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CFVH ramps up telehealth utilization during Covid-19 Pandemic

Monday, April 6, 2020

Telehealth is nothing new to the healthcare industry and CFVH, but it will now be a tool that is utilized more frequently during the Covid-19 pandemic to connect patients and providers.

Over the last couple of years, CFVH has used virtual visits to connect stroke patients with medical specialists in Kalispell when they present to the ER. It has also been used for behavioral health appointments.

This pandemic has pushed us to make telehealth more readily available to patients who have essential needs for primary care and mental health appointments that would typically be done face to face in our rural health clinics.

“We have rescheduled a number of non-urgent appointments to reduce traffic in and out of our rural health clinics and keep people home but we know there are a number of patients who have chronic medical conditions like hypertension that need to be seen on a regular basis,” shared Dr. Gregory Hanson, MD, CEO. “Telehealth will allow us to maintain appointments with these patients so we ensure the proper management of their illnesses.”

Many other types of appointments and follow ups will be available to patients with this technology. Some diagnoses like stable hypertension will require a way of monitoring blood pressure from home.

To schedule, patients will need a valid email address and a device with a camera (ie. Iphone, tablet or computer with webcam). It is ideal if patients have signed up for MyChart, a secure patient portal used to access the electronic medical record. If patients haven’t registered for MyChart but would like to, our patient service representatives at each of our Family Medicine Network offices can assist them. Patients who choose to bypass MyChart can still be seen utilizing their email. We recommend calling the clinic location where patients normally go to visit their primary care provider and request a virtual appointment. The patient will then be sent a (videoconferencing) invite either to their email or MyChart messaging.

The billing process is the same. These visits generate a charge which is sent to the patient’s insurance company, Medicare and/or Medicaid.

“As a provider I really value the ability to check in with my patients electronically, and this system helps us keep in touch and address non-emergent medical issues at a safe distance,” shared Nick Lawyer, PA-C and Primary Care Provider at Plains Family Medicine.

Additional CFVH Covid-19 Resources

Visit for other CFVH Covid-19 Resources for Sanders County residents. Questions about respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or what steps you should take next (schedule an appointment at Respiratory Illness Clinic, stay at home, go to ER)? Try our Covid-19 Nurse Hotline – 406-826-4889 available Monday - Friday: 8 AM - 8 PM. For emergencies and urgent questions after hours, please call the CFVH ER Department at 406-826-4875.

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