The City of Dallas has teamed up with UrgentCare2go to provide free testing for the coronavirus to Dallas residents who do not have access to transportation.
COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting people of color here in Dallas, and those communities are also more likely to suffer from comorbidities that make the disease more deadly. They also face obstacles to accessing care. This op-ed in the The Dallas Morning News goes into more detail about the need for testing access amongst DFW’s most vulnerable populations.
“We were getting a lot of patients who were not able to afford the testing, and a lot of people don’t have transportation,” Dr. Nilesh Nangrani, CEO and founder of UrgentCare2go said. “They’re not able to go to the testing center, and they have very limited resources, including not having a cell phone or a car. That was the biggest reason [for the COVID-19 mobile testing], being able to deploy to this certain population who would not have access to healthcare otherwise.”
In order to be eligible for the program, patients must live within the city limits. Patients must not have a means of transportation or have the means to go to a testing center. Patients must also have at least one of the four following symptoms: temperature of 99.8 degrees or higher, cough, shortness of breath, or recent contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19.
If the patient meets the minimum eligibility, they can schedule a mobile COVID test to their home at no cost. Appointments can be made online or by phone and will be scheduled for two-hour slots between 9 a.m – 9 p.m. UrgentCare2go usually has appointments available same day or next day, Nangrani says.
When the medical assistant arrives, they will check the patient’s temperature and perform a nasal PCR swab. If the test comes back positive, the patient has to follow up with their primary care physician or a local county clinic for instruction on how to manage the illness.
On average, UrgentCare2go has administered around 30 tests per day, but their contract with the city allows them to deliver 60 per day. Because they also have a testing clinic, UrgentCare2go has the capability to do about 200 tests per day. UrgentCare2go has also hired additional staff to help with the mobile test project, Nangrani says.
“[The project] has not really impacted [our clinic] because we’ve hired additional staff and manpower to staff the city of Dallas,” Nangrani said. “We’ve hired about 15 to 20 additional employees to help us with the city of Dallas project which is good because a lot of these people were either furloughed. I’m glad we were able to help them as well.”
Medical assistants wear full personal protective equipment such as head covers, goggles, and masks When possible, the medical assistant will conduct the COVID test perform outside as an additional precaution.
UrgentCare2go has provided Dallas-Forth Worth 24/7 medical house call service with other illnesses since 2016. Nangrani believes the house call model can be used expanded to different cities and states.
Dallas residents can call UrgentCare2go Screening Line 1-888-601-0568 from 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM 7 days a week.