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Saskatchewan enhances patient access, provides necessary supports for physician safety

Released on March 13, 2020

With the growing concern around COVID-19, Saskatchewan is taking steps to enhance access to health care by providing support for physicians to offer virtual appointments to patients.

The new virtual services, which will be supported through a new payment code for physicians, will enable patients to connect with physicians by telephone effective immediately. (View Billing Information Sheet here). The Ministry of Health is also working to provide patients with the ability to connect with doctors by secure video, which may be available as early as next week with physician offices that offer that option.

“Keeping Saskatchewan residents healthy and containing community transmission of this coronavirus is a priority for our government,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.  “Provision of virtual care by telephone or video is just one strategy we are using to ensure residents have options for accessing health care.”

“The SMA is pleased with this development because it provides patients with remote access to physicians,” SMA President Dr. Allan Woo said.  “This kind of access also provides a safer work environment for doctors and their staff during this pandemic.  We need a healthy physician workforce to tackle the challenges presented by the outbreak of COVID-19.”

The risk to Saskatchewan residents still remains low, but all residents can help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
• Wash your hands frequently;
• Sneeze or cough into a tissue or your sleeve;
• Practice social distancing; and
• Stay home if you are sick.

The government is reminding patients that if they suspect they are ill as a result of a COVID-19 infection, they should first call HealthLine 811.

Saskatchewan residents can visit www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus for risk and prevention information and for the latest travel guidance.

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