Medical centers, practitioners are relying more on telemedicine calls to care for patients
BY RACHEL CUCCURULLO
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lindsey Porth, a nurse practitioner specializing in rheumatology, was able to treat all of her patients at her office in St. Lucie West. THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN BEFORE THE PANDEMIC WHEN MASKS GENERALLY WERE NOT IN USE. ANTHONY INSWASTY
As COVID-19 made its way through the region, both elected officials and healthcare centers took the necessary steps to ensure that not only their patients were safe, but their staffs and livelihoods as well.
On March 31, St. Lucie County commissioners approved a stay-at-home order for residents that lasted approximately six weeks. They encouraged residents to shelter in place in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For safety purposes, elective surgeries and diagnostic procedures were postponed. Fortunately, medical practitioners have been able to carry out appointments via telehealth even during the initial stay-at-home order phase.
“Although I specialize in rheumatology, when COVID affected our area at the end of March, I reached out to the infectious disease specialist in the area, Dr. Moti Ramgopal,” Lindsey R. Porth, FNP-BC Rheumatology said. “As rheumatology patients are often immunocompromised, I was concerned about their health and safety. Dr. Ramgopal recommended that I begin strictly treating these patients via telehealth.”
Once the stay-at-home order was lifted, Porth’s office started scheduling office appointments again.
“Masks are required for both patients and staff. Patients are prescreened for symptoms associated with COVID by phone the day before their appointment and again before entering the building on the day of their appointment,” Porth said. “Patients’ temperatures are also taken at the front desk before being seen. Finally, proper hand washing and sanitizing practices are carried out along with frequent sanitization of office equipment throughout the day.”