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Telemedicine now offered by major Upstate hospitals, some with local doctors

(Diane Lee, WSPA) – When you’re sick the last thing you may want to do is get in the car and wait in a doctor’s office.

That’s one of the reasons virtual healthcare is taking off nationally, and now, Upstate hospitals are offering their own versions of “telemedicine.”

Nick McSherry in Simpsonville had never considered virtual healthcare until he got a nasty stomach virus a few months back.

“I was in and out of the bathroom throwing up that day and just really sick.  I just couldn’t leave, I didn’t want to leave,” said McSherry.

He used Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s new Virtual Care program to get anti-nausea meds.

In some ways the telemedicine program is similar to national companies with one key difference: Many Virtual Care doctors are local.

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“There’s some health systems that don’t use their physicians at all.  We didn’t like that idea, we felt like we needed to have a better pulse on how things are going and we wanted our physicians to provide the care,” said Maria Williams, the Senior V.P. for TeleHealth at SRHS.

For the same price, $49 dollars a visit, Bon Secours Saint Francis also offers its own version called Virtual Doctor Visits.  Right now those physicians are not local.

And for $20 Prisma Health offers Smart Exam, a written system that does not use video.

We should note some health care insurers offer their own telemedicine, and may not cover your virtual visit.

Virtual healthcare is not ideal for patients who have a chronic condition or need emergency care.  But it does cover urgent care like cold and flu symptoms, allergies and asthma, stomach issues and sinus infections.

If your Virtual Care doctor recommends instead you go to a physician in person you will not be charged for your visit.

School kids are also benefitting.  Cleveland Academy in Spartanburg is part of pilot program where kids can see a Virtual Care doctor right away.

“It’s not only effective but it’s more convenient,” said SRHS Doctor Vince Slater.

For students whos health insurance is Medicaid, any doctors visits on school property are covered 100%.

Whether you’re a child or adult, a little extra convenience when you’re feeling sick, helps the medicine go down.

“It settled my stomach, it was seamless,” said McSherry.

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