Some Upstate hospitals see decline in patients; doctors want you to continue healthcare routines

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ANDERSON, SC (WSPA)–Some Upstate hospitals are seeing a decline in patients visiting their emergency rooms and primary care facilities. Doctors said you shouldn’t delay your health, but take control of it now.

Healthcare experts at Anmed Health and Spartanburg Regional Health Care System said people are skipping their healthcare routines or not getting help at all during the pandemic. Doctors tell 7-News it’s out of fear of COVID-19. However, physicians don’t want you to be afraid to get your health in check.

“We have seen a trend nationwide that people are delaying essential care that they need, and that is not a good thing, because that can lead to a lot of bad outcomes for patients,” said Dr. Syed Malik, AnMed Health Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine.

Doctors and health leaders said people are skipping things like screening procedures, wellness exams, and emergency room visits.

“Folks are not seeking emergent care, urgent care, and routine care and that’s across the board. But frankly, in some of our communities, people in our communities that are folks of color are even higher in not seeking that care because of their concerns,” said William Kenley, AnMed Health CEO.

The new CEO said fear shouldn’t be the cause of you not getting help, as they’ve taken extra precautionary steps to keep you safe.

“Additional cleaning practices, screenings at our entrances to make sure people are not positive with COVID. When they come in the door, masks, distancing in our waiting areas– so that folks can be safe,” Kenley said.

These are all things Dr. Malik said he witnessed first hand as a patient too.

“I experienced this as a patient when I went to have my procedure done recently. I was screened at the door,” Malik said. “Everything I expected the AnMed staff to do, I experienced personally as a patient. So for me to go through that and see it from the other side, was actually a very reassuring experience,” he added.

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System also said by putting off your healthcare, it will only make things worse. Upstate doctors are estimating there could be additional deaths nationwide outside of COVID-19 this year, because of that delay.

“It’s very important, while being careful, not to delay the essential care that they need, because we estimate that this year, there will be additional deaths nationwide because people are not getting the care that they need,” Malik said. “Such as the screening for cancer. So, we expect the cancer rate might go up over the next several years as a result of patients not seeking the care at the right time,” he added.

Whether it’s getting screened for sicknesses or just getting a flu shot, healthcare leaders said you need to stay on top of your medical needs.

“With the flu season coming, we may have difficulty managing both flu and the COVID pandemic at the same time. So the least we can do is minimize the risk of getting the flu by taking the flu shot now when it’s readily available,” Malik said.

Hospital leaders said it’s best to keep your health top of mind, before it’s too late.

“If you’ve got needs seek those needs. Seek out us to fulfill those healthcare needs,” Kenley explained.

If you have questions or concerns about practices or procedures at AnMed Health or Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, you’re encouraged to contact your healthcare providers who will walk you through all safety measures before your visits.

AnMed Health recently received “Zero Harm” awards for patient safety. The honor goes to hospitals that prevent all hospital-acquired infections of a specific nature over an extended period of time.

Spartanburg Regional Medical System sent this statement to 7-News:

“Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System has seen a decline in visits to its emergency rooms and primary care offices during the pandemic. We are encouraging patients to seek care, whether that’s emergency room visits for critical needs or routine wellness exams.

Staying up to date on treatment plans can keep patients healthy. In some cases, patients also could be putting themselves at higher risk by skipping wellness exams or scheduled check-ins with their primary care providers or internal medicine physicians.

The health of Upstate residents is essential during this pandemic, and Spartanburg Regional is taking additional steps to protect patients. Safety precautions are in place at all of our hospitals, immediate care centers and primary care practices – including requiring facemasks, physical distancing in common areas, regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces and screening of patients.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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