OGDENSBURG – United Concierge Medicine (UCM) is now available to all employees of United Helpers and their families to use free of charge.
Human Resources Manager Michelle Matthews said that all employees who were hired by United Helpers prior to December were automatically enrolled in the program. New hires are being added each week.
UCM bills themselves as “The Virtual ER,” allowing those who call in to receive medical care without having to leave home or dip into their wallets for a co-pay.
Alycia Dezell, who works as an occupational therapist at United Helpers Rehabilitation and Senior Care in Ogdensburg was one the first United Helpers employees to use the service, calling on behalf of her six-year-old daughter, Blake.
“It was so easy,” Ms. Dezell said. “I called and spoke with a nurse who asked her height and weight, as well as some questions about her symptoms. She said someone who was appropriate for her case would call me back within half an hour.”
Fifteen minutes later, Ms. Dezell said she was on the phone with a pediatrician who was calling from the “518” area code.
“He said that he had seen a lot of similar cases where the illness starts out as viral, but then becomes bacterial,” she recalled, noting Blake had been sick for two weeks. “He prescribed her something for her cough and an antibiotic.”
Ms. Dezell said the doctor asked her where she would like the prescription sent. She then even received a phone call from the pharmacy when the medicine was available to pick up. Two days later she received a follow-up phone call from the same physician and shortly after that Blake received a card in the mail.
The card included a hand-written message addressed to Blake. “We hope you are feeling better since your last consult,” the message said.
Also enclosed were some stickers and the message, “We didn’t want you to miss out on the best part of talking to the doctor.”
When asked if she would use UCM again, without hesitation, Ms. Dezelll replied, “absolutely.”
Ms. Matthews said that in addition to covering United Helpers employees, UCM also covers legal spouses and children up to the age of 26.
“They can diagnose, prescribe medications when appropriate, order labs/diagnostic imaging, and if needed make referrals to specialists in our area,” Ms. Matthews said. “If they can’t treat you, they’ll even contact the ER and let them know you’re coming.”
The service, which is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year can also act as a medical resource similar to WedMD, except with a real person on the line. What UCM does not do though, is replace the emergency room or your primary care physician for medical emergencies, well visits or chronic disease/condition management.
“You can even use the service if you’re on vacation and get sick or forget your medicine,” Ms. Matthews said. “They’ll call in your prescription to whichever pharmacy is closest to you.”
To best utilize the service, Ms. Matthews recommends downloading the UCMNow app, which available both for Android and IOS operating systems. If you do not have the app though the service may also be accessed by calling (844) 4VIP-DOC.
In order for spouses and dependents to use the service, Ms. Matthews said they must be enrolled. Employees should have received enrollment forms in their email. For questions connected to enrollment, please contact Human Resources Senior Office Technician Kelly Ward at (315) 393-3074 ext. 4237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.