Are there specific guidelines I should put in place for patient visits, re Covid?
Provided by: Michael Foster, Esq.
Always good for a refresher! Each state (NY included - https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/information-healthcare-providers) and the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/preparedness-resources.html) have promulgated "best practices", as well as most specialty societies. When reviewing, you will find common themes for different stages of the patient visit, prior to arrival, on arrival and on dismissal. Here are some of the more common recommendations -
- Before Patients Arrive
- Know which of your patients are at higher risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19.
- Consider telemedicine appointments.
- Stay connected with your health department to know about COVID-19 in your community. Step up precautions when the virus is spreading in your community.
- Assess and restock supplies now and on a regular schedule.
- Communicate with patients and ask patients about symptoms during reminder calls.
- Post signs at entrances and in waiting areas about prevention actions.
- Prepare and clean the waiting area and patient rooms.
- Provide supplies—tissues, alcohol-based hand rub, soap at sinks, and trash cans.
- Place chairs 6 feet apart, when possible. Use barriers (like screens), if possible.
- If your office has toys, reading materials, or other communal objects, remove them or clean them regularly.
- When Patients Arrive
- Place staff at the entrance to ask patients about their symptoms.
- Facemasks should be worn at all times.
- Limit non-patient visitors.
- Separate sick patients with symptoms including creating separate spaces for sick and well patients, if feasible.
- Allow patients to wait outside or in the car if they are medically able.
- After Patient is Assessed
- Provide at-home care instructions to patients with respiratory or other symptoms. Consider telehealth options for follow up.
- Notify your health department of patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
- After patients leave, clean frequently touched surfaces using EPA-registered disinfectants—counters, beds, seating.
For those of you who have adopted our safety forms, you will see they mirror your specialty society and the CDC - which is recommended best practice. As we round another stage of the pandemic, it will be interesting to see whether contract tracing will prove effective and source identifying. For assistance with written forms, you can always contact me (Jennifer) or Michael Foster at MFoster@kirschenbaumesq.com. You can also visit our website at https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/page/coronavirus for more information.