Doctor Hopes New Drive-Thru Testing Site Will Help ‘Wave Away the Wave’ of Coronavirus in Comal County
A New Braunfels surgeon who specializes in breast care is spearheading a privately funded initiative to make drive-thru testing for COVID-19 available to all Comal County residents.
The facility opened Monday, April 6 at an undisclosed location, according to Dr. Judith Thompson. Patients must have a physician’s referral before they can be tested. All appointments will be made by medical staff.
Comal County provided a site for the facility and some resources, including security, but the service is largely being underwritten by donors and supported by the Comal County Medical Society.
“Our intention is to keep sick people out of public spaces,” Thompson said. “That includes doctors offices and emergency rooms. We’re trying to flatten the curve.”
Or wave away the wave, as she likes to say.
“I’d really like to get ahead of the wave,” Thompson said. “And that means if we’re going to compare to South Korea we need to test one individual per 150 people. I believe we can do that. If each of us will just remind one another with a wave that social distancing is the key then we will minimize the impact and the demands on our healthcare delivery system. We’ll manage this much more easily than other communities throughout the country.
“But we have to take this upon ourselves as individuals,” she said.
People who live “on the edge of life” are most likely to be seriously impacted by COVID-19, including the very old, the sick and those without financial resources to pay for healthcare, she said.
The fee for tests at the new drive-thru facility is $70 through commercial labs. The facility also will bill insurers, who have waved most copays. Patients who cannot afford the service will be referred to testing facilities in San Antonio that work with state labs.
Patients who need a physician’s referral for testing but don’t have health insurance should ask doctors what their cash rates are, Thompson said.
She refers patients without a personal doctor to Kelly Family Clinic in New Braunfels.
At the moment Thompson said she doesn’t need volunteers but warns that could change.
“I appreciate and understand that everyone wants to help,” she said. “We don’t have the infrastructure to take on all the volunteers who want to participate at this time. As we need volunteers we’ll put the word out. Because we very well may, but we are just in the infancy of getting up and rolling.”