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Paxlovid Now Available at Innovative Express Care

COVID cases are once again on the rise, so it’s important to know that there is virus treatment readily available. You do not have to be immunocompromised to qualify, but you do have to act quickly once you become symptomatic in order to be eligible for treatment. Innovative Care has COVID treatment available daily at our COVID, Cold and Flu Clinics, and at our urgent care. Our providers will explain your options and recommend a treatment best suited to your needs. 

Paxlovid

Paxlovid is an antiviral pill that is available by prescription only for patients age 12 and older. Paxlovid should be taken as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19, and within five days of symptom onset. Review the FDA patient fact sheet for more information about this FDA EUA approved oral medication for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. 

Since time is of the essence, Innovative Care carries Paxlovid medication at our COVID, Cold and Flu clinics, as well as at our urgent care. This means that if you are diagnosed with COVID and qualify for Paxlovid, you can take the medication home with you immediately. There is no searching for a pharmacy that has it, and no extra stops on the way home. You can simply get your meds, get home and get well. Book online to schedule an appointment for an evaluation to determine if you qualify for Paxlovid.  

Additional COVID Treatment & Prevention Options

Monoclonal Antibodies

Innovative Care also offers Sotrovimab and Bebtelovimab Monoclonal antibodies, which serve as substitute antibodies that help our immune systems mimic the defense of natural COVID-19 antibodies. Sotrovimab is FDA EUA approved for the treatment of COVID-19. More information and the patient fact sheets can be found on our website. Schedule your appointment here.

Evusheld

Evusheld is not a COVID treatment, but rather a prophylactic medication that you take before COVID exposure. It can play an important role in illness prevention for people who are at high risk of complications from COVID. Sadly, it’s also often difficult to find. That’s why we also carry Evusheld on hand for patients who qualify. Schedule an appointment online, come in to speak with our provider and you’ll go home with Evusheld if you qualify. It’s that easy.

COVID Vaccines & Booster 

Innovative Care offers COVID vaccines daily at our Downers Grove clinic. Schedule online today, as being vaccinated (and if eligible, boosted) is your best defense against COVID. 

Living with COVID

We are likely to see virus activity continue to ebb and flow. In addition, the severity of illness will vary with each unique strain of COVID. Your best course of action is to focus on prevention (vaccines and masks when warranted). If you do get ill, get tested, seek treatment if you are positive for COVID, and stay home so you can prevent virus spread. We’ve come a long way in the last two years, but we all still have an important role to play as we learn to live with COVID. 

Is COVID, a cold or the flu? Expanded testing will help you sort out your symptoms

Coughs, sniffles and sneezing are commonplace this time of year, yet these symptoms now put people on alert due to the COVID pandemic. If you are sick and symptomatic, come see us. 

We have expanded the testing available at our COVID clinics so you can get to the bottom of what’s making you feel crummy. Our team will test for flu and COVID in one simple swab, and can even test for strep throat or mononucleosis (aka “mono”) if appropriate. 

Our COVID, cold and flu clinics are essentially a one-stop shop for cold and flu season. We will do more than just test, treat, and vaccinate you for COVID. We will find out if you have an ear infection, strep throat or another common illness, and then treat you for those, so you can get on the mend sooner. Ruling out flu, COVID and other illnesses in one visit will also save you time. 

Patients who are symptomatic will now benefit from having their ears, nose, throat and lungs checked during their visit. The evaluation will allow providers to determine what testing, in addition to a COVID swab, is necessary. Well patients who simply need a COVID test for work or travel can expect the same speedy testing services they’ve come to expect from Innovative Care over the past 20 months. 

Innovative Care has two dedicated COVID, cold and flu clinics. The Lincoln Park clinic is located at 1111 W. Diversey Parkway and includes a convenient testing drive-thru. The Downers Grove clinic is located at 136 Ogden Avenue near Trader Joe’s. 

Innovative Express Care, the medical group’s urgent care, is also open seven days a week for illnesses, injuries and testing. All locations accept walk-in appointments, or patients can schedule online in advance of their visit.  

 

Will the seasonal flu return this year?

Last year was an unprecedented year for many reasons. COVID hit Chicago early in the year, which made working from home the norm and face coverings a part of our daily fashion. As a result, we had a surprisingly nonexistent flu season in 2020. Will that continue to be the case during the 2021/22 season? Likely not according to Dr. Khare. Here’s what he has to say about the upcoming flu season, including when he expects to see activity start, why you should get a flu vaccine and more. 

Q: Will the seasonal flu return this year?

A: Yes, I expect to see flu activity again this season. There are many reasons for this. Adults are coming back to work, kids are back in school, sporting events and theatre are back and quite frankly, people are ready to be out and about again. In addition, mask guidelines are less stringent in many places. Simply put, more interaction between people and less virus precautions will equal greater spread of viruses, including flu. 

Q: Why didn’t we have a flu season in 2020? 

A: In 2020, the majority of people stayed home more than ever before. They worked from home, they ordered groceries, they opted for carryout versus dining out, and schools had numerous virus mitigations including remote learning. All of these measures led to a decrease in flu activity, and fewer illnesses overall, including common things such as strep throat and the common cold. 

Q: Who should be vaccinated for the flu?

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six-months of age and older, unless you are allergic. It is especially important for high-risk individuals, which include infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly, as well as those with underlying health conditions. 

Q: When is the best time to get your flu shot? 

A: I advise patients to get their flu shot by early November so they are protected by Thanksgiving. We generally see flu activity ramp up by late November, with activity continuing through March. There is no reason for a “wait and see” approach, as the flu vaccine carries

Innovative Care offers flu shots at our urgent care clinic daily. You may also get your flu vaccine during visits with our primary care providers, or when you come for a COVID test.

High demand for monoclonal antibodies following positive COVID test

We have seen a tremendous increase in the demand for monoclonal antibodies in the last two months. More people are becoming aware of this FDA EUA authorized treatment for COVID-19, and many patients are immediately searching for monoclonal antibodies upon receiving a positive COVID test. 

Innovative Care began offering monoclonal antibodies at our COVID clinics in September. We have since doubled the amount of appointments available each week in an attempt to meet the demand. We will soon increase the number of appointments again so we can help more people. 

Why all the hype about monoclonal antibodies? 

Monoclonal antibodies are the only FDA EUA authorized outpatient treatment for COVID-19. When administered in the first 10 days that a patient experiences virus symptoms, monoclonal antibodies may significantly reduce the severity of symptoms and thereby lower the incidence of hospitalization. COVID-19 has crippled our healthcare system in many ways. Ensuring there are fewer hospitalizations from COVID-19 is one of the ways we can fight this pandemic. 

Monoclonal antibodies are most commonly administered to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who have conditions that make them at high risk for complications from the virus. However, family members of a positive patient may also qualify. Does your elderly aunt or grandmother live with you? Does your roommate have a condition that makes them at high risk for complications from COVID? If so, those individuals are also able to receive monoclonal antibodies as a preventative measure to help ensure they do not get sick. 

Are monoclonal antibodies a substitute for vaccination? 

No, monoclonal antibodies are not intended to be in place of the vaccine. However, if you have chosen not to be vaccinated, they are a line of defense for you. Likewise, vaccinated individuals can get monoclonal antibodies to help prevent serious illness. Monoclonal antibodies are another tool in our arsenal to fight COVID-19. 

How do I get an appointment?

If you or a loved one test positive for COVID-19 and wish to get monoclonal antibodies, schedule an appointment online. We offer monoclonal antibodies Monday through Friday between our Chicago and Downers Grove clinics. You can learn more or schedule your visit here

Innovative Care is proud to be among the first clinics in Chicago offering monoclonal antibodies. We have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in every way possible since it started and we will continue to offer the latest in treatments and testing

Telemedicine is Here to Stay at Innovative Care

Telemedicine Covered by Insurance?

Consumers have come to enjoy conveniences that started during the COVID pandemic. With curbside retail pick-ups, grocery delivery and virtual appointments with your doctor, you hardly have to leave home anymore! The COVID pandemic forced many businesses into a consumer-centric mindset designed to make convenience (and the ability to stay home) king. In healthcare, this was rare pre-pandemic. But not at Innovative Care! We have offered telemedicine since we opened our doors in 2015, as it is part of our promise to make quality care more convenient. When the pandemic hit, we simply utilized the system we already had in place to see even more patients virtually. 

Is telemedicine here to stay?

It is at Innovative Care! In fact, we are continuing to ramp up our telemedicine services. We offer virtual visits as well as in-person visits at our urgent care, primary care and behavioral health practices. We also utilize virtual visits in other programs, such as our ADHD management and Innovative Weight Management programs. Patients want convenience, and with the technology readily available to us, there is no reason not to offer it. 

The question remains as to whether or not other clinics will do the same. This recent article in the Washington Post suggests that while patients want telemedicine to continue, many clinics will reduce or eliminate virtual appointments in the coming months due to insurer policies. 

Does insurance cover telemedicine at Innovative?

Yes! Insurance may be used for visits with our urgent care and primary care teams, as well as for ADHD evaluations, and visits that are part of our weight management program

Committed to Convenient Care

Innovative Care was founded with the promise to provide quality care that is also convenient and efficient. We understand that our patients are busy. They do not have time for unnecessary visits, or long hold times trying to make an appointment. We utilize technology to offer virtual appointments and easy, online scheduling.

Concert Goers Who Are Sneezing, Sniffling, Coughing or have a Sore Throat, Should Get Tested for COVID

It’s early in the week, but we are already seeing Lolla concert goers coming in with a sore throat, coughs and sniffles. Does this mean they caught COVID? No, but it does mean that they should be tested for the virus. 

Assume you have been exposed

Events the size of Lollapalooza almost guarantee you have been exposed to COVID. If you are vaccinated, you have a chance of avoiding illness, but please know that breakthrough infections are happening at a high rate. The tricky part is this…people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 typically have only minor symptoms. Oftentimes, these are symptoms that wouldn’t even raise a red flag. The biggest finding from the recent CDC report is that vaccinated people can get COVID-19 AND they are still highly contagious! That’s why we recommend that people be tested if they have any symptom out of the ordinary, even if they are vaccinated. 

Living with COVID

The Delta variant is the dominant strain of COVID going around right now. It is highly contagious, so identifying it as the cause of symptoms early is key to stopping it from spreading. Innovative Care offers COVID testing seven days a week at our Lincoln Park clinic. We also have a COVID testing site in Downers Grove

The best protection against COVID-19 is to increase the number of people who are vaccinated. This virus is not going away, and it will continue to mutate along the way. We must learn to live with COVID, which means 1) get vaccinated 2) test if you have symptoms and 3) do your part to protect others, i.e. mask up when warranted. 

Vaccines Available in Downers Grove

If you have not yet been vaccinated, know that it offers your best protection against COVID. Schedule a vaccine appointment online at our Downers Grove clinic. This clinic also offers COVID testing.

Innovative Care Simplifies ADHD Management for Patients

ADHD Management

We think managing your ADHD should be fast, easy, convenient, and dignified. If you are tired of trekking to the doctor monthly just to get a prescription refill, we can help. Innovative Care recently launched Innovative ADHD, a service designed to make managing ADHD more convenient for patients. Our providers will see you virtually for medication refills, which means you only need to physically come to the clinic twice a year. Keep reading if you are ready to save time and simplify your ADHD management. 

Already diagnosed with ADHD?

If you have already been diagnosed with ADHD and want to benefit from virtual appointments and a far more convenient management program, visit us online. You can have better ADHD care in three simple steps. 

Step 1: Complete online form

Step 2: Schedule an in-person visit

Step 3: Monthly telemedicine management

Not yet diagnosed but believe you have ADHD? 

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects between 3-5 percent of the adult population. Symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity (but not always), and impulsive behavior can make everyday life a challenge. If you are struggling to stay focused and are feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, our therapy team can help

Step 1: Complete the online form

Step 2: Virtual evaluation

Step 3: Primary care visit

Step 4: Telemedicine management 

We Accept Insurance

Innovative Care is a medical group in Chicago. We have brick and mortar clinics, and we also offer telemedicine. Our goal is to make quality healthcare more convenient and efficient for our patients. We accept most insurance plans for ADHD evaluations and management. A list of accepted insurance plans can be found here

ADHD Evolved

Our tagline is Healthcare Evolved. Well, Innovative ADHD makes ADHD management evolved, too. Patients benefit from a real clinic, with real providers (unlike those online only pharmacies) managing their care. With only two in-person visits a year, it’s a no-brainer. We’ll even deliver your medications to your house or work! Get started today.

Easy Lolla Testing at Innovative Care

Lolla COVID Testing

If you are planning to party at Lollapalooza, you will need proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result (within 72 hours) to enter the music festival. Innovative Care offers hundreds of testing appointments daily, at two city locations, to get you ready to rock. Here’s what you should know: 

Test before the Fest

Lollapalooza will require proof of a negative COVID test from anyone who is unvaccinated. Your rapid COVID test must be performed within 72 hours of your entry to the music festival.

Easy Access to Fast Results

Innovative Care has two clinics to serve Lolla festival goers. Innovative COVID accepts insurance (or you can self-pay). COVID of Chicago is self-pay only. Both clinics offer a discounted Lolla testing rate for rapid COVID tests.

Innovative COVID – 1111 W. Diversey Parkway

  • Insurance is accepted. If you have a plan we do not accept, you will pay a discounted $100 Lolla rate for your rapid test (show us your wristband for this rate). This occurs rarely since we accept most major insurance plans (less than 1 in 100 people self-pay). 
  • If you have NO medical insurance, we will test you for FREE using the CARES Act 
  • Easy drive-thru testing
  • Results in 15-30 minutes via email, or wait on-site and take your printed documentation with you.  

COVID of Chicago – 1240 N Halsted

  • Self-pay only. We do not accept insurance at this location. 
  • $100 Lolla rate (show us your wristband for the discounted rate)
  • Results in 15-30 minutes via email, or wait on-site and take your printed documentation with you.  
Keep Rockin’

Proof of vaccination is likely to become commonplace for entry into events. Virus strains, such as the Delta variant, are continuing to fuel COVID-19. If you have not been vaccinated, please do so to help curb this pandemic. The vaccines being offered in the United States are effective against the Delta variant strain and offer our best protection. Until more people are vaccinated, the virus will continue to alter our lives. Keep rocking and avoid the need to test prior to events by getting vaccinated

STIs on the Rise as Chicagoans Take Dating Offline

STIs Chicago

COVID-19 put a damper on dating in 2020, but now that restrictions have been lifted, Chicagoans are taking their dates offline and hopping back into the dating scene. Based on anecdotal evidence and a review of our recent provider visits, it appears they are hopping back into bed, too! 

Innovative Express Care has seen a sharp increase in the number of visits related to Sexually Transmitted Infections in the last month (at least 50 percent more than what we saw six months ago). It’s going to be a hot summer in Chicago, so be sure to protect your sexual health. Our providers have some tips:

Safety First

You don’t go out in the rain without a raincoat, so don’t go out to the club without one either. 

Be Proactive About Your Sexual Health 

Many STIs do not cause symptoms. Be proactive and screen for STIs regularly rather than only asking your provider about testing if you have symptoms. A general rule of thumb on STI testing frequency is this – get tested every time you change partners. 

Swipe Right Frequently? 

If you are free as a bird, sewing your oats and having fun with multiple partners, plan on STI testing every 3-6 months. Innovative Express Care offers an array of testing options and we are open seven days a week. 

Get the HPV vaccine

People up to age 45 can be vaccinated against HPV. If you have ever been sexually active and have not been vaccinated against the HPV virus, we urge you to get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine protects against the main strains of HPV, which have been known to cause cancer. Innovative Express Care carries the HPV vaccine and we can easily vaccinate you during your next appointment

What to Test For?

We see chlamydia and gonorrhea most frequently at Innovative Express Care. Both of these STIs may be present without symptoms, which makes being proactive about your sexual health extremely important. HPV is also extremely common, but testing for this STI is typically done during a well woman exam when you are having a pap smear. There is not a good HPV test for men, so this STI is most commonly detected in women. 

Schedule Testing

STI testing ranges from $175-250 for self-pay patients. We also accept insurance. Appointments are easy to schedule online at Innovative Express Care.  

 

Will our “Normal” Days Last? Dr. Khare weighs in on new COVID strains and what to expect moving forward

No restrictions. None. Normal. Well, almost normal. Whatever you want to call where we are right now, it’s wonderful. Chicago is out and about, smiling and socializing. We even have full capacity Cubs games again. We’ve come a long way since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our lives. But is it over? I asked Dr. Khare to offer his perspective on what’s next. Will we continue to see small spikes? Is the new strain going to threaten to shut things down again? Here’s what he had to say. 

Q: Should we be worried about new strains of COVID-19?

A: The CDC is watching new strains closely, as variants of the virus have the potential to spark new waves of illness. One variant in particular that is on the CDC watch list is the Delta strain (B.1.617.2). This mutation of COVID-19 was first detected in India in February 2021. India, as we’ve seen on the news, has suffered tremendous loss. Thousands of people got sick. This strain of COVID-19 is already in the United States. Whether it creates another round of illness is the real question, but here’s the data: If you have been vaccinated, this strain will not affect you. The only issue is for those who have not been vaccinated. There is a significant amount of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) that is pushed in the media (obviously, they need to get clicks and reads), but right now, in my medical opinion, this strain will not cause an increase in COVID-19 cases in those who are vaccinated.

Q: Will COVID-19 ever be gone from our lives? 

A: Probably not. However, it will likely become less problematic and we will learn to live with it. Vaccines, coupled with people having antibodies from previous infection, will limit new strains from spreading. When COVID-19 first entered the United States, we had no protection. It spread like wildfire and caused serious illness. Now, even if new COVID-19 strains continue to crop up, we have some level of protection. We learn more about the virus every day, which allows us to create effective vaccines and to be proactive in preventing its spread.

Q: Will additional vaccines be required? 

A: Much like flu viruses, COVID-19 viruses can mutate and change. For this reason it is entirely possible that we will one day have annual vaccines for COVID-19 variants. Scientists are continuing to study how well the existing vaccines protect against the variants. They are also astudying how long the vaccines will last and protect us. I suspect booster vaccines will be needed down the road, probably starting in October. You will probably need to get a booster from the same manufacturer as your original vaccine. 

Q: Do we still need to be tested for COVID-19 every time we get symptoms? 

A: While COVID-19 virus numbers are low currently, it’s still best to be tested if you have cold-like symptoms, a cough, fever or shortness of breath. Innovative Express Care continues to offer COVID-19 testing at our 1111 W. Diversey Parkway location. Testing and early identification of the virus allows you to quarantine and prevent spreading the illness to others. The days of dismissing symptoms and going to work sick or not are likely over. COVID-19 devastated many businesses as employee outbreaks occurred. For this reason, many will continue to require COVID tests and take a more proactive approach to employee health.