March 25, 2020:
Transparency and communication regarding the surgical process has always been a core tenet of our business practices. This memorandum is to inform and educate our currently scheduled surgery patients regarding our response to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic and the 21-day home stay order in Mecklenburg County, NC which begins today. As medical professionals we are exempt from the stay at home order; and have always considered the services we provide to be essential. However, we take the safety of our staff and patients very seriously and continue to assess our response to this crisis on a daily basis. We truly appreciate your continued trust in our professionalism and will do everything within our power to serve you safely and effectively. Please take time to familiarize yourself with our current policies as outlined here:
- Following the measures which have been successfully implemented globally, we take the temperature of every person entering the office, including staff, every day. Individuals with an elevated temperature will not be allowed to enter. While we recognize that there is a brief asymptomatic lag time; this has been proven to be very effective in preventing case growth.
- Office Precautions have been implemented to minimize exposure and to meet the recommendations against gatherings of 10 or more people in any area. These include the following:
- Only our surgical patients (average two per day) and one-week post-operative patients (maximum two per day) with a maximum of one caregiver will be seen in office.
- All consultations will be done over the phone and long-term follow ups will be done via phone or e-mail. We will be utilizing our usual phone protocols for sending photos and any needed medical documentation.
- Our sterile disposable medical supplies are ordered months in advance in customized “packs” unique to our surgeries and our equipment. This is important for three reasons:
- We had an ample supply of our surgical packs prior to the COVID restrictions and were able to pause production and delivery of these supplies, further limiting office exposure.
- We are not using medical supplies which could be used by our local intensive care or emergency services.
- We will not be affected by potential medical supply backlogs in the near future.
- We are following the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation’s guidelines on anesthesia machine use, protection, and decontamination during the COVID-19 pandemic which includes fitting our machines with high level anti-viral filters which protect the machine from contamination and our anesthesia staff from the very rare risk of exposure from the gas analyzer (getting nerdy here; but trust us on this).
- Finally, we continue our usual high standards of cleaning and decontamination of all surfaces as well as multiple small adjustments to make our facility even safer which are, frankly, too numerous to list here. This includes considerations such as removal of magazines from our waiting room and asking patients to stand six feet from the reception desk on check in.
Thank you again for your support and know that we will continue to provide the highest level of care for you and your loved ones unless we are no longer able or allowed to do so. We will also keep the lines of communication open as the local and global situation evolves.