During the Coronavirus outbreak, staff at Barnum Internal Medicine at the Natchitoches Medical Specialists building on Keyser Avenue created a drive thru testing area to see patients outside the office. Louisiana is projected to be the next New York when it comes to the current coronavirus outbreak. However, Louisiana’s patient demographic is completely different. Being mostly rural, residents don’t have access to care like in NYC or other large cities.
“We are trying to address these needs,” said Dr. Meg Barnum “We have moved quickly to react and adjust to meet the medical needs of the community in this crisis. I am all about community health.”
One way Dr. Barnum’s office is protecting community health is with Telehealth virtual office visits through Aledade, which started offering a comprehensive telehealth solution on March 20 so physicians across the nation can offer patients timely telehealth visits. In just three days, more than 150 practices implemented the platform.
“We’ve done a few FaceTime appointments already,” said Dr. Barnum. “We’re calling people who are scheduled for visits and utilizing the telehealth platform to keep them at home if possible. We want to minimize the spread of this virus to our healthcare professionals and our patients.”
Clinical Pathology Laboratories, located in the Natchitoches Medical Specialists building, has been instrumental with the COVID 19 swabbing.
This is all totally new territory for those in the health care industry.
“There’s a big difference in how we’re viewing health care now,” said Registered Nurse Dana Cox. LPN TyCianna Caldwell agreed. “It’s scary how fast it’s spreading. Several weeks ago we started to hear about the coronavirus in other parts of the world and then, bam, it’s here.”
The office staff and doctors are also trying to stay up-to-date on all information pertaining to the virus. “I listen to the President’s press conferences and podcasts that discuss breaking news in the world and US,” said Dr. Barnum. “I also tell patients besides not touching their nose and eyes, they should call their pharmacy and get a 90 day supply of their routine meds. They can fill them early. 80% of all generics come from China and India and now India is in a countrywide lockdown.”
A side effect of the outbreak is a lack of supplies, particularly face masks. The office has face shields ordered, but they won’t be in soon enough.
“Through all of this our main goal is helping maintain the health of our community,” said Dr. Barnum.
If you’re exhibiting symptoms and want to schedule a drive up test call 318-352-9880.