Interview conducted by Scot Singpiel, University of Utah Healthcare
Anxious about seeking health care because of COVID-19 risks? Neglecting a needed doctor’s visit now could make things worse in the future. Dr. Jeanmarie Mayer, chief medical epidemiologist, says University of Utah Health is ready to safely care for you. She says now is the time to talk to your health provider about missed screenings, chronic condition management, nagging issues that could worsen if neglected, and catching up on childhood vaccinations.
Interviewer: Have you been putting off getting health care that you need because COVID-19 has you nervous about going to the hospital or health clinics?
Dr. Jean Marie Mayer is the Chief Medical Epidemiologist at University of Utah Health, and it’s her job to make sure that the hospital is safe to prevent patients from acquiring health care associated infections, when they come to the hospital or health clinics, such as COVID-19. And Dr. Mayer says University of Utah Health is open, safe, and that for certain individuals delaying care could have health consequences. What do you mean by that?
Dr. Mayer: The CDC really tells us that 6 out of 10 adults in the United States have a chronic underlying disease, and these are conditions that really need to have regular maintenance and care. And these are conditions that, if someone were exposed to COVID, could actually make it more difficult for those individuals to overcome. They’d be more susceptible to complications of COVID. So it’s really important to continue your ongoing care.
So there’s certain things like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, seeking screening procedures, such as mammograms or colonoscopies. I would also say, particularly for young children, for vaccines, we’ve seen a drop-off during the months of COVID in the state of Utah. So I think about 20% to 30% decrease in childhood vaccinations over this period of time.
It’s really critical to not delay care. You want to identify those illnesses early, so that you have the optimal care that can be provided by your care provider.
Interviewer: So what I’m hearing from you is that if somebody has some sort of other condition, and they’ve been putting off care, not going to University of Utah Hospital or clinic, because they’re afraid that they might be, you know, they might catch COVID-19, and then that would be a worst thing, what I’m hearing is they could feel very safe going to the hospitals or clinics, that things are under control.
Dr. Mayer: Yes, definitely. And I would recommend that all of our patients contact their primary care providers. Some of the care can still be delivered by a virtual visit. But there are some things that just need a hands-on, in-person visit. You can’t listen to lungs, listen to heart sounds. There may be screening tests that need to be taken to provide that optimal care for patients. And again, you want to keep a handle on keeping yourself as healthy as possible.
Thank you to University of Utah Healthcare and HealthScope for providing this article. See their other articles here.