Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

During this coronavirus emergency, many of our providers need to make temporary changes to their normal hours of operation to protect the health of their patients and staff members. This includes our physicians conducting patient and doctor visits by phone or private video conferences.

If you have an issue reaching your assigned PCP or one of our specialty care providers, please call us at (818) 357-5000 or toll free at (866) 654-3471 so that we can help you locate an alternative provider or urgent care center. You can also search online for nearby urgent care centers at regalmed.com/urgent-care-finder.

If you are experiencing a life-threatening condition, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Your health is our highest priority. We are working closely with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of our patients, employees, physicians and community. We will continue to take necessary precautions and will share the most up-to-date information and guidelines we receive to help prevent and isolate the spread of the coronavirus.

In the meantime, we’ve outlined important information for you and your family about the coronavirus and steps you can take to protect yourself and others.

Important updates during these unprecedented times:

Waiving co-pays for screening and testing

We will continue to waive cost-sharing for medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 for all Medicare, commercial, Cal Medi-Connect and Medi-Cal members.

  • Based upon the Federal and State Emergency Declarations, the cost of services due from members shall be zero for all medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19, including, but not limited to, co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance, for hospital/emergency department visits, urgent care visits, and provider office visits, where the purpose of the visit is to be screened and/or tested for COVID-19.

For Medicare Advantage and Medicare beneficiaries under Part A, B, and/or C, during the COVID-19 epidemic:

  • Care for covered services may be furnished at non-contracted facilities (e.g. hospitals), that are contracted with Medicare; requirements that referrals be requested by the primary care physician (PCP), shall be waived; and the member will have the same cost-sharing for services or benefits furnished at a plan non-contracted facility (e.g. hospital).

Extension of prior authorization for elective care

In order to give you more time to plan elective routine procedures or visits that you have been referred for, approved Prior Authorizations for elective care that have an expiration date of March 1, 2020 – July 1, 2020 will be extended to September 1, 2020. You do not need to request or receive a new authorization. You can use the authorization you have. Authorizations approved from April 5th until June 30th, will reflect the extended time period in the expiration date on the authorization when you receive it from us in the mail.

If you need any assistance with arranging for needed care, please contact either your Primary Care Physician or Customer Service at (866) 654-3471.

*All authorizations are subject to you remaining eligible and enrolled under our medical group and your health plan at the date and time of service.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

  1. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 – fever, cough, sore throat, increased phlegm – call your primary care physician (PCP) or urgent care center first for instructions.
  2. Do not immediately come to your PCP’s office if your symptoms are mild. Instead, call the office and begin a self-quarantine. Most patients will be managed at home.
  3. Only visit the ER if you experience severe respiratory conditions and have trouble breathing. It is important that we keep the ER available for emergencies. Otherwise, expect to be given instructions on self-care under home isolation.
  4. Older adults and people with serious underlying conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild as they seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
  5. If you are experiencing some emergency warning signs such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, or bluish lips or face, seek immediate medical attention.

How will my primary care physician screen and test for COVID-19?

  1. It is projected that over 80% of COVID-19 cases will be managed under home isolation, as symptoms are usually mild in younger or healthier patients. Our hospitals will remain reserved for the sickest patients only.
  2. Expect to answer some screening questions regarding the COVID-19 virus such as:
    1. Have you traveled to any areas where active coronavirus outbreaks have occurred (China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran)?
    2. Do you currently have a fever or any lower respiratory illness (severe productive cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing on exhale) and, in the last 14 days before the onset of symptoms, have you traveled to any of the above areas?
    3. Have you been in close contact with (less than 6 feet from) anyone suspected to have coronavirus while that person was ill?

Your primary care physician will determine if you are required to seek additional COVID-19 testing should they find you have symptoms that indicate you have been exposed to the virus. It is your physician’s discretion based on your answers to questions about your symptoms along with the results of your physical exam if further tests are necessary.

How is the coronavirus being treated?

There is currently still no vaccine available for the coronavirus. Our providers and staff, clinic locations, and urgent care centers will continue to focus on helping members with easing the symptoms to support expediting their recovery and wellness.

How do I prevent the spread of infection?

The best way to prevent infection is to follow some basic common sense rules to protect yourself and to minimize the risk of spreading it to others.

  1. The #1 way to prevent getting coronavirus (CoVid-19) is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (two “happy birthday” songs).
  2. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  4. Avoid contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.
  5. If you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness or have a fever, it is recommended that you stay home.
  6. Make sure to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Soap_kills_coronavirus.jpg Regal Medical Group Urgent Care Finder

Why is “social distancing” important?

If you are over the age of 60 OR have multiple health conditions, stay home and immediately practice “social distancing.” Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others and avoid crowded spaces. Elderly patients with multiple conditions (CHF, COPD, diabetes) are at greatest risk of significant illness.

It is always good practice to wash your hands and use proper cough/sneeze etiquette. Do not touch your face and avoid shaking hands, hugging, or other close person-to-person contact.

How is coronavirus different than the flu?

Similar to other respiratory illnesses like influenza, coronavirus generally spreads from an infected person to others via:

  • Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • Close personal contact (within about six feet), such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Stay Safe California

Governor Newsom has issued a "Stay at Home" order for all of California. This means everyone in California is required to stay home except for the following:

  1. To purchase necessary food, water, etc.
  2. Care for a relative or friend
  3. Seek necessary healthcare, veterinary care, etc.
  4. Go to an "essential job" (grocery store, bank, gas station, medical industry)

Key Education for Patients with Presumed or Confirmed COVID-19

If you become infected with COVID-19 (CDC fact sheet)

Providers are asked to discuss the home isolation instructions with patients. Key points to emphasize from the instructions include:

  • Duration of isolation:
    All symptomatic patients, regardless of test status must stay home until at least 7 days have passed after their symptoms first appeared AND at least 3 days after they have recovered. Recovery means that their fever has been gone for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and their respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) have improved.
    Instruct the patient not to leave their home during this time, except for urgently needed medical care.

  • What to do if seeking medical care:
    If the patient needs to be seen in person for medical care, advise them to call ahead if possible to alert the medical facility that they have COVID-19. Advise that if they have life-threatening symptoms to call 9-1-1 and to tell the dispatch personnel of their COVID-19 status.

  • Prevent transmission in the household:
    Instruct the patient to stay in a specific room and away from other people in the home as much as possible. It is particularly important that they stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness. Discuss the importance of hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and not sharing personal household items. Instructions for cleaning the home are available in multiple languages.

  • Monitor for severe disease:
    Review the warning signs of more severe disease including shortness of breath, weakness, and confusion. For patients at high risk for severe illness, make a plan for what to do if their symptoms worsen, including when to call 9-1-1. If patients live alone or do not have another adult in the house, discuss with them who could do virtual daily check ins.

  • Management of close contacts:
    Household members, intimate partners, caregivers, as well as any additional people who were within 6 feet of the patient for 10 minutes while they were symptomatic or who have had unprotected contact with their body fluids, and/or secretions (such as sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea) are considered to be "close contacts". All close contacts should be quarantined at home for 14 days beyond their last contact to the patient. Discuss with the patient who they may have exposed and instruct them to give home quarantine instructions to all close contacts.

For a full copy of the Order listing the dos and don’ts, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/

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Visit HealthyWay Events to access new classes released every week.

Where can I get up-to-date trusted information?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

LA County Public Health: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/

Orange County Public Health: http://www.ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/epidasmt/epi/dip/prevention/novel_coronavirus

San Bernardino County: http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus/

Riverside County: https://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus

Ventura County: http://www.vchca.org/agency-divisions/public-health

Additional trusted resources:

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/docs/COVHomeIsolation.pdf

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ.pdf

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-SPN.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR20-011.aspx

For Providers:

Medi-Cal Response to COVID-19

Please visit the Hot News area of the Medi-Cal website for regular updates to the Medi-Cal response to COVID-19. http://files.medi-cal.ca.gov/pubsdoco/COVID19_response.asp