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Dr. Kusko: ‘We want our patients to know we are still here for them’

We recently visited with Dr. Meghan Kusko, a family practice physician and obstetrician at Gritman | Moscow Family Medicine, about how she and our providers are continuing to provide safe care to patients during the COVID-19 emergency. Dr. Kusko joined MFM this past October.

Q: How can patients see their providers at Gritman and MFM?
A:
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a drastic decrease in our patient visits as people have complied with stay-home orders and social distancing guidelines. But it is very important for people not to put off care during this time – especially for acute concerns or problems that need to be followed up on. Fortunately, we are safely seeing patients in person and now through telemedicine. We want our patients to know we are still here for them, even if they are worried about physically coming to see us.

Q: Can I be confident that it is safe to visit your clinic?
A: Yes, it is safe at Gritman and Moscow Family Medicine. We have instituted strict safety protocols to protect both ourselves and our patients. Prior to coming into an appointment, patients are screened for any infectious symptoms. If they have a fever, severe cough or cold, they are redirected to our respiratory tent so that no “sick” exposures enter the clinic. Our waiting rooms have been rearranged to accommodate for the 6-feet social distancing recommendation. But you won’t be waiting long in a waiting room, as our patient service representatives will escort you immediately to a clean room once it is available. Finally, all patients and providers are being asked to wear masks to limit droplet exposure from person to person.

Q: Is telemedicine a good option for me?
A: We can treat the vast majority of conditions via telemedicine. This includes acute visits such as the common cold to routine follow-ups for medication refills all the way to depression/anxiety follow-ups. Telemedicine can also be used as a triage visit to help us determine if a patient needs to be seen in person by a provider, or perhaps be sent to our respiratory tent for COVID-19 testing.

Q: Telemedicine sounds complicated – will I be able to do it?
A: It really is easier than I imagined it would be. All that is needed is a smart device (phone, computer, tablet) that has a built-in camera and speaker. When it comes time for your scheduled appointment, one of our nurses will give you a phone call to check you in. Once this phone call is over, your provider will send you a text message or an email (your choice!) with a hyperlink to a website that is HIPAA-secured for a face-to-face video visit. Upon clicking the hyperlink, your provider will then invite you to a visit. You do not need to download any apps or do anything in advance from your end.

Q: What else would you like your community to be aware of?
A: The COVID19 pandemic has caused an uproar in all of our lives. It has challenged us to change how we function and interact with friends/family on a day-to-day basis. For some, this may cause a heightened degree of anxiety or depression, which is completely understandable. Your mental health is just as important as your physical well-being. If you are struggling to cope with these changes, please reach out to your doctor for help. We are here for you!

Q: When a patient calls to schedule an appointment, how quickly are you usually seeing them?
A: For telemedicine visits, I can usually fit them into my schedule in the same week, sometimes even the same day. We are also able to see patients in person very quickly.

Schedule an in-person or telemedicine appointment today:

Stay up to date on the latest development and most trusted information at gritman.org/coronavirus.