Mom knows best, especially when someone in the family isn’t feeling well. But, if your college student gets sick at school, you can’t always be there to take him or her to the doctor for medical advice. Cynthia Kildare, NP-C, UnityPoint Health, explains how a virtual care visit might be an easy, convenient solution for both college students and parents alike.
What is a Virtual Care Visit?
Kildare says “going” to a virtual care provider is nearly the same as going to a provider in a physical clinic, except virtual care is available 24/7, year-round. It’s a great solution for students away at school, who might not have access to their normal health care provider.
“All parents want their child to have a good experience with health care,” Kildare says. “Virtual care offers quality care anytime, anyplace. This allows students to get healthier faster and return to their normal selves, getting back to the business of learning.”
Kildare says there are many common health illnesses and injuries virtual care providers can handle, including:
- Sinus infection
- Sore throat
- Urinary tract infection
- Pink eye
- Sprains and strains
- Respiratory infection
- Weight concerns
- Smoking cessation
“When you aren’t feeling well, or you think you may have an illness you can ‘catch,’ virtual care is a convenient way to access care wherever you are. To receive care, you will first need to register online or through the app. Then, you can log on for an appointment from your smart phone, tablet or computer. Your appointment will be with a U.S. board certified doctor or provider through secure, online video,” Kildare says.
The wait time for a requested appointment is usually less than 10 minutes. The actual virtual care visit lasts as long as needed, but most patients can be evaluated and treated in less than 10 minutes as well.
“Not all symptoms or all diagnoses require a prescription. Sometimes, sound medical treatment includes symptom management with lifestyle and over-the-counter treatment. The student pays for the visit and the expert care, not for prescription medication only,” Kildare says.
If further treatment is needed after the appointment, virtual care providers always refer students back to their primary care, student health or local urgent care or emergency care.
Health Coverage for Virtual Care Visit
Kildare says virtual care is covered by many insurance providers. If insurance doesn’t offer virtual care coverage, an appointment costs a flat fee, along with any medications prescribed.
“If virtual care isn’t covered by an insurance plan, the standard cost is $39 for a visit, using a credit or debit card or FSA or HSA card. A form is generated for the student to send to insurance for application to their deductible,” Kildare says.
As for calling home and keeping parents informed, students can share their records with their parents if they wish.
“We do not notify parents who hold insurance for their students. But, if parents have access to the explanation of benefit forms after the visit, they will see a visit was completed on a certain date. We will not share the information directly with parents,” Kildare says.
And, location doesn’t matter for students to utilize virtual care. Students have access to the UnityPoint Health virtual care app regardless of where they currently attend school.
“If you live in the Midwest but study in Boston, we can help you at school and at home!” Kildare says.
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