Sask now covering cost of virtual visits with doctors
March 25, 2020
REGINA – With the growing concern around COVID-19, Saskatchewan is taking steps to enhance access to healthcare by providing support for physicians to offer virtual appointments to patients. The new virtual services, which will be supported through a new payment code for physicians, will enable patients to connect with physicians by telephone.
The Ministry of Health is also working to provide patients with the ability to connect with doctors by secure video.
“Keeping Saskatchewan residents healthy and containing community transmission of this coronavirus is a priority for our government,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said. “Provision of virtual care by telephone or video is just one strategy we are using to ensure residents have options for accessing healthcare.”
“The Saskatchewan Medical Association is pleased with this development because it provides patients with remote access to physicians,” SMA president Dr. Allan Woo (pictured) said. “This kind of access also provides a safer work environment for doctors and their staff during this pandemic. We need a healthy physician workforce to tackle the challenges presented by the outbreak of COVID-19.”
Ironically, Dr. Woo tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. He believes he contracted the disease while at a bonspiel in Edmonton.
“I attended a curling bonspiel held March 11-14 in Edmonton. This bonspiel is an annual event that usually attracts 50-60 physicians from Western Canada,” Dr. Woo said in a statement. “I believe I contracted the COVID-19 virus at this bonspiel.”
Dr. Woo has been self-isolating at home. He said it is a reminder that doctors aren’t invincible as they deal with treating COVID-19.
“The risks of this pandemic are far too real. I hope my personal situation serves as a signal for all healthcare workers, and others, to be vigilant about their health,” Dr. Woo said. “Everyone needs to take precautions and self-monitor for any symptoms.”
One of the services providing virtual visits to citizens of Saskatchewan is Lumeca. “In cooperation with the Government of Saskatchewan, Lumeca is now an approved service provider for virtual healthcare services,” said Shawn Hazen, director and founder of Lumeca. “Our technology allows patients direct access to licensed Saskatchewan doctors through safe and secure text, audio and video consultations where our doctors can provide advice, diagnoses and prescriptions for a wide range of conditions while patients are in the safety and comfort of their homes.”
Lumeca is a Regina based company that develops healthcare technology to grapple some of the world’s leading issues in healthcare, beginning with timely access to doctors and allied healthcare professionals.
Lumeca is available for free to all Saskatchewan residents with a valid Saskatchewan Health Card. The service is available 24/7 for COVID-19 screening and general health consultations.
“We hope to relieve pressure off of the healthcare system and meet the demand from Saskatchewan residents who need medical advice during this difficult time,” said Hazen. “Whether you are self-isolating, exhibiting symptoms or need specific questions answered, our team is here to support the health of Saskatchewan residents.” Learn more at lumeca.com.