MALONE — The UVM Health Network–Alice Hyde Medical Center is expanding its curbside telehealth program after the initiative, which launched last month, proved popular with patients and providers, the hospital announced Friday.

Alice Hyde’s Curbside Telehealth program is now available at Tower Health Center in St. Regis Falls, Bessette Health Center in Chateaugay, Dwyer Health Center in Moira and at the hospital’s endocrinology practice at 20 Fourth St. in Malone. The program has also expanded at the hospital’s primary care building at 183 Park St., Malone, where it was initially launched in late April, and now includes 10 providers ranging from primary care to endocrinology.

“Try it out. Don’t be afraid to continue with your medical care and your regular medical needs and your routine follow-ups, because this is a way we can care for your safely,” said Laura Rizzo, a family nurse practitioner who is a primary care provider at Tower Health Center. “You can maintain contact (with your provider) and maintain some normalcy through all of this.”

Rizzo said ensuring patients don’t put off their health care needs is a top priority as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Northern New Yorkers’ daily lives, and curbside telehealth services are one way providers at Alice Hyde are reimagining how health care delivery works.

“Patients are really looking for some sense of normalcy — we all are right now,” she said. “Curbside telehealth allows patients who might not otherwise be able to have a visit at all, because they don’t have the technology, to connect. I think patients like it because they can say they’ve seen me, and it’s not just a phone call. For the times we’re in, it definitely a positive for folks.”

Alice Hyde launched its Telehealth services earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and began offering curbside telehealth services in late April to serve residents in Franklin County who don’t have access to the reliable internet connection necessary to make a video call possible or to a tablet, computer or smart phone capable of holding a video call. For those patients, Alice Hyde will provide a tablet or iPad that the patient can use from their vehicle to conduct a video visit with their provider.

Others may have the technology, but may be too intimidated to try conducting a virtual health care visit at home without assistance.

When a patient schedules a curbside telehealth visit, a licensed practical nurse will be on hand to help patients launch their video visit — whether they are using a borrowed piece of technology or their own smart phone or tablet.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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