Why Worry, When You Can KNOW…
As we sit at home in “self isolation,” perhaps our greatest COVID-19 worry is that if we are not careful enough, we–or someone we love–could become one of those critically ill patients on ventilators. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be a huge relief to know we ALREADY HAD an infection–but our own antibodies protected us–and we didn’t even know it?
To KNOW, a physician must order testing which Dr. Lee can do for you via telemedicine on your home computer in the convenience of your own home. There is no waiting for hours sitting next to sick people in overcrowded waiting rooms–exposed to infection–just to see your doctor. Moreover–particularly for those with no insurance or a high deductible–Dr. Lee can do it for you quickly for less than the cost of a typical Emergency Room or Urgent Care visit.
TO TEST IF YOU’VE ALREADY HAD A COVID-19 INFECTION: The new Quest Diagnostics SARS-CoV-2 laboratory blood (serology) test detects IgG antibodies your body makes to fight this infection from 7 to 14 days after symptom onset. If your test is positive, it indicates the presence of protective antibodies which signifies you have already had a COVID-19 infection, but not the degree of immunity you may or may not have or how long antibodies will be present. However, you may be able to help others if you can donate plasma with protective antibodies to critically ill patients such as ICU patients on ventilators.
Conversely, if your antibody blood test is negative, there is NO evidence of prior infection by COVID-19 and Dr. Lee recommends the continuation of maximal precautions to prevent future infection, particularly if you are in a high risk group such as those who are older or have medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes, lung problems, etc. To have this test, Quest Diagnostics requires you to be symptom free for at least 10 days and to wear a face mask when you arrive for your appointment to draw your blood. This test is NOT to be confused with finger-stick antibody blood tests such as those which closed down a local urgent care in Las Vegas recently. See “Labs” under “Quest Diagnostics” for more information.
VIP Medical Clinic Telemedicine Consultation Fee: $70.00
Other testing options
GOVERNMENT CARE: University Clinics and Health Departments such as UNLV and the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) usually offer FREE care. Their doctors and staff are paid, of course, but because they are government subsidized, they have the ability to offer the services of their doctors and staff FREE to you because you have already paid for this through your taxes. Consequently, we recommend you seek COVID-19 Testing here first if you do not have pre-paid Medical Insurance since there could be no cost at all to you. However, their appointment capacity to see patients may be limited; they may or may not offer blood antibody testing, and you may have to wait in a Waiting Room for care–exposed to others who may have COVID-19.
YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN: Of course, if you have medical insurance, you should see your own doctor because your insurance premiums have already paid for your care. However, if you just cannot get a quick appointment–or don’t chose to wait in your own doctor’s waiting room–you must pay a physician out-of-network to screen you, order the test if you meet criteria, and do a swab,saliva, or blood collection.
URGENT CARE or ER: Urgent Care Clinics and Hospital Emergency Rooms (ERs) are often over-crowded and by far, the most expensive and most time-consuming way to get care. Moreover, if you must wait hours to see a doctor, you are exposed to infection by everyone else coughing in the waiting room–and they are exposed to you. You may also prevent them from taking care of Emergencies which are immediately life-threatening. While the federal government will process your COVID-19 SWAB or SALIVA Test for FREE, you may be charged for everything else from* $100 to $200 per Urgent Care visit–and upwards of $500 per ER visit–unless you have medical insurance. Insurance provider Cigna** estimates that an average ER visit costs $2,259, while an average urgent care visit costs $176. TalktoMira*** estimates the “majority of urgent care clinics charging between $120 to $160.” What you actually pay will depend on the center and what tests or services you need, and the deductible if you have insurance. If you cannot immediately pay for your care, ask how you are required to make repayment–and estimate how much it costs–before you are committed to them.
(How Much Does Urgent Care Cost? www.solvhealth.com/faq/how-much-does-urgent-care-cost. Cigna. Urgent Care Without Insurance: *How Does It Add Up? by Patricia Chaney, January 4, 2018, www.dignityhealth.org/articles/urgent-care-without-insurance-how-does-it-add-up. How Much Does Urgent Care Cost Without Insurance? by Alyssa Orcuilo, February 12, 2020, www.talktomira.com/post/how-much-does-urgent-care-cost-without-insurance)
HOME TEST KITS: On April 21, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first diagnostic test with a home collection option for COVID-19. Specifically, the FDA re-issued the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) COVID-19 RT-PCR Test to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using LabCorp’s Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kit. These were thought to be great for convenience and privacy, but the delay in getting tests mailed to you, then mailed back through the postal service may be excessive. Also, the nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs included may be difficult to do to yourself for an adequate sample and you may get a negative test result, even if positive. Initially, the COVID-19 self-collection kits will only be made available to healthcare workers and first responders who may have been exposed to the virus or may have Coronavirus symptoms, which is consistent with prioritization guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).