February 02, 2022
Most of us know we should watch for symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough and difficulty breathing. And if we have symptoms, we should test for COVID-19 and, if the disease is detected, reach out to our healthcare team. But what if we have other healthcare needs?
Due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, The University of Kansas Health System is prioritizing critical healthcare resources and reallocating services and support where necessary. This does not mean you should delay in obtaining medical care for routine, specialty or chronic needs including recommended screenings. We are committed to the safety of our patients and staff in providing quality care – during the pandemic and always.
You can seek our care with confidence. To safeguard our patients, visitors and staff, we have made some changes to the services we offer – and the way we offer them.
Here's a handy guide to help you understand your options for receiving care unrelated to COVID-19 during the pandemic and beyond.
Our emergency department has remained open and available throughout the pandemic. Call 911 or go to the ED if you have:
- Traumatic injury, including severe burns and compound fractures
- Heart attack or chest pain
- Stroke or symptoms of stroke
- Difficulty breathing
- Exposure to poison
- Concern for brain injury or concussion
Certain appointments require in-person visits. Contact your healthcare provider's office to see if your need requires an in-person appointment. Some of the many needs that require a traditional visit include:
- Cancer treatments
- Injuries such as tendon or ligament tears, non-compound fractures, etc.
- Prenatal appointments
- Chronic illnesses, especially those that require regular blood tests
If your care does require an in-person appointment, know that our health system is taking all necessary safety precautions, including asking staff and patients to wear PPE.
We also offer telehealth follow-up appointments for many healthcare needs. You can receive follow-up care without leaving your home.
Many routine and chronic healthcare needs can be met using telehealth, which electronically connects a care provider with a patient. Telehealth is a convenient, efficient option to address many healthcare needs including, for example:
- A prescription for allergy symptoms, urinary tract infections, rashes, strep throat and other conditions
- Ongoing management of diabetes, heart disease, cancer survivorship and other chronic conditions
- Psychiatry and behavioral health appointments, such as counseling for anxiety and depression
- Primary care appointments
There are several types of telehealth visits. Our scheduling team can help you plan the right one based on your medical needs and your technology capabilities.
- A telehealth video visit offers live communication between you and your provider and requires your device to have audio and video.
- A telephone visit allows you to receive care in phone communication with your provider.
- Care messaging entails communicating with your care team through the MyChart messaging center.
- An e-visit allows established adult patients to receive care from a nurse practitioner by smartphone or computer.
Our health system postponed many surgeries due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Delaying some nonurgent procedures has helped us prioritize and reallocate critical healthcare resources to support those most critically ill. We continue to perform essential surgeries and will gradually and thoughtfully reschedule those that were delayed.
As we begin to reconnect with patients to plan their procedures, we are considering a number of factors. We will first schedule surgical patients who require only local or regional anesthesia and who do not require an overnight hospital stay. We are evaluating the surgical staff needed for each surgery or procedure and ensuring we observe physical distancing and protect patients and staff with personal protective equipment (PPE) in closer spaces.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented a variety of important process changes.
- We continue to review and evaluate our visitor policies.
- We continue to practice safety guidelines including use of PPE, hand hygiene and physical distancing – such as reduced time in waiting areas, spacing seating at least 6 feet apart and managing patient volumes.
Always here for you
To help keep you and your family safe and fight the spread of COVID-19 in our community, we ask you continue to follow the pillars of infection prevention. If you haven’t already, schedule your COVID-19 vaccination.
Our expert team of physicians, nurses and support staff is committed – now and in the future – to your care. Routine and chronic care, including recommended screenings are important. We are here to provide care safely and effectively.