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Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s COVID-19 Screening Working Well So Far

By Nathan Ham

The initial program by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System to begin screening for the COVID-19 coronavirus has been functioning as well as could be hoped at this point.

“The testing facilities are in place and they have been successful and have been achieving what we set out for them to do,” said Rob Hudspeth, Sr. Vice President for System Advancement at ARHS.

Patients who are sick and believe they might have COVID-19 symptoms can begin the process for getting tested by an initial online screening provided by RelyMD.

RelyMD features board-certified physician visits through your computer, laptop or cell phone. ARHS employees have been using RelyMD for telehealth services for the last two years and have found it to be a unique alternative for people that cannot visit a doctor’s office.

“RelyMD was a great idea and it’s working. We don’t have a line of people yet which I think is a blessing because we’ve needed a few days to make sure we were operationalizing in a way that is convenient and safe and so far so good,” said Hudspeth.

If the online physician feels that you have COVID-19 symptoms, you will be scheduled for a test at a drive-thru location in Watauga or Avery County. The entire test takes place without leaving the comfort of your vehicle.

The COVID-19 test will be sent to an independent lab and will likely take three to four days to return a result. You and your family will also be given information on self-care and quarantine while you await the results. If your test result is positive for COVID-19 you will be isolated for a mandatory 14-day period.

This screening was created in order to accelerate the process for getting tested, and to create a safer and more cost-effective alternative to visiting hospitals or clinics.

“We’ve been trying to operationalize this telehealth concept even before the virus arrived in the High Country. It’s a smart way to protect our community and our employees. We need to keep caregivers well, so they can take care of others. There are just so many benefits associated with this program,” said Hudspeth.

Patients can simply log on to relymd.com/covidarhs and use coupon code BEWELLARHS. The cost of the physician screening will be $49.

The chart below gives you the step-by-step process on how this works.

If you have any other questions, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has set up a COVID-19 web page that you can find here.