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a patient at the Madison County Free Clinic.  I would like to tell a little of life’s story.

I have always been a working man. I started out working at 12 years old between the school years and on weekends. I worked for my uncle, building homes. I did this for about 5 years until I got out of school. I immediately went to work full time as a mechanic. I worked for many years as a technician and service manager for a local family-owned business.

But let’s back up a little. When I was in my mid to late twenties, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. And also severe gouty arthritis. Over the years, the conditions became extreme. By the time I was in my 40’s, I had diabetic nerve damage and also joint damage and circulation problems in my feet and legs. The pain at times was unbearable. I continued working until I was 52 years old. At that point, I was at the end of my rope. I didn’t know what to do.  My doctors had told me that I needed to get off my feet before I ended up losing them. So, with no other choice, I had to leave a job that I loved and the people that I had cared for and worked with for many years.

Now, what was I going to do? The last time I picked up my insulin at the pharmacy before my insurance ran out, I asked the pharmacist how much insulin would cost when I had to pay for it? The answer about floored me. One month’s supply of both types of insulin was going to be $997 and change.  This was very bad news.

Thankfully, one of my nurses, at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, told me about a program with the manufacturer of the insulin. So, my wife did all the paperwork and sent it to the drug manufacturer. With the help of the Free Clinic, we were approved to get my insulin at no cost. This helped greatly!

Well, it’s been 5 years. Every year, I have to re-qualify. The wonderful staff at Madison Free Clinic does this for me. Along with approval from my Doctor, they submit my paperwork and every year I’ve been approved and continue to get my insulin at no cost. This is literally a lifesaver. I don’t know how I could possible manage to get my insulin without the help of the Free Clinic.

After having nearly 40 years of work history, the hardest thing I ever had to do was walk into the Madison Free Clinic and ask for help. I was delightfully surprised! I met some of the most caring and respectful people I have ever met in my life. My very special thanks to Diana Kornegay and Brenda Clements and all the staff at Madison Free Clinic.

Here’s everything you need to know about social distancing

To stop the spread of coronavirus, health officials have instructed the public to practice social distancing — staying home, avoiding crowds and refraining from touching one another.

Although living like that can be lonely, inconvenient and even frightening, it’s for the greater good, says Danielle Ompad, an associate professor at New York University’s School of Global Public Health.
“It’s uncomfortable,” she told CNN. “But it requires us to be good citizens. People have to learn how to think about the collective rather than the individual.”
To help you do that, we answered your biggest questions about social distancing…