Health OnCall service brings care directly to patients’ homesby Jill Clendening | Dec. 1, 2016, 10:06 AM
When you’ve been flattened by the flu, one of the last things you want is the hassle of driving to a medical clinic. Now, with the launch of Vanderbilt Health OnCall, you might not have to.
Those living or working in Davidson County can request a visit from a nurse practitioner who can provide much-needed, non-emergency care through the new patient care service offered by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). In the pilot rollout of Vanderbilt Health OnCall, individuals ages 18-64 can request an on-site visit within the service area through a free downloadable app or by completing a brief online form at www.vanderbilthealth.com/vhoc.
The service is also available to Vanderbilt employees who can request a visit at their workplace locations within Davidson County.
“We’re excited by the addition of Vanderbilt Health OnCall to our health care delivery choices, as it will give individuals with minor illnesses access to a nurse practitioner who can quickly assess, diagnose and provide necessary treatment or referral,” said Laura Beth Brown, vice president of Vanderbilt Health Services and president of Vanderbilt Home Care Services.
“We know it’s not always convenient to come in to a medical provider’s office, so we want to make sure we are providing access to care for those who might need another option. We look forward to expanding this program in the future beyond the initial pilot area of Davidson County. This is about meeting the patients where they are.”
Vanderbilt Health OnCall providers are credentialed VUMC nurse practitioners and are available seven days a week, on a varying schedule. Once a visit is confirmed, the nurse practitioner will arrive within two hours. Currently, four nurse practitioners are handling patient calls, with plans for additional staff as the demand increases and the coverage area expands into surrounding Middle Tennessee counties.
OnCall nurses provide basic care including physical exams and diagnoses for common illnesses and injuries such as headaches, fevers, bronchitis, pneumonia, cold/flu, strep, sinus infections, diarrhea, constipation, rashes or insect bites, small lacerations and sprains/strains.
“We know that when you’re feeling under the weather, you might not want to get in a car, drive across town, and then sit in a waiting room with other people who might also be sick,” said Angela Horton, M.D., medical director for Vanderbilt Health OnCall. “Vanderbilt Health OnCall offers individuals the convenient option of having a same-day visit from a nurse practitioner for the treatment of a minor illness. Individuals receive a thorough evaluation by a highly skilled medical professional and get the care they need so they can more quickly return to their normal activities.”
When a request for an OnCall visit is received, an intake team member will call to confirm the information that has been provided. Then, the nurse practitioner will call to confirm the patient’s symptoms, accept the visit and let the individual requesting the service know when they will be arriving at their location. OnCall costs a flat fee of $99 that must be paid by credit card at the time of scheduling.
At this time, insurance is not accepted for payment, and the service is not available to patients who are Medicare/Medicaid-eligible. Additional services offered include on-site lab testing such as a strep test or urine testing for a urinary tract infection at a cost of $25, and an initial dose of some oral medications for $25.
The medical record that results from a Vanderbilt Health OnCall visit will be loaded into StarPanel, VUMC’s electronic medical record system. When this occurs, other clinical providers at Vanderbilt and within the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network (VHAN), such as a patient’s general practitioner, can access the information.
Download the Vanderbilt Health OnCall app from the Apple App Store or Google Play or visit the website to request an OnCall visit. If you have questions about this service or its availability in your area, call 615-241-6000. Vanderbilt Health OnCall is not a replacement for emergency services, so if you have a medical emergency, please call 911.
Jill Clendening, (615) 322-4747