In an effort to reduce community exposure to COVID-19 and protect vulnerable populations, One Community Health (OCH) announced March 16 that they will begin offering patients virtual (video-based) visits along with rapid in-person screening.

Virtual visits can be used as a first line option to assess patients experiencing symptoms that are common to COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), can help vulnerable patients continue to receive care, and give patients a convenient way to receive care from home, said an OCH press release.

Max Janasik, CEO of One Community Health, said, “We were planning to offer virtual visits later in the year, but our teams have been working around the clock to accelerate the launch of virtual visits and expand care choices for our patients. We will begin seeing patients over video visits March 16.

“Given how fast we’re moving, we will have some bumps along the way, but this new option can help reduce community exposure,” Janasik said. “To remove any financial barriers to access and encourage patients to try virtual visits we will also be waiving patient out-of-pocket costs for the next 30 days, March 16 through April 16.”

Virtual visits will be used to quickly assess whether symptoms appear to require additional testing or can likely be managed at home. Virtual visits also allow patients to connect with OCH’s behavioral health consultants for help with COVID-19 related anxiety, social isolation and a variety of other behavioral conditions.

“We understand that COVID-19 is creating a lot of stress, anxiety and loneliness,” said Lucas O’Laughlin, director of Behavioral Health Services for OCH. “We will be available to help patients through this, in addition to supporting patients with many other common challenges. Our behavioral health consultants will be available through virtual visits and out-of-pocket fees will also be waived for behavioral health virtual visits for the next 30 days.”

In addition to virtual visits, patients with symptoms common to COVID-19 will also have the option for rapid screening at OCH’s main clinics in Hood River and The Dalles. At rapid screening stations, OCH can perform a rapid flu test, quick physical examinations (e.g., listen to lungs, check ears, nose and throat), and if appropriate test or coordinate testing for COVID-19.  OCH asks that patients schedule an appointment for this rapid screening.

Patients should call or text OCH at 541-386-6380 to schedule a virtual visit or a rapid screening.

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