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Doctors taking extra precautions to keep patients safe during regular visits

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BATON ROUGE - As the weeks come and go during the coronavirus pandemic, doctors are worried for their patients who have been putting off that trip to come in to see them. 

"It is important to stay on top of your healthcare," said Dr. Brad Gaspard, with Baton Rouge General. "The only thing going on in our world right now is not coronavirus. So if we forget about the other healthcare needs that these people have, then we're going to end up creating a second crisis."

Gaspard wants the public to know that it is necessary, and safe, to come in for routine and preventative health care. 

"One of the concerns that we have is that they're pushing back relatively urgent needs for longer. And by the time they see us, they're further advanced and harder to take care of," he said. 

Baton Rouge General polled some of their patients and found that 75 percent of them did not want to come in due to concerns over the coronavirus, so the hospital decided to make some changes. 

"We've instituted specific times to take care of patients that aren't at risk for coronavirus, either well preventative care visits or people being seen for non-respiratory things like back pain..."

On top of new scheduling, patients will be able to use touchless payment, pick up their meds curbside and have the option to skip the waiting room.

"A lot of times the wait rooms are empty. Honestly, we're able to get patients right back. But when the wait rooms have excess people or, particularly during the clinic times when we're seeing patients who are here for respiratory complaints, we have the option to wait in your car. And then we'll text you when it's time to come in."

If you're still concerned for your safety, there is still the telehealth option, where you can talk to a medical professional from your own home.

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