Telemedicine

Cheshire Medical Center patients now have a round-the-clock option for virtual urgent care visits, thanks to a new initiative from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health.

Last month, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health launched a virtual urgent care service that is also open to people without providers in the system and is available 24/7.

“The pandemic made virtual care necessary for safety reasons, but patients soon learned to appreciate the convenience of seeing their providers virtually,” Mary Lowry, administrative director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Connected Care, said in a news release Wednesday announcing the new telehealth service. “... It is a simple, private, low-stress experience.”

With D-HH Virtual Urgent Care, patients can choose to see the next available provider or schedule a visit later that same day, according to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. Providers are typically available within 15 minutes, the release notes.

Patients can request a virtual visit for more than 30 conditions, such as cold, flu, allergies, rashes, urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal issues. Medications can also be prescribed for patients when needed, the release says.

The virtual visits are a self-pay service, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock will not bill a patient’s insurance, according to Lowry of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. Patients will be charged a $59 fee for the appointment, although she said a patient’s health insurer may reimburse that cost.

Since last spring, Cheshire Medical Center patients needing non-emergency urgent primary care have been able to connect with a provider by phone or video, rather than driving to the Keene hospital’s main campus on Court Street. That virtual service is available during walk-in hours for people with primary-care providers within the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system.

Cheshire Medical’s own urgent primary-care service is open for walk-ins and virtual services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and holidays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Urgent primary care serves about 12,000 patients annually, according to hospital spokeswoman Heather Atwell.

Most insurances are accepted, she noted, but that doesn’t mean certain insurance providers will cover the appointment’s cost. For questions about coverage, Atwell recommends that patients contact their insurance provider directly.

Monadnock Region residents can also receive urgent telehealth care through ConvenientMD on Winchester Street in Keene, according to spokesman Adam Rosenthal.

The service is offered seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., but starting May 1, Rosenthal said the hours will be extended to 10 p.m.

To book an appointment through Cheshire Medical’s program, call 354-5484. For D-HH Virtual Urgent Care, patients can call 833-599-0447. Those interested in ConvenientMD’s service can call 833-263-0131.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or obelanger@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.