ECU Physicians offers virtual visits to community in response to COVID-19
Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2020
From East Carolina University News Services
GREENVILLE — ECU Physicians, the medical practice of East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, is taking steps to increase access to health care for community members, including those who are not ECU Physicians patients and those who do not have health insurance.
On Thursday, ECU Physicians will begin providing opportunities for anyone with COVID-19-related symptoms to see and speak to a physician via virtual visits. This includes those who may not have a regular primary care physician or whose primary care provider does not have telehealth capabilities.
Dr. Jason Foltz, chief medical officer of ECU Physicians, said the practice is taking these steps as a service to the large number of people who may be experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, but have limited health care options.
“The hope is to provide more access to testing for folks who need it and also to prevent unnecessary visits to emergency rooms or physicians’ offices,” Foltz said.
Regardless if they have a primary care physician or not, community members who are experiencing a cough, fever and/or shortness of breath can call 252-744-1111 for instructions on how to arrange a virtual visit with an ECU Physicians provider.
If the person has never been an ECU Physicians patient, they just need to have access to an email where they will be sent documents to be signed and returned prior to the appointment.
Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health, AETNA and Cigna insurance have all agreed to cover virtual visits and testing related to COVID-19. If the person is uninsured, ECU Physicians will accept payment at the time of the call. The base charge for a virtual visit for uninsured patients is $30, but individuals may qualify for discounts based on financial need.
Once they have been screened by the ECU Physicians provider, the patient may be directed to a centralized COVID-19 testing location for further evaluation.
“This is our way to reach out to our community in time of crisis to increase access to care for those patients who may not know where else to turn,” Foltz said. “This is a way for us to serve our community, because that’s what ECU does.”