Contactless Family Planning Services During COVID-19
May 21, 2020
Denver Health is adapting the way we offer many of our essential services to keep all of our patients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those areas is Family Planning, which includes birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and emergency contraception. While we still offer all of these services through in-person visits at our nine Family Health Centers, and on the Denver Health main hospital campus in our Women's Care Clinic, we have expanded our telehealth/telemedicine appointments – which are appointments with a provider over the phone – so that all patients can safely access our family planning services during this time and beyond.
Curbside Depo-Provera Injections
In order to decrease contact for our patients and staff we are now offering curbside, drive-up administration of the birth control shot, known as Depo-Provera. This service was previously only available by coming into one of our clinics.
Denver Health nurse practitioner Sarah Warsh explained that both new and existing Denver Health patients can call 303-436-4949 or use the free MyChart app to schedule a telehealth appointment and then choose a time that is convenient to them to come to one of our clinics and receive their shot administered while they are in their car. The curbside shots are available for both patients who are just starting the birth control shot and for those who are already using it.
For patients who do not have a car or prefer to get the injection inside the clinic, they can still choose to have a safe, in-person appointment. We are preventing the spread of COVID-19 at all Denver Health clinics with precautions such as screening all patients for COVID-19 symptoms, and requiring social distancing, face coverings and proper hand washing before entering clinic waiting areas.
STD Testing Changes During COVID-19
We are taking a hybrid approach to our STD testing appointments, meaning a combination of over-the-phone and in-person visits to drop off a sample at the lab. New and existing Denver Health patients can call 303-436-4949 or use the free MyChart app to schedule a telehealth appointment at their convenience.
Warsh explained that one of our health educators will contact the patient for their appointment and then if it is determined that testing is needed, an order will be placed and the patient can leave samples at one of our labs. Prior to COVID-19, the entirety of these visits were done in person.
Birth Control and Emergency Contraception During COVID-19
Most methods of birth control and prescriptions for emergency contraception are now available to patients without having to come into a Denver Health clinic in-person. New and existing Denver Health patients can call 303-436-4949 or use the free MyChart app to schedule a telehealth appointment at their convenience to discuss different options.
Warsh said that emergency contraception or Plan B requires no in-person contact. Patients should talk to their provider, who can write them a prescription to their preferred pharmacy.
When it comes to birth control, "patients can learn about all available methods of contraception through a telehealth visit with a health educator and provider," Warsh said.
Patients who select a prescribed method of birth control can have their prescriptions sent to their preferred pharmacy without an in-person visit. Many pharmacies, including Denver Health Pharmacies, offer mail-order prescriptions, so you can have your prescription sent right to your home. A 12-month supply of contraceptives is now available.
Patients who select forms of contraception that require an in-person visit can still schedule those visits and be assured that Denver Health clinics are a safe place to come during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our patients will all be screened for symptoms before entering the clinic, patient areas are regularly cleaned and disinfected, patients showing symptoms are separated from other patients and all patients in waiting areas and throughout the clinic will be required to practice social distancing, wear face coverings and practice proper hand hygiene.