Information on COVID-19 from Upward Health


Message from the Chief Medical Officer of Upward Health

Dr. Dennis Mihale
Dr. Dennis Mihale
Chief Medical Officer
Upward Health

As COVID-19 affects our communities, we want you to know that we remain committed to keeping all patients safe and well.  Upward Health providers are available 24/7 through our hotline, (888) 985-5455.  Upward health provides in-home testing for Coronavirus.

We want providers to know that Upward Health is available to assist in providing care to your patients during this crisis. Many of your patients may have chronic conditions which can intensify the complications of Coronavirus.  These conditions require ongoing care, and Upward Health is ready and able to provide this care to your patients in their home.

One of the keys to avoid contracting coronavirus is to heed CDC advice to stay home.  Remember that Upward Health provides care in the home or remotely through our Facilitated Virtual Care. This includes urgent, physical, mental or social care, allowing your patients to stay home and not risk exposure to coronavirus.

Upward Health is taking every precaution to keep patients safe and healthy.  Prior to scheduling a visit with Upward Health, we will ask patients specific COVID-19 screening questions to determine the risk of exposure to the virus.  We can then decide how to proceed with the visit, in the home or via virtual care.

We consider it a privilege to provide care to patients. Together, we can keep patients, especially those that are most vulnerable, healthy and out of the hospital during this time.  Please remember to follow CDC guidelines to prevent spread of the corona virus, and call Upward Health if you need help.

–Dr. Dennis Mihale, CMO


FOR PROVIDERS

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to remember that Upward Health’s core business is serving patients throughout the community, so our “offices” have always been anywhere a patient calls home. Now more than ever, as the CDC emphasizes the importance of social distancing and staying at home to help “flatten the curve”, bringing healthcare home to our patients is even more critical.  Our staff consists of primary medical and behavioral care clinicians, such as physicians, mid-levels, nurses and social workers – as well as highly trained community health workers who are in constant contact with patients. Beyond medical supports, we also intervene to solve for social determinants such as food insecurity, social isolation, housing needs, transportation and more. In a time where the most vulnerable people are even more vulnerable, Upward Health is already positioned to deliver home-based care to complex patients, dramatically improving their well-being through speed and access to care.

Specific information for Healthcare Professionals directly from the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/index.html


FOR PATIENTS

At Upward Health, healthcare comes home.  That means we come to you to provide your healthcare, wherever you are.  During this time when staying home is the best way to stay safe and reduce your risk of exposure to the coronavirus, our commitment to bringing healthcare home is more important than ever.  Since our team is local, we’re close by and ready to help you whenever you need us. To contact us at any time, day or night, call (888) 985-5455.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations A viral outbreak like Coronavirus can create a sense of fear. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.  Doing what you can to keep you and your family safe – such as significantly limiting physical contact with people and drastically altering your daily routines – may bring feelings of isolation and sadness, fear and confusion.  There are many ways to keep yourself healthy mentally while protecting your physical health.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Continue to take any prescribed medication as directed by your doctor. If you need assistance or have questions, call us at (888) 985.5455
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Call or video chat with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Take everyday preventive actions, per CDC Guidelines:

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • It’s especially important to wash:
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • Before touching your face
    • After using the restroom
    • After leaving a public place
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After handling your mask
    • After changing a diaper
    • After caring for someone sick
    • After touching animals or pets
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
    • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

Monitor Your Health Daily

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Protect Your Health This Flu Season

It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.

While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 there are many important benefits, such as:

  1. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
  2. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.

Older adults and people who have certain underlying conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 illness. More information on Are you at higher risk for serious illness.


FOR PAYERS

Upward Health is a home-based medical group specializing in primary medical and behavioral care for individuals with complex needs. We serve patients throughout their communities, and we diagnose, treat and prescribe anywhere our patients call home.

COVID-19 is easily spread and is most dangerous to medically fragile individuals with multiple chronic conditions.  Now is the time to ensure your most vulnerable members have access to high-quality in-home care to dramatically reduce the risk of them contracting the virus, and to ensure the continuation of ongoing care during this time when clinical prioritization is a challenge.

As a community-based, in-home primary care provider, Upward Health is on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis, committed to keeping your patients healthy and safe during this unprecedented outbreak.

Our primary focus is on patients at higher risk from COVID-19 if they leave their home:

  • Frail and elderly patients
  • Patients with Chronic Disease
  • IDD/DD, SMI/SPMI patients
  • Homebound patients unable to access care

Upward Health provides Facilitated and non-facilitated Virtual Care to help avoid the need for a medical facility visit where patients may be exposed to the virus at any time once they leave their home.  We are providing services to ALL patients, those infected with COVID-19 and those not, during this emergency.

  • 24/7 Call Center access to clinical resources
  • Up to date COVID-19 information, education and resources for our patients and providers
  • Facilitated Virtual Care enables expedited access for primary, behavioral health, urgent and specialty care to maintain health for complex multi-chronic patients
  • COVID-19 screening, testing and consultation
  • Surrogate PCP capability for rapid access to primary care during this crisis, provided in partnership with patients’ existing care teams.
  • Extensive supports for social determinants of health such as food, medication fulfillment, housing, transportation and social isolation.