As we pass one year since the pandemic started, it is time to take stock of our overall health and what it means to us as individuals. It’s important to note the collateral effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our individual health as well as the overall wellness of our community. Many avoided or delayed care (both urgent and routine) to lower the risk of acquiring COVID-19. We now have evidence that this shift has led to delayed diagnosis and treatment which results in poor outcomes.
While we can celebrate some success as the number of vaccinated individuals increases in the United States, we still struggle with effects of social isolation and the surge of mental health problems that accompany it.
Prior to the pandemic, it was common for patients to avoid the “hassle” of the traditional health care system. Patients disliked the “big production” around getting an appointment and waiting to be seen as well as the amount of time and energy spent to engage with the insurance-based model of care. Often patients delayed care because the cost was not transparent and surprise billing was never popular. Between copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums most people have no idea what costs to expect when they seek the care that is recommended.
The pandemic has accentuated the difficulties of getting care… we have witnessed that our health care system is beyond broken. It does not serve patients and the time for change is past due.
What if getting care was as easy as scheduling online and speaking directly to your doctor via phone text or email whenever needed? What if there was no “hassle” to get an appointment and no wait to see your doctor? The Direct Primary Care (DPC) model has made this a reality. Your physician is easily accessible with time to address all your health concerns. DPC is the future of health care and is championed by physicians around the country dedicated to doing what is best for their patients. DPC takes away the “pain” of seeing the doctor. It emphasizes the value of the patient-physician relationship and creates space for shared decision-making around health and wellness. DPC provides excellent care, transparent pricing, and unparalleled accessibility.
During the pandemic, DPC patients had unlimited access to their physician. They were engaged in healthcare prevention and maintenance conversations with their physicians. They received superior care by having direct communication with their physician. There were no “surprise” bills because DPC membership fees are transparent and extremely affordable.
As with anything difficult, we can always find a silver-lining… and we must if we want to continue to grow and improve. The pandemic has made the case for DPC. We all deserve better health care. The foundation for improved health outcomes lies in the rebuilding of a solid physician-patient relationship. How we get through it all… will always depend on… who we get through it all with.
The disease that is caused by the SARS CoV2 virus presents and transmits like many other respiratory viruses which makes it difficult to identify and contain. I would like to provide information about the period from when someone is exposed to the SARS CoV2 virus, when they are infectious, and when they are most likely to have a positive test.
The graph above illustrates the timeline of COVID-19 illness after exposure.
Incubation period is the estimated amount of time it may take for someone to develop COVID-19 after exposure. Right now, for adults it is about 2-14 days. This is why we use the 14 day guideline for close-contact quarantine period.
Studies show that PCR tests for coronavirus can detect up to 98% of cases by day 7-8 after exposure.
Infectious period is when you are contagious after exposure to the virus. Most respiratory viruses have an infectious period of about 48hrs before symptoms develop. Anyone that has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 48hrs before that person’s symptoms began should quarantine for 14 days. The end of the infectious period can vary, but is defined as being fever free for at least 24 hours AND 10 days from symptom onset.
The local health department contact tracers are not able to reach out to every person (roughly 50% of people are being contacted who have been exposed). This is why it is important for the general public to know these guidelines so we can appropriately notify our potential close contacts to help mitigate the spread.
Be well, everyone. Stay diligent… wear a mask, wash hands, social distance and try (if possible) to keep interactions with folks brief. This will reduce your risk of transmission, and also your chance of needing to quarantine.
Dr Natasha Diaz
What is different about Direct Primary Care?
For the past 6 months, most of us avoided going into enclosed spaces with sick people. For this very reason, many people do not feel safe going to an urgent care or traditional medical office. Unfortunately, our health care needs do not disappear during a pandemic. Neglecting our necessary urgent and routine health care needs can lead to poor outcomes. What is the best way to address this problem?
Virtual care and limiting the number of in-person office visits are solutions we have implemented, at Roots Health DPC, to keep our patients safe while providing necessary care. We offer unlimited text, phone, and telemedicine availability. We limit our in-person office visits, take necessary precautions to decrease transmission of the virus, and thoroughly disinfect between patients. Home visits are also available to members. The direct primary care (DPC) model places patients first and removes the mal-aligned incentives that accompany the health insurance model. DPC focuses on providing accessible and personalized health care. It provides patients with the affordable transparent pricing they want and the safe delivery of the health care they need.
Your Health is more important now than ever before.
Our communities continue to struggle to handle this pandemic and I have more questions than answers. What will be the long term effects on the bodies of patients who have had Covid-19? How will we ensure that children have appropriate social-emotional development and education? Who will bear the economic burden of a failed health care system?
If I spend too much time in the future, I become quickly overwhelmed. What I believe is true, is that we have today. Today, I am grateful for my health, nutritious meals, my home, and my family. I can take action today, to take care of myself physically and emotionally. I can ensure my body gets the sleep and exercise that it needs. I can take precautions to protect my health and well-being and I can reach out to others in service.
I created Roots Health DPC to be part of the solution for a broken health care system. I believe people deserve health care that is affordable with transparent pricing. I know that sick patients have improved outcomes when they have a physician who advocates on their behalf. It is my belief that patients and physicians should be the only ones involved in medical decision-making and that third party intrusions actually make outcomes worse and increase costs. This becomes evident when we look at US health care spending and mortality rates.
I encourage you to take action today to take care of yourself and your family. As a member of Roots Health DPC, you can be reassured that you have unlimited access to your physician at all times in the event that you or a loved one becomes ill. When we are sick, we are not able to advocate well for ourselves. As a patient or caregiver you might question whether you or your loved one needs an evaluation urgently. As a board-certified physician with experience in Emergency Medicine, I can evaluate and assess your health care needs quickly and accurately to help you navigate difficult health concerns. Roots Health DPC members have virtually unlimited access to their physician and they find a strong health care advocate by their side when they are in need.
I encourage you to consider enrollment in Roots Health DPC and join the health care solution to build healthy families and communities. Set up a time to meet me, Dr Diaz, and learn more.
The pandemic has made one thing very clear. The health care system is broken. At a time when people most need health care to be available and affordable to them, the pandemic has highlighted the current inefficiencies, limitations, and obscene costs to individuals who need that very same care. One could even argue that the corporate health care industry is doing more harm than good.
Having a trusted primary care physician that patients can speak with directly when they have concerns or questions is important. Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a new model of healthcare that addresses the accessibility, quality, and affordability of health care in this country. It is modern medicine with old school service. DPC provides higher quality care by answering questions, evaluating patients urgently as needed, and helping patients navigate uncertainty. DPC operates on a monthly membership fee schedule, free of insurance constraints, allowing patients to engage in health care that is both higher in quality and more convenient.
Have you ever had a direct line to your physician? Not a mid-level or answering service. Continuous access to answers about your health as your medical needs dictate, not as your ability to get an appointment dictates. Telemedicine, phone, email, text has always been an integral part of communication in DPC and supplements in person visits. DPC has known for years that communication is one of the foundational blocks for excellent health care. Your health care needs are addressed by your physician and follow up care is meticulously coordinated for your benefit.
Over the years, I can attest to how difficult it is for patients to navigate the complex health care system when health care needs arise. The coordination of care between providers and different health care systems are poor at best and this leaves patients with unanswered questions and often inadequate care.
At Roots Health DPC we prioritize the patient-physician relationship. We make sure your health care is accessible, personalized, and affordable. Book a free Meet and Greet with Dr. Diaz to learn more.
One of the defining characteristics of DPC is that these physicians keep their practices small so they can spend more time with their patients. Telemedicine further restores their physician-patient relationship by extending access to health care beyond the exam room.
During the pandemic, and as we enter the second wave, I am grateful to live in Illinois. Our state implemented strict measures that curbed the rampant spread of the disease early in the course and I am confident that the people of Illinois will continue to take measures to decrease the spread of this virus. There are many things beyond our control during this pandemic and there are still many unknowns. Wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands are the things that each person does have an ability, and in fact a responsibility, to do, to control the spread.
I wanted to share with you this recently published article in JAMA CARDIOLOGY.
In this group of patients it was demonstrated that there is cardiac involvement in 78% of patients months after the diagnosis of COVID-19. These patients had a mean age of 49 and the heart complications occurred independent of the severity/course of the illness and regardless of underlying conditions. We still need more information on the long-term effects of this virus.
Please continue to take precautions now as the numbers begin to increase. If you are sick with fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, body aches, stomach flu, new rash, or loss of smell please obtain testing and quarantine until you have the results. It is recommended that when you are in quarantine you do not visit others or go out of your home until your test results are determined. If you are a member of Roots Health DPC please call us so that we can arrange for your appropriate care.
Stay safe and be well.
Natasha Diaz, MD