As the COVID-19 situation in RI takes a turn for the worse (yet again) we find ourselves in a predicament as patients. The hospitals in RI are over 90% capacity for inpatient beds and ICUs are at more than 80%. This has been true on and off for a majority of the COVID pandemic. In states like FL, which are extremely hard hit right now, some ICUs and hospitals are unable to accept any patients. A nationwide news story recently revealed patients have died because they cannot get non-COVID-related hospital care when they need it and their local hospital is full.
Why am I telling you all this? Not because I am trying to scare you out of going to the hospital when you need it or to make you think all is lost. I am telling you this to emphasize NOW is a more important time than there ever was to get yourself a trusted Primary Care Doctor (PCP). PCPs can address your needs before you become very sick, can order testing as an outpatient to avoid waiting in the ER or urgent care, and we can help you identify illnesses and treat them quickly.
Direct Primary Care PCPs are even more capable of preventing the need for hospital usage. Why? Simply put - because we can be reached when you need help. In the recent months, as COVID has surged in some areas thanks to the Delta variant, we have had more patients fall ill and ask for help. As a DPC doc, I can text with my sick patient while they wait it out at home. I can advise that they have a pulse oximeter and can order Monoclonal Antibodies - for example. They don’t have to wait in line at urgent care or the ER to get the advice they need on how to weather the storm or get this life-saving treatment.
Now more than ever, Direct Primary Care PCPs should be a key part of your healthcare team. We are here for you when you need immediate access to a doctor who knows you well and we aim to help you prevent (and when needed - to treat) chronic and acute illnesses. To find out more about how we practice primary care differently, check us out at www.directdoctors.org
Lauren Hedde, DO; James Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Co- Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.