Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. is experiencing high demand for its services due to COVID-19 and caring for patients who had delayed routine care early in the pandemic.

“Rural Health team members are making every effort to get our patients into the centers,” said Rural Health CEO Matthew Clay. “We want to share tips that may help you interact with Rural Health during this time of high demand for our services.”

Tips for how to communicate with Rural Health

  • If you are scheduling a routine visit, and/or a visit for an ongoing condition, call Wednesday through Friday as Mondays and Tuesdays are the busiest days for the call center.
  • Patients can avoid waiting on hold by using the Rural Health patient portal. To access the portal, go to http://portal.esrh.org/ or click the portal button on esrh.org. Through the portal you can request refills; access lab test results or immunization records; get a medical summary from your last appointment; ask your provider non-urgent questions; and see statements and pay your bill. To set up a patient portal account, a staff member must first “web enable” your chart. (While the portal is available for all ages, information available for patients ages 13-17 is limited.)
  • Medical visits can be scheduled online for all ages at the Chincoteague center, for pediatric visits at the Eastville center, and for selected providers. Go to esrh.org and select the Make an Appointment tab. To find out which providers you can schedule a visit with online, go to esrh.org, select the Care Team tab and then open the Provider Directory.
  • To improve the flow of your visit, bring all medications you are currently taking to your visit. Also be prepared to update your phone number and address. Provide the phone number you are most likely to be able to answer. To avoid missing call backs patients should enter their center number into their cell phone contacts so that it is clear Rural Health is calling you back – not a telemarketer.
  • Allow a minimum of 48 hours for prescription refill requests to be processed, and five week days for forms submitted for completion by Rural Health staff to be filled out. Patients waiting for results of lab tests or X-rays can get this information through the patient portal. Patients with lab results indicating a potential problem will be called before patients with normal results.

Other important information

Additionally, Rural Health asks patients to get vaccinated for COVID to reduce the chances of needing medical attention. Local pharmacies are offering COVID and flu vaccines and are a great option for those who just need a vaccine. Patients seen at Rural Health will be offered both vaccines as part of their medical appointments.

Additional hours are available. The Onley center is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to address medically urgent issues. It is staffed with providers from all Rural Health centers on a rotating basis. Services are limited on Saturdays – no X-rays, labs or support services are available. Each medical center also offers evening hours one day per week.