6 questions our members are asking about COVID-19

If you have questions about the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, you’re not alone. We’re all concerned about how this new virus is impacting our daily lives and the potential effect it may have on our health. The health and safety of our members are always our top priorities. We’re committed to protecting our members, patients, employees, and communities.

Recently we’ve received many questions from our members about getting care, how to protect ourselves, testing, and coverage for those who have lost employment. We’ve consulted with our experts for answers.

1. I have an appointment scheduled with my doctor. Should I go in person?

As your partner in health, we are here to make sure you can get the care you need during the COVID-19 outbreak, and we’re doing everything we can to keep you and our communities safe. All nonessential office visits, surgeries, and procedures are being rescheduled or postponed. We are calling all members who have scheduled appointments to discuss virtual care options. Our virtual care options make it easy to get most medical care without leaving home.

Non-critical appointments and procedures that can’t be handled virtually may be postponed. If you need to be seen in person, please call your doctor’s office or the Consulting Nurse Service at 1-800-297-6877 (TTY 711) for advice on how best to get the care you need.

2. How do I get care when I need it?

We expect to see more patients with symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the coming weeks. To make sure you get the high-quality care you need, we’re increasing the availability of virtual care options. This allows you to get great care without being near people who are showing symptoms.

Some of our clinic locations have temporarily stopped providing in-person care. This is helping us increase the availability of virtual visits and is helping to protect our members, staff, and community from potential exposure to the coronavirus. The situation is changing quickly, and we’ll continue to adjust to ensure we’re ready to meet the critical health needs we’re facing.

Our Consulting Nurse Service or your doctor’s office can help determine whether or not you should receive in-person care. Call them before coming to any location for care. If you do need to come in, essential in-person care is available at 9 Kaiser Permanente medical facilities:

  • Bellevue Medical Center
  • Capitol Hill Campus (Seattle)
  • Everett Medical Center
  • Federal Way Medical Center
  • Olympia Medical Center
  • Riverfront Medical Center (Spokane)
  • Silverdale Medical Center
  • Smokey Point Medical Center
  • Tacoma Medical Center

All other Kaiser Permanente medical facilities are temporarily closed to in-person visits. All CareClinic at Bartell Drugs locations are also temporarily closed.

3. What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms or think I’ve been exposed?

If you feel sick with fever or cough or have difficulty breathing — which are symptoms of COVID-19 — call your doctor’s office or the consulting nurse at 1-800-297-6877 (TTY 711) for instructions. You may need to get tested, and you need an appointment for this.

It’s important to call us before you come in. Doing so helps us direct you to the most appropriate care, and take precautions to protect yourself, other members, and employees.

Members who have flu-like symptoms and are 18 or older can also sign in to kp.org/wa for an e-visit to evaluate your symptoms, get online care and advice, be screened for the coronavirus, and get treatment for symptoms if necessary.

4. Do I need to be tested for the coronavirus?

You don’t need to be tested if you aren’t showing symptoms. We’re prepared to test patients for COVID-19 if they meet the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local public health agency. Testing isn’t recommended for people with mild or moderate symptoms.

If you or a family member has symptoms of respiratory illness and are concerned you may have been exposed, please call the consulting nurse at 1-800-297-6877 (TTY 711) or sign in to kp.org/wa for an e-visit to evaluate your symptoms. If testing is warranted, according to guidance set by the CDC and public health agency criteria, we will make the appropriate arrangements.

As a Kaiser Permanente member, you will not have to pay for coronavirus evaluation or testing. This ensures that cost will not get in the way of testing our members who may be affected.

5. I lost my job, what should I do about my Kaiser Permanente coverage?

We’re deeply committed to making sure our members and the communities we serve have access to the care they need. If a Kaiser Permanente member loses coverage due to job loss, we can help them learn about their options. Whatever their care needs, our team can help members navigate the complexities to find the coverage they want and need so there’s no disruption in their Kaiser Permanente care. For more information, please visit continuecoverage.kaiserpermanente.org.

6. Do you have enough personal protective equipment (PPE)?

We’re working around the clock to make sure our facilities and staff are ready to provide high-quality care for our members. We’ve been carefully managing our resources, ensuring we have adequate access to PPE and medical supplies needed for the screening and treatment of patients with potential and confirmed COVID-19 infections. As we screen more and more patients, our supply needs will increase. We have the supplies and equipment we need today to safely care for our members and protect our staff, and we’re planning for the coming weeks and months to ensure those supplies remain available. You can help us continue to care for our most critically ill patients by using e-visits and phone and video appointments.

You can also find up-to-the-minute information on prevention, testing, and treatment of COVID-19 at our website.

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