YAKIMA — Virginia Mason Memorial has established a COVID–19 evaluation clinic at the repurposed Creekside HealthyNow Clinic at 3909 Creekside Loop, Suite 115.

People who are experiencing a cough, fever and shortness of breath symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, can go online at www.healthynowclinic.com or call (509) 225-4669 to set up an appointment to be seen.

The clinic is open every day, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Patients are advised to remain in their vehicles when they arrive and to call 225-4669 and confirm they’re in the parking lot. A clinic team member will meet the patient at their vehicle and escort them into the clinic.

Additionally, VMM implemented a proactive healthcare measure in setting up a triage and medical screening area for large numbers of potential patients seeking care within a large green tent outside the Emergency Department doors of the hospital.

Community partners at the Union Gospel Mission provided the Camp Hope tent.

Currently, the hospital is also planning a longer-term COVID-19 clinic to open soon. Information of when the facility will open has not been released.

Astria Health officials reported the development of a drive up COVID-19 testing process, which will be rolled out once additional testing kits are procured. Details of the program have not been announced.

State waives testing fees for regulated health plans

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Health and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) are working to make sure residents don’t face financial barriers to COVID-19 testing when they need it.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency order to state-regulated health plans on March 5 to cover testing (including any lab fees) and the related visit for COVID-19 without copays or deductibles; suspend any prior authorization requirement for treatment or testing of COVID-19, and allow enrollees to be treated by another provider within a reasonable distance at no additional cost if there are not enough in-network providers.

The copay and deductible waiver also apply to all high-deductible health plans with qualifying health savings accounts (HSAs), according to guidance from the Internal Revenue Service. This emergency order remains in effect through May 4, 2020.

Washington residents may still be charged for tests or services for other conditions that may occur during the visit.

For example, if a resident is tested for other respiratory illnesses as well as COVID-19, they may pay a fee for the other tests. Going to the emergency room for COVID-19 testing may also result in a fee for the visit.

State-regulated health plans are overseen by the OIC and include individual health plans, small employer health plans, and some large employer plans.

The OIC does not regulate self-funded employer plans, Medicaid, Medicare, or health plans for federal employees, members of the military, or veterans. However, some of these plans have chosen to waive copays and deductibles for COVID-19 to align with the emergency order. If you are unsure what type of health plan you have, contact your employer’s human resources office.

Should you receive a bill from your insurer for COVID-19 testing or the office visit, file a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner by visiting www.insurance.wa.gov.

DOH has established a call center to address questions about what is happening in Washington state with WA 211 to provide information and support to all Washintonians at this time by hosting the COVID -19 information line. What that means is that locally here in Yakima at the Greater Columbia 2-1-1 Call Center that is located within People For People they are answering calls from across the state. They use the CDC and DOH resources to get people the information they need Currently, phone lines are staffed from 6 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week.

More information on COVID-19 is available from the Washington State Department of Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.doh.wa.gov.

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