Wednesday, October 4, 2023

State launches free telemedicine screenings for Covid-19 treatment

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and StarMed Healthcare launched a telemedicine program to improve treatment accessibility to people that test positive for Covid-19.

For a limited time, the two entities will offer free telemedicine appointments for those who tested positive for Covid-19 with an at-home test or other method. If the providor determines a patient is eligible for oral antiviral treatment, such as Paxlovid, they can send a prescription to the patient’s chosen pharmacy or through a mail-order pharmacy.

“Authorized Covid-19 treatments like Paxlovid can prevent hospitalizations and save lives if started within five days of symptoms,” NCDHHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health and State Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Kansagra said in a press release. “Everyone, especially people at high risk of getting very sick from Covid-19, should have a plan to contact a health care providor right away if they test positive. This telemedicine program offers another option for quick access to lifesaving treatment.”

The program is scheduled to run until funding runs out, which leaders expect to occur around mid-March 2023.

The telemedicine screenings are available regardless of insurance status; those with insurance will be billed and NCDHHS will pay any additional balance. The uninsured will not be charged. Oral antiviral pills are also available without cost.

Telemedicine appointments are available in English, Spanish and six additional languages. An interpretation service spanning 200 other languages, including American Sign Language, will also be possible.

Members of the public can schedule an appointment at StarMed’s website or by calling 704-941-6000 seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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