coronavirus pandemic

Should You Cancel a Routine Doctor's Visit?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors say don’t assume your health care provider is too busy

NBCUniversal, Inc.

These days everything is centered on the coronavirus – and rightfully so. We've canceled parties, vacations, and visits with family, but should we cancel routine health care appointments?

Ron Segal, who has asthma said, "We have my asthma managed pretty well with inhalers. Usually, when I have an episode that the inhalers can't take care of, I will call the doctor."

Segal is used to going into his doctor's office but wondered in the age of COVID-19 if he should stop.

"I just called my doctor's office, and it was great, within an hour, hour and a half he was calling me back on the phone, and we had a phone visit," Segal said.

Many doctors will consult by phone, and some are doing virtual visits, including online chat and live videoconferencing tools to connect with patients.

Dr. Michael Moreno, with Kaiser Permanente, said some patients will still be advised to come into the office.

"We have a very robust screening process in place to look at these individuals and find out who needs to be seen old school by coming into the office, and who can we see virtually or who do we do as a combination of the two?"Moreno said.

Most importantly, he said, don't assume your healthcare provider is too busy to answer your questions during this pandemic.

"Call your doctor talk to them and find out what process to take for you as an individual. We do not want people to ignore their health care needs," Moreno said.

On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom started allowing hospitals and health systems to resume procedures delayed because of COVID-19. That includes heart valve replacements, tumor removals, and preventive services, like colonoscopies.

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