Buffalo, NY – A Buffalo telehealth company has launched a Covid-19 testing and treatment program aimed at schools and businesses.
Mobile Telemed kicked off a back-to-school/back-to-work telehealth program last week when it tested hundreds of college students returning to campus at Le Moyne College in Syracuse.
The company has developed a full program that includes temperature sensing devices, testing as well as a telehealth monitoring program for students who are sent into quarantine for suspected exposure. Those who test positive for the virus receive telemonitoring equipment to connect directly with physicians and other advance practice providers to help track and treat their symptoms until they are well again.
Mobile Telemed joins a growing field of health-care providers who are contracting directly with groups to offer on-site testing and treatment for Covid-19:
• Kaleida Health Laboratories is partnering with the Erie County Department of Health and area farms to provide saliva-based testing kits to agricultural workers. Kaleida’s lab division will distribute, then receive sample kits on the day of collection, then process and send them out to a lab in New Jersey that completes the testing.
• WellNow Urgent Care signed agreements for on-site testing clinics at Daemen College, Niagara University and D’Youville College for students, faculty and staff returning to campus. NU is also bringing Niagara Falls Memorial onto campus, with testing provided through Kaleida labs.
The difference here is Mobile TeleMed’s health-care team goes beyond just testing to actually provide ongoing care and monitoring under contract with the school or employer, while the individual’s insurance is billed for the services.
Working with schools is an extension of its business model: Since 2008, the company has provided wireless medical monitoring equipment to home-based patients to track blood pressure, weight, medication compliance. The technology is now in use by about 6,500 patients across the region in private homes and skilled-nursing facilities.
Brian Egan, CEO, said the company developed software in-house, and invested about $350,000 in additional devices and hardware, including Bluetooth enabled pulse-oximeters and mobile carts.
“We’re utilizing our technology and medical teams to follow these students every day through the virus,” he said. “It’s really to just ensure the employees and students aren’t coming in with Covid. If they do, we have a medical team that follows them.”
In addition to its own team of 34 physicians, a team of nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide virtual telehealth monitoring and services from Mobile TeleMed’s call center on Buffalo’s waterfront.
For its contract at Le Moyne, the company has contracted with Syracuse-based Salus Group to provide nurses for the initial screening and testing; then sends test samples to KSL Diagnostics, a Getzville-based lab that guarantees test results within 48 hours.
More than 500 students were screened last Friday and Saturday as they arrived on campus. Students passed before a thermal temperature device that flashes green if their skin temperature was within the normal range; or red if the device senses a temp of 100.4 or higher. Those students are pulled to the side, tested, then quarantined and monitored while awaiting test results.
As students register, they are also asked a series of questions to see if they’ve been exposed to the virus and could be asymptomatic.
Mobile TeleMed also signed a contract with BOCES to provide its back-to-school Covid-19 program to schools in Jamestown and Salamanca, as well as Frontier and Genesee Valley, where it began providing medical and mental health services last year for students, faculty and staff.
“The good thing about this is BOCES is state-funded so we did a sole-source contract for this technology so it’s offered to the schools. The schools that opt-in are then reimbursed 80% from the state so it’s a no-brainer for them,” Egan said.
The thermal temperature device also offers facial recognition features, which Egan hopes will be a lure for employers who opt into the back-to-work program.
Egan is working to finalize contracts now with several corporate groups; and plans to double the company’s space at La Riviere Drive at Waterfront Village center by leasing another 7,000 square feet to accommodate ongoing growth.