COVID-19 Exam and Testing FAQ

 

Q: What types of COVID-19 tests does BetterMed provide?
A: We offer two types of COVID-19 exams and testing:

  • PCR nasal swab testing to determine active infection
  • Antibody blood testing (finger prick) to determine past exposure or previous infection

 

Q. Do I need a doctor’s referral to receive a COVID-19 exam and test?
A: No referral is needed.

 

Q: What is included in BetterMed’s COVID-19 Exam and Testing?
A:  Every patient’s COVID-19 exam and testing appointment includes:

  1. A physical exam whereby a medical provider will examine oxygen level, lungs and heart rate
  2. Testing which will either be a nasal or throat swab for active infection testing or a finger prick for antibody testing
  • The entire examination and testing process takes 15-20 minutes. Based on the exam, if necessary, we will x-ray the patient or refer the patient to the Emergency Room for further testing and possible hospital admission.
  • For active infection tests, BetterMed will send the test swab to an independent lab. Following the independent lab’s processing and communication of test results to BetterMed, BetterMed will communicate the results to the patient. The turnaround time from the test swab to communicating test results to the patient is typically 2-4 days.
  • Antibody test results are available within 15 minutes.

 

Q: Why do I need a medical evaluation and exam with my COVID-19 test?
A: Although the majority of patients experience mild symptoms, some patients can become extremely sick. To help protect your health, we conduct an exam with testing to:

  • Ensure that we are able to identify sick people who may need immediate emergency treatment.
  • The medical evaluation and exam we perform examines a patient’s vital signs and is intended to rule out very high fever, hypoxia, rapid heart rate or rapid respiratory rate.
  • It is critically important to check a patient’s lungs and heart to ensure that they are not in distress or have clinical evidence of pneumonia, all which could indicate that the patient needs hospital admission.

 

COVID-19 Safety Procedure

Your safety is our priority–Here’s what we’re doing to protect you:

 

Q: What safety and sanitation measures is BetterMed taking during the COVID-19 exam and testing?
A: In developing our COVID-19 exam and testing process, we have made patient and staff safety our highest priority. We reviewed our processes with the Virginia Department of Health, which fully endorsed our protocol.

  • Designated exam rooms for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
  • All staff and providers wear PPE. Patients are asked to bring their own masks, however we also provide masks upon entry as needed.
  • All providers and staff adhere to elevated safety and sanitation procedures based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Providers performing exams and tests disinfect their gowns between patient interactions using wipes approved by the EPA to kill COVID-19.
  • Disinfect high touch surfaces in exam rooms with wipes approved by the EPA to kill COVID–19 after every patient. Reusable equipment is also disinfected using the same process.
  • Frequently empty trash cans containing contaminated materials.
  • Additional sanitation stations are available throughout the facility for both staff and patient use.

 

Q: Why are curbside exams and testing no longer offered?
A: We have moved COVID-19 exams and testing inside for two reasons:

  • High summer temperatures are not ideal for providing or receiving medical treatment outside.
  • We are now offering urgent care services and COVID-19 exams and testing at all locations.

 

Q: If I am not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is it safe for me to visit a location for other urgent care needs?
A: Without a vaccine for COVID-19, there is a risk of exposure anywhere you go- including an urgent care site. BetterMed is working diligently to reduce patient and staff risk by adhering to advanced sanitation procedures, social distancing protocols, wearing PPE and designating specific spaces for COVID-19 and urgent care patients.

 

 

Billing

Q: What is the cost of a COVID-19 active infection exam and test?
A: For those with commercial health insurance, expected out of pocket cost for the exam is your copay. Please note that deductibles or co insurances similar to a regular urgent care visit will also apply.

  • Before your visit you should call your insurance provider to verify your explanation of benefits.
  • BetterMed does not charge to collect or send the test specimens to an independent lab. Instead the lab will bill your insurer separately for these services.

 

For Sure Pay (self-pay) patients:

  • Virginia: BetterMed charges $149 for the COVID-19 active infection exam. For the active infection test, an outside lab will bill you separately. Lab tests typically cost between $50-$100.
  • North Carolina: BetterMed charges $159 for the COVID-19 active infection exam.  For the active infectiontest, an outside lab will bill you separately. Lab tests typically cost between $50-$100.

 

For Medicare patients:

  • BetterMed will bill Medicare for the COVID-19 active infectionexam.
  • For the active infectiontest, an outside lab will bill Medicare separately. No copay is due at time of service.

 

A: What is the costs of a COVID-19 antibody exam and test?
A For those with commercial health insurance, expected out of pocket cost for the exam is your copay. Please note that deductibles or co insurances similar to a regular urgent care visit.

  • Before your visit you should call your insurance provider to verify your explanation of benefits.

For Sure Pay (self-pay) patients:

  • Virginia: BetterMed charges $149 for the COVID-19 antibody examand $21 for the test.
  • North Carolina: BetterMed charges $159 for the COVID-19 antibody exam and test.

For Medicare patients:

  • BetterMed will bill Medicare for the COVID-19 antibodyexam and test. No copay is due at time of service.

 

Q: Do you accept Medicaid or Medicare?
A: At this time we take Medicare.

 

Q: Why don’t you take Medicaid?
A. Unfortunately, BetterMed is not in network with Medicaid, despite having attempted to participate in the past. Please check with your local hospitals to see if they are offering testing for Medicaid patients.

 

Q: What is the Coronavirus?
A: COVID-19 is a variant of a family of viruses called coronaviruses that can cause respiratory tract infections that range in severity with symptoms resembling a common cold to serious illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Q:How is it spread?
 A: Viruses like COVID-19 can pass through coughing, sneezing and close contact. This can include shaking hands, or touching a surface with the virus on it. It is commonly spread when people touch their eyes, nose or mouth without washing hands, similar to a cold or flu.

Q: What are the symptoms?
A: According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms can range from mild to severe illness. They commonly occur 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Q: How do I protect my family?
A: The CDC and WHO recommend practicing good hygiene, similar to that used to protect yourself from cold or flu.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Do not go to work, school or busy public places if you are sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it away immediately.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  7. Wear a face mask and practice social distancing.

Q: What items should I keep at home in case I get sick?
A: Fever reducers and decongestants can help ease symptoms. Keeping broths and other hydrating liquids like sports drinks on hand can also be beneficial. You can treat a suspect coronavirus case similar to that of the flu. It is important to note that Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and other prescription medicines are not effective in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

Q: Should I see my healthcare provider if I’m sick?
A: If you have another ailment or injury not related to COVID-19, you should still be evaluated by a healthcare provider.

Q: Should I avoid traveling?
A: The CDC currently recommends avoiding endemic areas. If possible, try to reschedule any upcoming travel if you’re at high risk for infection.

Q: Who’s at the highest risk of infection?
A: People over the age of 60, those who may be pregnant or people on medications that weaken the immune system are at the highest risk of getting infected. If you fall into one of these groups, consider employing social distancing strategies if there is a risk of contracting COVID-19 in your area.

Antibody

Q: What is antibody testing and how does it work?
A: This test checks for proteins in the immune system, known as antibodies, through a blood sample (finger prick). Their presence means a person was exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it. Having antibodies present does not necessarily suggest or confirm immunity and their presence may not prevent future COVID-19 infection.

 

Q: Why should I get the antibody test?
A: To determine if your body has formed antibodies from a previous exposure to the virus, whether you presented with symptoms or not.

 

Q: Is this antibody test approved by the FDA?
A: Yes, the antibody test is FDA EUA approved.

 

Q: Do I have to receive an exam with the antibody test?
A: Yes, an exam is required to ensure you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms which may warrant further care.

 

Q: What does it mean if I test positive for COVID-19 antibodies?
A: A positive test means a person was exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity, although experts are not sure how strong the immunity may be or how long it will last.

 

Q: If I test negative, what does it mean?
A: A negative test means that the person has not formed antibodies to the virus. Approximately 6% of those exposed to the virus do not mount an antibody response. In those cases, we are uncertain if the patient has the chance of being re-infected.

 

Q: Will I have to be tested again?
A: Possibly. If you tested negative, you have not formed antibodies to COVID-19 and thus can become infected. During the acute infection, the PCR test (nasal swab) which tests for viral fragments can confirm infection. Two weeks after you are no longer exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, antibody testing specific for COVID-19 can be performed. Having antibodies present does not necessarily suggest or confirm immunity and their presence may not prevent future COVID-19 infection.

 

Q: When can I expect my results?
A: This test will give you results in 10-15 minutes.

 

Q: What age range can receive an antibody test?
A: At this time, we are testing anyone 5 years of age and older.

 

Q: Do I need a doctor’s referral to receive an antibody exam and test?
A: No referral is needed.

 

Which Test Do I Need?

Q: If I am currently feeling sick with symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, runny nose, muscle aches, sore throat and or fever, which exam and test do I need?
A: If you are currently showing symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, runny nose, muscle aches, sore throat and or fever, you should receive the medical evaluation, exam and PCR test.

Q. If I am NOT currently showing symptoms, and I may or may not have been exposed to someone who has the Coronavirus virus, which exam and test do I need?
A. If you are not showing symptoms and question whether you have been exposed, you should make an online appointment for the medical evaluation, exam and Antibody blood test.

Q. If I think I have been exposed to someone who has had the Coronavirus virus, but I don’t feel sick, which test do I need?
A. The test that you need depends on your time of exposure. If you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the Coronavirus in the last 14 days, you should receive the PCR exam and test. If it has been longer than 14 days and you are not showing symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, runny nose, muscle aches, sore throat and or fever, you need the Antibody exam and test.

Q: Can I get both the PCR and Antibody test at the same appointment.
A. Unfortunately, due to limited supply, we are unable to offer both tests at the same appointment.

Q. Is the Antibody test approved by the FDA
A. Yes, Antibody test is FDA emergency authorization use (EAU) approved.

 

Q: What is TeleCare?
A: TeleCare or telemedicine is high quality, remote care offered to our patients through live video conferencing from their phone or computer.

Q: What hours are you offering TeleCare?
A: 7 days a week from 8am-8pm.

Q: What is the cost for TeleCare?
A: We accept most insurances except Medicaid and Medicaid products. If you want to use the self pay option the cost is $70.

Q: Can I be screened for COVID-19?
A: Yes, we do provide evaluation for COVID-19 symptoms.

Q: What if my provider recommends an office visit during my call, will I be charged twice?
A: If your provider recommends that you be seen at one of our physical locations to receive appropriate care, your copay will be waived (when using insurance) and you will not be billed for the TeleCare visit. If you used the self pay option we will apply the $70 towards your final bill.

Q: Do I need to download an app or any software?
A: No. There is no download required.

Q: How do I check in?
A: Click here for step by step instructions.

Q: How do I find BetterMed’s virtual waiting room?
A: The link is located in the appointment confirmation email or calendar invite. If you’re having trouble finding it, click here for more information.

Q: Who will I be speaking to when I use telemedicine?
A: A staff member will call you to confirm your appointment and one of our highly-trained, compassionate health care providers will conduct your exam.

Q: What happens after my appointment has been scheduled?
A: Once your appointment is made online, please have your insurance card ready. A team member will call you to complete your registration. If you don’t have insurance, you can self-pay for an appointment for $70.

Q: Is my security and privacy information safe?
A: Yes, our platform, doxy.me is HIPAA approved.

Q: What do I do if I have a technical issue?
A: If you need help, please send a message to https://doxy.me or  email telehealthreg@bettermedcare.com

Q: Does Medicaid or Medicare cover telemedicine?
A: Medicare does cover TeleCare, but unfortunately it is not covered by Medicaid at this time.

Q: Can I get a prescription filled from a telemedicine appointment?
A: Prescriptions can be filled following a TeleCare visit and will be sent to the pharmacy of your choice.

Q: What is TeleCare for?
A: TeleCare is ideal for people suffering from conditions like:

  • Sick patients who don’t need or want to come into the office but would benefit from a face-to-face visit and advice from a provider
  • COVID-19 evaluation
  • Follow-up for hypertension
  • Dermatology or skin issues
  • Allergies
  • Bites & stings
  • Burns/sunburns
  • Coughs
  • Cuts & scrapes
  • Dehydration
  • Flu
  • Fever
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Pink eye
  • Rash & skin infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Sore throat
  • Sprains & strains

Q: What is TeleCare NOT for?
A: TeleCare is not for people suffering from serious or life threatening conditions like:

  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Neurological symptoms, suggesting a stroke
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • Choking or gagging
  • Severe Hemorrhoids
  • Head injury
  • Cancer
  • Patients who want to hurt themselves (suicidal)
  • Patients who want to hurt others (homicidal)
  • Schizophrenia or hallucinations

If you have any of the above symptoms or any other serious medical concerns please call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency department.