AltaMed began offering telephone and video visits during the pandemic as a way to keep our members safe while continuing to meet their health needs. Insurance will continue to cover those visits throughout the pandemic.
AltaMed is advocating for that coverage to extend beyond the pandemic to serve the needs of those who would rather receive service from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Please review these guidelines to make sure you are getting the most from your telephone or video visits.
What Is Telehealth?
Using either a cell phone, landline, a tablet, or a laptop, you can talk to an AltaMed doctor over the phone or through video. You can discuss the same kind of things you would at a regular doctor visit, including your symptoms and concerns. You may also be able to get an immediate diagnosis, learn about your treatment options, and even get a prescription if your doctor thinks it’s appropriate.
If you are experiencing a significant loss of blood, breathing problems, fainting or loss of consciousness, a broken bone, or a head or spinal injury, call 911 now! These problems require immediate attention. Check here if you’re not sure if it’s an emergency or not.
Conditions That Can Be Treated Over the Phone
Telehealth visits are a good option for many routine health needs – the type of things you’d make an appointment to see your family doctor for, such as:
- Colds, allergies, or flus that aren’t COVID-19 related
- If it hurts to urinate
- Minor scrapes and infections
- A sore throat
You can also use telehealth visits to help you manage chronic, or ongoing, conditions, such as:
Eligible patients may be able to have a phone appointment with a dietician or a screening with a dental specialist for dental emergencies.
Be Prepared to Talk About Your Health History
Because your doctor isn’t able to do a hands-on examination, you should be prepared to give them as much information as you can and describe your symptoms. Your appointment may not be with your usual doctor, so you may need to help the doctor understand your health history.
Be ready to tell your doctor about:
- Prior or existing conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, depression, breast cancer)
- Previous surgeries
- If you’re taking prescription or over-the-counter medication
- If you are currently under the care of another doctor
Make Sure You Can Give Information About Your Health Concern
Your doctor can only help you if he understands your concerns. You can help!
Before your visit, write down information about your condition. Think about questions like:
- Where is your pain or discomfort?
- What is the pain like – sharp, stabbing, dull?
- How long have you felt like this?
- Can you trace your problem back to a certain event – for example, if you came in contact with an allergen, started feeling bad after you ate something, or lifted something heavy?
- Are there times when it’s better or worse?
- Have you taken any over-the-counter treatments? If so, what kind and for how long? Did they make you feel better?
Find a Quiet, Private Place to Take the Call
A provider will call you within one-hour of the appointment time or may call you sooner than the appointment time. You may only have a limited amount of time, so make the most of it by finding a spot at home where you can talk freely and without distractions.
Even though your doctor can’t examine you the way they would in an AltaMed facility, they will do their best to find out about your condition. Make sure to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, in case they ask you to roll up a sleeve, turn to the side so they can watch you breathe, or give you other instructions.
You’ll be able to talk with a doctor who speaks your language, but it’s important that you understand what they’re saying. Our doctors want to help, so feel free to tell them, “I don’t really understand what you mean” or ask them to explain things more than once.
After the visit, you can get notes and a summary of the visit at your MyAltaMed patient portal, or if you have not registered for access to MyAltaMed, a paper copy will be mailed to you.
If you need a prescription medicine, we’ll make sure it’s sent over to the pharmacy of your choice.
Need Care? Call Us First!
No matter what your health care needs, we’re here to make sure they get handled. Call our Patient Service Center at (888) 499-9303 and we’ll direct you to the right services.