Healthcare leaders offer advice as doctors resume appointments

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As the second phase of Indiana’s ‘Back on Track’ plan began Monday, doctors around the area got back to seeing patients during in-person visits. Representatives from both Parkview Health and Lutheran Health Network offered advice for those scheduling, or re-scheduling appointments with physicians.

Expected non-emergency appointments with Parkview Physicians Group doctors dropped by nearly 100,000 visits going back to mid-March. That’s a drop of about 40% in volume, according to P.PG. COO Jerry Grannan.

Virtual appointments spiked for P.P.G. over the past month. After adding 600 providers to a virtual platform, Parkview saw almost 50,000 appointments made over video or via telephone in April alone.

“We are ramping up availability based on urgent need and medical conditions,” Grannan said. “We will continue to see patients via video and telephonic visits; however, our offices are all safe and prepared to see patients in-person.”

As patients return to in-person visits, they’ll notice changes in the appointment process made during the pandemic.

“For in-person appointments, we have worked diligently to ensure safe zones for our patients,” Lutheran’s Kara Stevenson told WANE 15. “These safe zones require all who enter to be screened for COVID- 19 symptoms, travel history, and temperature monitoring in conjunction with continual disinfecting, social distancing, hand hygiene and masking guidelines, which greatly reduce the risk to our patients, employees and providers.” 

At Parkview, patients can expect to be pre-screened by phone the day before the appointment and at the front door of their doctor’s office. Staff members have been told to wear masks in the office, physical barriers have been put in place and cleaning guidelines have been established. Patients have been asked to wear a mask to their office or expect to wear one when they arrive.

According to Grannan, Parkview Physician Group patients should expect appointments to be scheduled based on clinical need, with those who have urgent need or chronic conditions getting priority. If the need to see a doctor is not critical, patients can also consider virtual options. More information can be found here: Parkview.com/carefromhome.

Lutheran Health Physicians also offers telehealth visit options here: lutheranhealthphysicians.com/telehealth

“It is important to keep up with health needs and the telehealth option is encouraged for those with minor illnesses or injuries, follow-up care, medication management, chronic disease management and more,” Stevenson added. “LHP has and will continue to schedule patients according to their appointment requests and will accommodate for urgent health issues. In most cases, patients can be seen the same day.” 

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