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Doctors push for affordable access to telemedicine in the future

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Posted at 8:34 PM, Jun 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-21 02:31:46-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Doctors are hoping affordable access to telemedicine will stay in place for the future so that COVID-19 fears subside, and virtual visits become common.

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“We want to make sure that it's affordable for our patients,” says Dr. Christina Madison, Roseman University.

Dr. Madison spoke with 13 Action News about telemedicine’s continued role as a critical service for patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Telemedicine visits usually cost less than in-person visits, but with the current economic climate, the cheaper option may not be cheap enough for some patients.

“They may not be able to afford an appointment because of some issues associated with no longer having work right now,” says Dr. Madison.

A recent Keiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll found that nearly 48% of adults say that they, or someone in their home, have postponed or skipped medical care due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Doctors say making visits more affordable is half the battle for the future.

“Just calling up the doctor's office and asking what the rate of that particular visit would be, contacting their insurance if they still have it, a lot of places are working with patients who negotiate,” says Dr. Madison.

While telemedicine is changing the game in a way unlike before the pandemic, some medical visits and procedures will require in-person time.

“Cost cannot be a barrier for them,” says Dr. Peter Fuentes, Liberty Dental Plan.

Liberty Dental Plan opened up a triage line to anyone who receives medicaid in Nevada.

Dr. Fuentes says over half of those calls didn't even need an in-person visit, thus saving the patient money.

“Whether it was with antibiotic prescriptions, at home remedies, or just some verbal coaching on the phone,” says Dr. Fuentes.

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