SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- For many of us, navigating the uncharted waters of this pandemic can be difficult and can change from minute to minute.

For example, if you have a doctor's appointment, and it's not an emergency...do you keep it?

Tonight, Western Mass News got answers from Baystate Medical Center on whether you should keep that eye or dermatologist appointment...or stay home.

During this COVID-19 pandemic...changes are being made by the minute at Baystate Medical Center and many doctors offices across the state and here in western mass.

The Baystate Health Community represents thousands of medical staff and providers from dozens of specialties, including Doctor Glenn Alli.

"We are still seeing patients in person but before doing so we're asking folks to call so that we have the opportunity to talk to them and access their symptoms and a need to come in for an in-person visit," Dr. Alli said.

During this pandemic, however... Baystate's Medical Director for Community Primary Care Practices asks patients to do one thing before your scheduled appointment.

"So we ask people to call their provider, whether they're at Baystate or some other practice to understand what their capabilities are right now in meeting their needs," Dr. Alli explained.

Doctor Alli told Western Mass News, Baystate had already been working on telemedicine for almost a year...seeing patients via a secured video-set up.

"Some things can be done via telemedicine, or a video connection with a patient, you know, rashes and moles could perhaps be addressed that way," Dr. Alli said.

Admittedly it can feel a bit..odd.. for some at first, but Dr. Alli said, it has been well received and because of coronavirus concerns...

"Its been scaling up very quickly not only throughout all of the primary care but moving into specialties as well," Dr. Alli noted.

But many, he said, do require a face-to-face visit.

So whether you are coming to Baystate Health or another provider in the area, for a routine check or something more pressing...Dr. Alli urges every patient to call first.

The CDC recommends that healthcare providers limit unnecessary appointments...to stay in touch with your doctor and again call before you head to that appointment.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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