There are a few phrases that have become buzz words in our daily conversations, heard on every news show, and if you’re like me, you never want to hear again. “These trying times”, “these unprecedented times”, “social distancing”, and by far my least favorite phrase of this covid era is “NEW NORMAL”!!! So bear with me as I attempt to write a brief explanation of how our office is trying to manage things during “these trying times” without overusing each and every one of these annoying phrases!
Above all, we are trying to keep our patients, staff and doctors safe. We have implemented several practices in an attempt to do so. Since March our physicians have met at least weekly to discuss the ever-evolving situation. We have put policies into place, only to have the situation change and a week later, we’ve changed things again. These are “unprecedented times” you know, so we’ve had to make decisions we never thought we would have to make, adapt in ways we never thought we would have to do, and then turn around and change everything as new information comes to light on this mess.
If I were to try to write what I know to be true about SARS-CoV-2, aka, Coronavirus, aka Covid-19, I would have to modify it next week. So, here’s the skinny on what we are doing in our office as of the second week of July. We’ll update when appropriate.
MASKS ARE REQUIRED for everyone coming into the office. Please wear one and have all children >3 years of age wear one. This is for the protection of others, including our most vulnerable patients, our staff and our physicians.
Please limit the number of people in the office to one parent + the sick child/children. Avoid bringing siblings who do not have an appointment. No grandparents, nannies, etc.
We are limiting the mornings to “non-sick” patients only. This is an ideal time for well visits. We will continue to see well visits, sports physical, etc in the afternoons, if parents wish, with the understanding that there will likely be ill patients in the office during this time, although separated into different waiting rooms.
We are asking patients and parents to attempt to keep an appropriate “social distance” when in the office.
We are cleaning the waiting room throughout the day, and exam rooms are thoroughly disinfected between patients.
Regarding Covid-19 testing:
Based on availability of testing supplies, we are able to send Covid-19 tests from our office. We have the ability to utilize a test which is sent to an outside lab with a 24-48 hour turn around. This is a very accurate test. It is considered out-of-network for insurance plans, therefore it is a self-pay test for $150, payable at the time of testing. If you wish to attempt to file with your insurance for at least partial reimbursement, we will provide you with the form. We do not file insurance for this test. We also can send Covid-19 tests to DLO labs, and bill to your insurance. There is a 4-8 day turn around for this test. You can discuss with your physician which is appropriate for your child.
Free testing is always available through the Health Department. You do not need a physician referral for this any longer. Just call 425-4489 to be given a testing location. Turn around time can be two weeks.
In patients without symptoms with a known exposure, we DO NOT recommend testing until at least 6-8 days after exposure. Testing prior to that will likely give a negative result and will need to be repeated at a later time.
If you are exposed and are not ill, we recommend that you self-quarantine for 14 days after the last day of exposure to the known positive individual.
If you are bringing your child to the office for testing, you will likely be asked to call the office when you arrive and wait in your car for further instructions in order to minimize potential contact with others in the office. (Bring snacks and games for the kiddos!)
Regarding flu season:
This will be a very important year to prevent the flu in as many patients as possible. PLEASE GET YOUR FLU SHOT!! You know we’ll all be wondering - is it the flu or is it Covid?
We will be making flu shots available to all patients who are in the office for well visits, or any other visit this fall.
We will be holding flu shot clinics, as we have previously done, with an attempt to schedule fewer patients at a time in order to provide appropriate “social distancing”.
We will be sending an email to our patients when flu shots are available and clinics are scheduled. It will also be posted on our Facebook page. Like and follow that now to stay up to date, and if you are not signed up to receive emails from TPG, call and request that now.
So, TPG friends, we’re doing our best to come to a “new normal” during “these trying times”. We’re in this together. Let’s work together to stay as safe and as healthy as possible. Stay tuned….