Many changes have been made at the office to ensure patient safety while visiting during the Covid-19 pandemic. My number one priority has always been patient health and safety. With these new challenges, come new policies and procedures at the office. The usual comforts of treatments including table warmers, blankets, and eye pillows have to be put away for now so that I can provide a clean, safe environment for everyone during their treatments.
Infection control has always been a priority to ensure the health and safety of my patients. Due to Covid-19, I must now implement additional infection control procedures to keep my patients and those I share the space with safe.
I will be following the infection control recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. These agencies have released new guidelines for health care providers in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and I will continue to stay abreast of any Covid-19 related updates they make.
Since I am in a shared space, the providers and staff had a safety meeting to go over the updated Infection Control Plan’s policies and procedures to ensure all of us are following the same guidelines for patient and staff safety.
I will be communicating with my patients via telephone/text/email before their scheduled appointment to ask some screening questions. It is mandatory that I speak with them 24 hours before their scheduled appointment to conduct this prescreening. Patients will be asked the same questions again when they are at the office and at every visit.
Many changes have been made at the office in order to protect patients, my colleagues, and myself. These new procedures are REQUIRED for anyone entering the office, and are as follows:
- All patients will enter the main entrance door, at Suite 119, and exit through the door marked “Exit” so that we maintain proper social distancing.
- Everyone who enters the office will use the hand sanitizer placed just inside the entrance, no exceptions. Hand sanitizer will also be available in the reception area and treatment rooms to use as needed.
- I will take every patient’s temperature when they arrive. If their temperature is above 100.4°F, they will be asked to leave and we will reschedule.
- I will waive all late cancellation fees for anyone who must reschedule because of their temperature or responses to the prescreening question.
- Patients must always wear a mask while in the office. I will always be wearing one too. Cloth masks will be sufficient as long as it covers the nose and mouth.
- In order to comply with distancing standards, we will no longer be using the waiting room. Only minors or those needing assistance will be allowed a visitor. That person must remain in the treatment room with the patient for the duration of the treatment.
- Appointments will be managed to allow for proper distancing between patients. Because of this, there may be fewer appointment options.
- Patients will be asked to arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment time and notify me of their arrival. I will once again ask them the prescreening questions and they will wait in their car until I have the room properly cleaned. Once the room is ready, I will text/call to let them know they can come into the office.
- Patients will be allowed to prepay a month’s worth of copayments to minimize the number of times they are in contact with the iPad
- I will clean and disinfect the credit card terminal and iPad after each use
- At each visit, patients will be asked to sign a special consent form acknowledging that they understand there is a certain risk involved in coming into a medical office. The form also includes the same screening questions asked over the phone/text/email prior to their visit.
- I will do my best to allow appropriate time between patients to reduce waiting times.
- I will be using paper coverings on the tables, paper drapes, and paper pillowcases. I will be wearing gloves during my interactions with patients in the treatment room.
I understand there are a lot of changes to get used to and I appreciate your patience as we work together in this new way. For those who are sensitive to chemical smells, I apologize in advance and welcome conversation of concerns you may have. While I look forward to welcoming all patients, if you are uncomfortable with the possibility of exposure to the cleaning products/smells and, of course, Covid-19, please know I understand and will welcome you back to the clinic when you are ready to continue working together.