“To think that we're in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and suddenly we don't have any health care provision, when we've always had it was a hard thing to find out,” Skip Trudeau, vice president of student development said. “Especially in the timeframe in which we found out about it.”
The professional relationship between Upland Health and Diagnostics Center and Marion General Hospital ended early July, and left Taylor seeking new alternatives for health care.
As a result, Taylor has recently partnered with TimelyMD telehealth, an online alternative to health care by the name of “Taylor Care.”
Taylor Care comes at no additional cost to the students and will provide 24/7 online access to medical care providers and psychological counselors.
Students have the option to choose from the different healthcare professionals to find the best fit.
“We believe this option will provide rapid health and wellness consultation without requiring a visit to a waiting room with potential exposure to illness,” as stated in a Taylor press release on Aug. 14, addressed to the incoming class of 2024.
Telehealth eliminates the in-person risk of visiting a clinic, especially in a COVID-19 reality it may be preferable to a lot of people, said Trudeau.
Taylor Care is also able to provide unlimited access to online counselors at all hours of the day. The counselors provide students with a consultation appointment and set them up with on campus or off campus counselors.
Telehealth connects patients with health care virtually, according to the American Hospital Association, and 76% of U.S. hospitals use video and other forms of technology to connect with patients and consulting practitioners at a distance.
“Even a really old guy like myself (has) used telehealth, which I would have never dreamed that I would have done that,” Trudeau said.
According to TimelyMD’s website, they are the only student-first telehealth provider that provides an entire health care plan for college campuses. They challenge their employees to innovate, collaborate and grow in an effort to improve healthcare for the better.
TimelyMD has pursued Taylor for several years, and their services have been considered in the past. No formal action was ever taken from a financial standpoint considering the access to the in person clinic however with the introduction of COVID-19 telehealth became more appealing, said Trudeau.
The typical turnaround time from the day the contract is signed to when the system is operational is 45 days however TimelyMD has responded to Taylor’s immediate needs and sped the process up to approximately 15 days.
Currently, Timely MD is working alongside Taylor’s IT Department to provide a mobile app for students which is slated to be up and running by September.
Taylor recognizes that telehealth does not cover all that an in person clinic is able to provide and they are currently in communication with multiple different options for a permanent in person health care supplement.
“We've got the telehealth side and we want to make sure we're covering the things that it can't, and that we need to fill in the gaps with an in-person option, and then long term we want a solution that covers both of those,” said Trudeau.
Taylor has signed a one year contract with Timely MD and will reevaluate for future years.
The physical facility of Upland Health and Diagnostics Center continues to be very important to Taylor.
“I'm hopeful that sometime in the near future that there'll be a new arrangement across the street and we can re-enter negotiations with people who might be able to provide services over there,” Trudeau said. “It's just too good of a location.”
Currently the Upland Health and Diagnostics Center Pharmacy is open and available for prescriptions and over the counter medicines, but does not carry more complicated prescriptions as those were a part of Marion General Hospital.
Primary care options from Upland Health and Diagnostics Center are no longer available for any patients at this time.
If there are medical concerns during this transition period contact Sandy Wright at 765.660.7520 to schedule an appointment at the Gas City Clinic. Student insurance will be used for billing, but Taylor can provide additional financial assistance as needed. Any additional testing, labs and services beyond the visit will be at the student’s expense.
If you have any questions, please contact Jesse Brown (email@example.com). Additional contacts include, Marion General Hospital at Gas City (765-998-9970), Marion General Hospital in Marion (765-660-6000), IU Health in Hartford City/Blackford County (765-348-0300), and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie (765-747-3111). On campus resources include your residence hall director and the Taylor Counseling Center (8-5222).