In the process of managing the COVID-19 crisis, our COVID Response Team has identified the following 4 goals:
1) To provide for the health and well-being of out patient community
2) To provide for the safety and well-being of our staff family
3) To aggressively pursue Telehealth and alternate modes of patient care, thus enabling the continuity of the practice
4) To remain a steadying voice for the community during this time of anxiety and uncertainty
In an effort to achieve the above goals, we will be implementing the following plan starting on Monday, March 23rd. We believe that this plan, in addition to a hopefully robust Telehealth practice, will best enable us to maintain open offices and patient care.
In Office Changes
1) Change In Office Staffing: we will be staffing each office with only 1 or 2 providers at a time (and a similar reduction of in office nursing/front desk staff). Each provider will remain in ONE OFFICE to minimize exposures and to prevent “cross contamination” across multiple locations. Providers who are not in the office, will be scheduled for Telehealth (video or telephone) Visits (see below for more details). Only essential staff will be in the office at any given time.
2) Change In Schedule Template: at this point, we are still seeing healthy children for Well Child Visits (routine check ups). Starting on Monday, we will only be booking these Well Child Visits before 2pm. All sick visits will be scheduled from 2:30pm on. All sick visits will still be asked to wait in their cars until the office is ready for them to be seen (ie: no sick patients will be in the waiting rooms) – this is a continuation of our current protocol.
3) Only One Caregiver Allowed With Patient: to minimize unnecessary exposures for our staff, we ask that you limit yourselves to only one caregiver at all patient visits. Lastly, we ask that all siblings remain home!
Telehealth Visits Are Critical!
While obviously our first an foremost goal (see above) is to maintain the health and well-being of our patients, we (like many) are weathering the financial fallout from this pandemic. In order to keep providing care, we are working hard to schedule as many Telehealth visits as possible. While we recognize that there is no perfect replacement for the face-to-face in person visit, IT IS THROUGH THESE VIDEO VISITS THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO REMAIN OPEN AND TO CONTINUE PROVIDING CARE FOR YOU AND OUR COMMUNITY! VIDEO VISITS MAY BE THE ONLY THING THAT HELPS US STAY OPEN DURING THIS CRISIS – PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM!!!!!
Given the magnitude of the crisis for families and health care practices, Blue Cross and Tufts have waived all co-pays for all Telehealth Visits and we anticipate other insurers following.
The Governor’s mandate has also required insurance companies to pay for health care delivered over the phone – while our providers are out of the office, they may be handling phone calls – any phone call handled by one of our providers may be billed to your insurance.
1) Telehealth Check-Ups: Yesterday, we were given approval to begin offering all patients with upcoming routine check-ups to convert these to Video Visits. Please consider switching your check up to a Video Visit as this will help you (and our staff) minimize unnecessary potential exposures. If you have an upcoming check up scheduled, we will call you to discuss converting it to a video visit – PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE OFFICE TO RE-SCHEDULE – WE WILL BE IN TOUCH!
2) Telehealth SIck Visits: We have started using Telehealth for many sick visits for mildly and moderately ill children. Coughs, ear pain, abdominal pain, rashes and other issues are being managed remotely. A Telehealth sick visit may be helpful to prevent an in office or Urgent Care visit and exposure to multiple sick people.
3) Other Telehealth Visits: Telehealth is also utilized for behavioral health med checks (ADHD, anxiety, depression), asthma re-checks, and consults (for issues like school underachievement, parenting challenges, behavioral health concerns, toilet training, sibling rivalry, chronic headaches, chronic abdominal pain and more). If you are overdue for a med check or if there is an issue that you have been meaning to talk to us about but have not had the time (and now find yourself with too much time), then a Telehealth visit would be ideal.
4) Telehealth Visits with our Behavioral Health Therapists: We are finding that this social isolation and disruption in routine life is taking a toll on our adolescents (and younger children). If your child is already seen by our behavioral health team (Patrick, Annie or Alyssa) and you would like to schedule a follow-up visit, or if your child has not seen our therapists but you think they might benefit, please reach out.
5) Telehealth for Parental Support: If you are struggling with your own anxiety right now, you may schedule a Telehealth visit with one of our behavioral health providers for support.
Together we are evolving to help manage this threat as best we can!
All of us at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates
PS: Please please please remember to sign up for MyChart! This is necessary for all Video Visits. Please see our website for MyChart and Telehealth Instructions