HAGERSTOWN, Md. — As we come out of the holidays, many parents are aware that another season is in full swing: viral illness season.
In 2022, cases of flu, RSV and COVID hit high-risk patients, especially children. Healthcare centers across the nation saw RSV cases surge as much as five times what had been seen in previous years.
Meritus Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anand Budi, said now is the time to be extra careful, especially with the holiday season and people getting together. He feels access to pediatric care is so important that Meritus has committed to working with insurance plans across the tri-state region.
“We’re more worried about the younger kids because the risk of hospitalization in infants and toddlers is much higher,” said Dr Budi, who is also a neonatologist and pediatrician.
If symptoms come on strong, a primary care provider could recommend hospitalization. Dr. Budi said parents in the region should know what care options are available to them.
Meritus offers multiple options for children, including a dedicated pediatric urgent care clinic and of course, 24-7 pediatric care at Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown.
The hospital offers dedicated pediatric hospitalists to care for children, Dr. Budi said, regardless of where those children might live. Meritus cares for children from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland, routinely.
“We are very committed to providing care for our community,” said Chief Strategy Officer Dave Lehr. “We believe our neighbors from the tri-state region should have the care they need close to home. The very last thing a parent should worry about when their child is ill is driving hours away for the care they need.”
Meritus Medical Center, at 11116 Medical Campus Road, Hagerstown, Md., is about a 25-minute drive from Chambersburg, and less than 15 from Greencastle and Waynesboro. The health system accepts Pennsylvania insurances, including Medicaid. They also have options for those without insurance.
“We will not turn you or your family away,” Lehr said. “We want to make sure you have the care you need, without the burden of travel. It’s our honor to help our neighbors during their time of need.”