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John Silvestri, PA, center, assesses a patient’s complaints online via UCHealth Virtual Visits at the UC Health Virtual Health Center. The health-care provider’s virtual and same-day visits help to fill a emergency-care void in Teller County created by the recent closing of the Penrose-St. Francis Urgent Care in Woodland Park.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that while Penrose Mountain Urgent Care is closing, the Penrose-St. Francis Primary Care clinic remains open, is located at the same place and also offers same-day appointment as well as extended business hours. Additionally, the Cardiovascular Care Clinic and a Spine Care clinic, also at the same location, will remain open.

As Woodland Park loses part of its history with the closing of the Penrose Mountain Urgent Care clinic, the former Langstaff-Brown, UCHealth steps in to fill the gap.

“It’s sad to see things like that happen,” said Joel Yuhas, president and CEO of UCHealth, referring to the clinic’s closing last week, “but from the UCHealth perspective, we’re there for the long haul to meet the community’s needs. We have a lot of interesting options for consumers today who are more sophisticated and who want to receive care where and when they want it.”

When it comes to primary care assistance, there’s an app for that. With My Health Connection at uchealth.org, patients can make appointments to see Rachel Keesling, D.O. or John Torrent, M.D., who practice on the upper level at UCHealth Pikes Peak Regional Hospital in Woodland Park. “We’ve got same-day, next-day appointments for this practice,” Yuhas said.

However, patients who prefer scheduling a visit “the old way” can make an appointment by calling 686-0878. Cripple Creek residents can schedule appointments with Robert Reid, M.D., at UCHealth Primary Care — Cripple Creek, by calling 689-7763.

And for the new-age way to consult with a doctor, the hospital offers Virtual Care Visits online through a computer, tablet, or smart phone. “When you go into the app, it will ask if you want an office visit or virtual care visit,” Yuhas said. “For the virtual visits, we have contracts for all the major insurance companies, including Medicaid, that cover the cost of the visit.”

The app requires the user to enter insurance information. Then the user is given a URL to a provider in the urgent-care or emergency network. If the insurance doesn’t cover the visit there is a flat cost of $49. “If the provider on the other end thinks you need to be seen in an emergency department, we don’t charge you the $49,” Yuhas said.

The virtual visits are for those who have sinus, ear, respiratory or urinary tract infections, coughs, colds, flu, sore throats or pink eye, for instance. “These can easily be managed from your home or work; I’ve used it myself; it’s pretty cool,” he said. “If I suspect I have an urgent-care need, I can go in on the app and within minutes be connected to a provider who at that moment can assess what I’m saying and call in a prescription for whatever I need — the convenience of it cannot be beat.”

Along with the convenience, the patient will know up-front the cost of an clinic visit for a specific condition. “Through the online cost estimator, you enter your insurance information and what you’re going to be seen for,” Yuhas said. “Hit ‘send’ and it will estimate the out-of-pocket costs so there is no surprise.”

The providers, on-call 24/7, are all in the UCHealth health care network within Colorado.

“The service is meant for people who are here in Colorado,” Yuhas said.

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

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