Telehealth continues providing benefits for AMFM patients
The future of medicine and providing care to patients in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) continue with telehealth. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing care to patients while keeping them safe from the virus was crucial at a time patients and care providers from outside the center could not meet face-to-face.
Last year, AMFM Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers, who Like all health care providers in 2020, AMFM found themselves with a new urgent goal: limiting both patient and employee exposure to the virus while continuing to provide high quality patient care.
Vickie Powell, Practice Administrator, led AMFM’s efforts to find the right telehealth options for patients. She found several options that helped the clinical teams at AMFM centers weather the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, 12 centers provided more than 3,200 telehealth visits. In 2021 that number has dropped largely due to COVID-19 vaccines and the reopening of many SNFs for health care providers and patients’ families. To date, five centers have had more than 1,800 telehealth visits.
McDowell Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Executive Director Patty Lucas spoke with several of their patients about receiving medical care via telehealth. “They enjoy being seen with our telehealth services because they do not have to leave their room,” Lucas said. “They said it’s like in the old days when doctors would make house calls!”
Dr. Scott Keffer, Medical Director for several AMFM centers, shared patients have a broader access to health care providers. He can see wounds or rashes, and he can speak directly with patients after hours and on weekends whereas in the past that would have been impossible.
“I can see the patient immediately if needed,” Keffer said. He states telehealth has also decreased the potential for transmission of COVID-19 or other airborne viruses.
Powell pointed out an excellent example of this happening. “One example I had was a nurse practitioner yesterday who had been exposed to COVID-19 but was still able to treat her patients safely by doing telehealth visits,” Powell said. “Patients still received timely treatment. Before telehealth, she would not have been able to see these patients.”
Meghan Waldron, Wyoming Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Director of Nursing agrees that the use of telehealth helps protect patients and gives them access to timely care.
“It helps to decrease the number of providers our patients have to see in person, therefore reducing their overall risk of exposure, which is wonderful,” Waldron said. “But they still get to talk with and see their providers. We have had several other doctors use telehealth for consults with our patients as well.”
AMFM operates 19 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers throughout West Virginia. The care centers are in Braxton, Boone, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Hardy, Harrison (Clarksburg & Bridgeport), Greenbrier, Lincoln, Mason, Marshall, McDowell, Mercer, Summers, Taylor, Wayne, Webster, and Wyoming counties.
AMFM’s mission is “to exemplify excellence in quality care to our customers by providing an environment that enhances personal growth, individuality, dignity and respect.”
Author: Brandon S. Totten
Community Relations Manager, AMFM Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers