Have COVID-19 concerns delayed your medical care? According to many medical experts, nationwide delays in receiving routine and emergency medical care have impacted many Americans. In a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 30 percent of adults surveyed reported pandemic-related medical delays.
Delayed medical and dental care can have dire consequences. A gap in treating chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension can lead to heart attacks and strokes, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Delaying routine medical care and failing to keep routine lab appointments can cause a number of problems for your health.
Here are some tips if you’re having problems obtaining medical treatment.
Call the physician’s office and explain your symptoms or your testing needs. Don’t take no for an answer. If your provider can’t accommodate you, consider asking a family member to advocate for you. Some people are better at dealing with medical providers. If they’re willing, let them help.
If you accept an appointment far into the future, ask the provider to place you on a cancellation list in case an appointment becomes available.
Don’t skip routine tests. Mammograms, colon cancer tests and prostate exams are critical screenings. Delays can mean major health problems if serious conditions go undetected.
If you can’t get an appointment with your regular doctor, consider calling your insurance company’s helpline for a referral to a new physician. Or ask your neighbors or friends if they can recommend a physician or medical provider with more availability.
If you hesitate to visit your doctor due to concerns about exposure to others who may be sick, consider a virtual visit. Your doctor can phone you or initiate an online session. Postponing medical care can have dire consequences. Don’t wait any longer. Schedule any delayed visits to protect your health.