The advent of COVID-19 has resulted in a decline in visits to the After-Hours Medical Care clinic as well as Aspen Valley Hospital’s Emergency Department, and that worries Dr. Joshua Seymour, Medical Director at After-Hours Medical Care.
“I want people to know that we are open and here to treat community members for all their injuries and ailments,” Dr. Seymour said. “We have a strong core group of doctors and nurses on duty, and we’ve taken every precaution to ensure our patients’ safety.”
After-Hours Medical Care in Basalt is the only after hours care clinic between Aspen and Rifle, so it serves an important role for area residents. The clinic is open from 3 – 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends.
One of the newest systems the clinic has incorporated to enhance safety is telemedicine, which connects doctors and patients via their phones or computers for an online—or virtual—face-to-face visit. Telemedicine supplements other systems and protocols that have been in effect at the clinic since February to protect both patients and providers from exposure to COVID-19.
“With our telemedicine practice up and running, we are able to serve some of our patients’ primary care needs and safely talk with people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms,” Dr. Seymour explained.
The addition of telemedicine is one of several changes at the clinic designed to keep patients and staff safe. When a patient drives up, they will find a sign on the door asking them to call the front desk where a staff member will ask them a few questions to help determine their needs and whether they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Patients are encouraged to call 970-544-1250 before driving to the clinic.
Most people are admitted after answering the questions and satisfying the staff that they are not likely to have been exposed to COVID-19. They are treated by doctors and nurses wearing the personal protective equipment (PPE) that the state of Colorado and Aspen Valley Hospital require. Surfaces are disinfected after each visit as well.
For patients who are afraid to visit a medical facility, or those who are beginning to experience COVID-19 symptoms, a telemedicine visit allows them to safely talk with a doctor to help decide what’s right for their care.
“It starts with a phone call so we can talk to the patient and figure out what’s best for them,” Dr. Seymour said. “That could be a visit to the clinic so we can examine you in person, a telemedicine visit or referral to higher level of care.”
The After-Hours Medical Care clinic provides a full range of medical care. It provides access to primary care services and specialists when needed. If a patient comes in with an injury or ailment that requires a specialist, the clinic can reach the on-call doctor from the various clinics, including OrthoAspen, Cardiology, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, Throat) and Women’s Health.
It can also be used to help patients with more serious COVID-19 symptoms arrange an examination in the Respiratory Evaluation Tent at Aspen Valley Hospital.
The important thing is for people to know that After-Hours Medical Care is there to meet all their needs, from sprains and cuts to more serious needs. The staff has taken every precaution to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We are open daily to help people for their injuries and ailments, and telemedicine gives us another tool to do that.” Dr. Seymour said. “We don’t want people to be home sick and too worried to talk with a doctor.”