By Taylor Knopf, with updates by Yen Duong
Note: This is a reprint of a story by Taylor Knopf on telehealth options after Florence from September 2018, with Dorian-specific updates.
Medical issues are bound to arise in the coming days after Hurricane Dorian. So for all of those non-emergency issues, there are a number of companies providing free virtual doctor visits.
Telehealth visits can be useful for treating conditions such as a sinus infection, a rash or a urinary tract infection. They can also be used to refill some prescriptions.
Controlled substances, however, cannot be refilled over a telehealth visit.
Most providers charge $49 for a virtual visit, but due to the devastation caused by the storm, many are waiving that cost with special access codes listed below. (These offer codes are case sensitive. You must type them in exactly as they appear in quotes below, with no period after.)
Some of the telehealth networks have a hotline to help you get started. You can download the associated app on your phone or tablet or visit the networks’ websites. Most will ask for basic information, such as age, height and weight before connecting you to a provider.
You can talk to a doctor through your computer or mobile device. If your connection is strong enough, you will be able to video chat with a provider. Voice telephone calls are also available through certain providers.
Go online here to access virtual health visits through Atrium Health. Atrium is waiving fees for South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia residents through September 9. Use the coupon code “DORIAN.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a 24/7, year-round, multilingual behavioral health “Disaster Distress” hotline, call: 1 800 985 5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
Cone Health is waiving virtual doctor visit fees through Monday, Sept. 9. Visit Cone Health online here or download the Cone Health Virtual Visit app to schedule an appointment. When registering, use the code “CONEDORIANRELIEF” to waive the usual fees.
Health Line Blue
With Health Line Blue, a free product for Blue Cross Blue Shield members, nurses answer questions about medications and provide medical guidance until patients can see a physician. Call 877-477-2424 anytime, day or night, to speak with a Health Line Blue nurse.
Teladoc is also offering free virtual doctor visits for those affected by Dorian. The Teledoc natural disaster hotline is 855-225-5032, available 24/7 all year round for non-emergency illnesses and conditions; they also prescribe medication. Call to get started or visit Teladoc’s natural disaster web page here.
UNC Urgent Care 24/7
To assist those physically located in North Carolina who are displaced by the storm, the University of North Carolina health care system is waiving fees for its virtual care visits through Friday, Sept. 13. To use this service, go to the UNC Urgent Care 24/7 website or download the app on your mobile device from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Be sure to use the free offer code “UNCDorian2019” on both the website and the app.
Vidant is waiving fees for a one-time visit with its virtual care network VidantNow through midnight on Sunday, Sept. 8. To get started with a telehealth visit, you can call 888-575-2522, download the VidantNow app on your mobile device or visit the website here. Use the coupon code “vidantrelief” to get your free visit.
Doctor on Demand
A national organization, Doctor on Demand, also announced it will cover video visits at no cost to all those impacted by the natural disaster now through September 15th. To access Doctor On Demand, download the free app (iTunes or Google Play) or create an account on the website. Once registered, patients can enter code DORIAN2019 to their account to redeem their visit with a medical provider.
Duke Health Anywhere
Duke Health has virtual urgent care visits from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week all year via its free app. See the website here. It is waiving fees for its virtual urgent care visits for residents in impacted counties with code “DORIAN”. When called, a representative said he had not yet received a stop date for the promotion.
WakeMed Virtual Urgent Care
WakeMed ER doctors staff the virtual clinic, which is free to all North Carolina residents through Sunday, Sept. 8. Use code “storm19” in the app, which can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play stores, and see the website.