‘Care Should Not Be Interrupted’

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the care that patients are able to receive at the office of Dr. Chris Casso, a board-certified family medicine physician with Valley Care Clinics in Edinburg.

“We continue to have our patients come in for their lab appointments, and we continue to see our patients for their follow-up visit for chronic illnesses or acute illness,” Casso wrote in an email. “It is best to evaluate some patients in person, depending on their symptoms.”

Casso and her team have taken steps to adapt to the COVID-19 situation, ensuring that everyone who comes to or works in her office stays safe.

“We had to make some immediate changes regarding patient access during the pandemic including screening those who may be ill and finding a safe way to evaluate and treat without the risk of exposing other patients and staff,” Casso wrote.

Some of those changes included requesting that patients disclose whether they have had any possible exposure to COVID-19 or displayed any of the typical symptoms, including sore throat, fever with shakes, dry cough, and loss of taste or smell, among others. Staff members check patients’ temperatures before they enter the office and require that masks be worn. Removing chairs in the lobby and limiting the number of people at any given time has helped with social distancing recommendations. And as always, high-traffic areas like door handles, countertops, and other surfaces are regularly disinfected.

“We also have seen a significant decline in patient visits and had to make sure that there was a process in place to safely evaluate patients with acute or chronic illnesses,” Casso wrote. “When a state of emergency was declared, insurance companies including CMS approved Telehealth visits, and so we started to convert a lot of our in-office visits into telemedicine visits.”

Casso’s office has been using Zoom and Doximity to conduct virtual visits for patients whenever applicable. Patients typically receive instructions on downloading the appropriate software the day before the appointment, and then are contacted via email or text to begin.

Casso said she saw the value in using virtual meeting applications for telemedicine appointments.

“Telemedicine visits have been helpful for our patients. I hope that insurance companies including Medicare continue to make these types of visits available for our patients, as it can help with continuity of care and preventive health,” Casso wrote. “There will always be a need for in-office visits, but I am so grateful that we have been able to continue our care for our patients through this pandemic using telemedicine.”

Casso provides the following services:

  • Adult care
  • Management of diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and related disorders
  • Geriatric care
  • Pediatric care
  • Physicals
  • Preventive medicine
  • Urgent care
  • Wellness visits

No matter the reasons for seeking a doctor’s visit, Casso wants her patients to know that as always, she is here for them.

“I want them to know that I am still able to see them virtually or in the office, that South Texas Health System Clinics is taking extra precautionary measures to keep patients, physicians, and staff safe, and that their care should not be interrupted,” she wrote.

Dr. Chris Casso practices family medicine at 4001 S. Sugar Road, Suite B, in Edinburg. Call to schedule an appointment at (956) 603-1515. Learn more about her practice and background at https://www.valleycareclinics.com/casso.