As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout Nassau County, many residents, including those with serious heart problems, are afraid or unable to go to the doctor.
Cardiologist and Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics founder Perry Frankel is using a 40-foot mobile medical unit to provide heart disease patients with the care they need without going to his office.
Frankel said he has seen patients with stress-related heart problems during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many patients are stressed out from coronavirus and the economic stress [associated with it],” he said. “Many patients [are] stressed [about] family members who have coronavirus.”
The New Hyde Park-based Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics team can perform blood pressure readings, lab work, electrocardiograms and other tests from the mobile unit. They travel to community centers and apartment complexes across Long Island and Queens. The team offers house calls when necessary.
Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined, according to the American Heart Association. While lifestyle and genetics play a major role in determining cardiovascular health, studies have linked stress to heart disease as well.
Those with cardiovascular problems are at greater risk of contracting coronavirus and are likely to experience more severe symptoms.
By bringing the mobile clinic to patients, the team hopes to keep those with heart disease out of hospitals, and therefore limit their exposure to the virus.
Despite the relatively close quarters on the bus, Frankel said he and his team are hypervigilant about following social distancing guidelines in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The mobile unit is 40 feet long and can extend to be 12 feet wide, Frankel said. The medical team keeps patients 10 feet apart and sanitizes the space between patients and at the beginning and end of each day.
“We usually can see five people at a time on the bus,” said Frankel, “but because of social distancing we can only see two patients at a time.”
Like most medical care providers throughout the U.S., Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics is struggling to get access to the personal protective equipment that it needs to keep running.
“We are running low on PPEs and reusing masks,” said Frankel. “We can’t get [them] from our medical suppliers. We received some from eBay.”
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Frankel and his team used the bus to offer care to police officers and other high-stress workers who may be at increased risk for heart disease.
Frankel said Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics is relying primarily on government agencies, civic organizations and media to get the word out about the mobile unit.
Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics accepts most insurance. Those seeking appointments should call (516) 488–5050 or email [email protected].
Frankel’s practice also offers telehealth appointments. Patients can call the number mentioned above, or download the app Healow and enter the code BEEGBA to schedule a session.