Delayed medical care during COVID-19 pandemic increases health risks

June 29, 2022
Doctor working on a digital tablet

Routine care improves your chances of staying healthy

By Regence

A visit to your doctor for recommended preventive care can help find health problems early. Finding cancer or other chronic conditions earlier can make them easier to treat and can result in better outcomes.

“Going to see your doctor for routine care that is recommended for you based on your age or family history, like a colorectal or cervical cancer screening, could save your life,” said Dr. Drew Oliveira, Regence’s senior executive medical director. “There are many reasons why people haven’t had their annual check-up over the past two years. If this is you, it’s time to call your doctor and get that scheduled. Preventive health screenings are safe and typically covered by your health plan.”

Preventive screenings and chronic care management can catch problems early

In June 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 41% of U.S. adults put off going to the doctor for routine care like screenings and chronic condition management. The medical community raised concerns after a December 2021 nationwide study showed new cancer diagnoses decreased by up to 23% due to fewer routine check-ups and screenings. The decrease in screenings may increase future loss of life due to undiagnosed and untreated diseases like cervical and colorectal cancer.

How to know when it’s time to see your doctor for preventive care

Oliveira recommends starting with your primary care provider (PCP) to find out what check-ups are due for you, like a health screening or vaccination. If you’re a Regence member and don’t have a PCP, you can find in-network providers who are accepting new patients by signing in to your account at regence.com.

At Regence, we understand people are busy. Many of our members may not know which preventive services are covered, why they’re important or when they should happen. We’re here to help by contacting our members through an opt-in automated text service that lets them know when it’s time for a screening so they can take action to protect their health. Members can respond to the message and request help scheduling an appointment or finding a provider.

If you’re a Regence member, you can add your mobile phone number to your Regence account at any time after you register online. If you get a text message asking if you want to be reminded of important screenings, be sure to opt in. We’ll help you with scheduling if you need it.

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