COVID – 19 / Corona Virus Information
Dear Patients –
These are unprecedented times, and we here at Raleigh Family Practice (RFP) wanted to update you on RFP’s response to covid19 / coronavirus.
First we want to assure you that we are here for you, ready and willing to serve you with any primary care health needs you have, whether related to covid19 or not. In the coming days you will receive an email from us that provides more detail about the steps we are taking to keep you and our staff safe. as well as helpful information about testing, symptom management, and precautions.
One important challenge to us is providing the safest possible way to serve our patients who have not been exposed to covid19. We understand that other health concerns will arise and we want to offer safe ways to get the same great care you’ve come to expect from us. As such we are pleased to announce the immediate launch of two new services at RFP: virtual office visits (VOV’s) and special Saturday clinics designated exclusively for well visits. Please reach out to us if you’d like to schedule either, our staff is happy to help you through the process.
We appreciate your trust in us and we are committed to continuing to take great care of you during this time.
The Providers and Staff of Raleigh Family Practice
To that end we have put several steps in place so that we can continue to offer care to all who need it by keeping you and our staff healthy. Even in the face of a once in a century pandemic, we at RFP believe it’s still important for you to take comprehensive care of your health. Thank you as always for letting us serve as your primary care team, and please do not hesitate to let us know how we can help you.
Below please find helpful information about the new services we are offering and the steps that we are taking to protect your health and our staff.
- We are offering Telehealth visit for patients who prefer that as opposed to an in person visit. (See information below regarding telehealth visits)
- We are offering Saturday appointments for well patients only.
(See Information below regarding Saturday appointments)
- We are splitting our days into well and sick hours. We will see well patients from 7-11:45 and sick patients from 1:30-4.
- We ask that you call our office if you have any respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) or fever. Please do not walk into our clinic without speaking to a member of our staff.
- We have staff dedicated to communicating with patients who have concerns, questions, or symptoms. When you call our office with symptoms you will be screened over the phone, and we will do our best to direct you to the best place to care for you.
- The Health department and UNC Healthcare are working hard to offer community resources which we will refer to whenever possible. One of the best ways to stop the spread is to limit exposure. With that in mind (and because of a shortage of supplies needed to collect specimens for testing), we will refer our patients who meet screening requirements to one of UNC’s Respiratory Diagnostic Centers where they are dedicated to caring for potential COVID – 19 Corona patients.
- We ask that all patients use care when entering or leaving our building and suite. Use hand sanitizer before coming in and touching elevator buttons and door handles. Use an elbow, tissue or wipe to press buttons on elevators. Use hand sanitizer upon leaving the building. Cover your coughs / sneezes.
- We have hand sanitizer at our front door and at the entrance to the building for your use.
- If you are having respiratory symptoms we ask that you wear a mask into our suite. (Masks are provided at our entrance, but if you have your own, please bring it with you. There is a shortage of supplies nationwide)
- Our staff is wearing protection (PPE) per the CDC as warranted for individual cases and exercising appropriate hand washing and disinfecting procedures.
- Our building maintenance is taking care to disinfect elevators, bathrooms, stairwells frequently.
- We are communicating with our CDC Liaison and Health Department as necessary for guidance.
Unfortunately due to the high demand of testing our supply of testing supplies is limited and dependent on availability from LabCorp. We are following the CDC guidelines along with clinical evaluation to determine the need for testing.
Current recommendations for those that should be tested:
Patients who have fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) AND Any person, including healthcare personnel, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients within 14 days of symptom onset
Patients with fever and signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) AND Negative influenza test (rapid or PCR) AND No other more likely diagnosis
Several organizations within Wake County are implementing drive through testing for patients with less risk/fewer symptoms. When we receive more information about these sites, we will certainly let you know.
TIPS TO REDUCE SPREAD AND EXPOSURE
Social Distancing –
- Take care to avoid crowded areas (movie theaters, restaurants, concerts, conferences, shopping areas, etc.
- Stay 6ft away from others as possible.
- Do not shake hands /hug/ high five
Respiratory Etiquette –
- Cough into the fold of your arm/cover your cough with a tissue.
- Sneeze into a tissue
Hand Washing –
Good times to wash your hands – before eating, before and after using the restroom, after touching common surfaces (door handles / grocery carts / sink knobs / elevator buttons / ATM / Gas Pumps / Pay terminals), after you cough/sneeze and cover with hand or after using tissues.
Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Alcohol based hand sanitizers are a good alternative when you are unable to wash. Choose one that is at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes) / Biting fingernails
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE SYMPTOMS
Cough – OTC Cough Syrup
Fever – Tylenol or Ibuprofen can be used to manage fever
Hydrate – Drink plenty of fluids, soups, jello, ice-cream, etc to keep yourself hydrated
If you begin to have difficulty breathing or are concerned that your symptoms are worsening please call our office or after hours call (919)875-6941. If you feel it is life threatening or emergent call 911 and please let them know of any exposure or positive covid test you have had.
Current NC DHHS guidance for isolation
At least 7 days since symptom onset and ≥72 hours after symptom resolution (absence of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and improvement in respiratory symptoms), whichever is longer.
Absence of fever (without use of fever-reducing medication), improvement in respiratory symptoms, and 2 negative test results conducted on specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.
TeleHealth Visits / Virtual Office Visits
Effective March 16th we are offering Virtual Office Visits. These are a convenient, safe and affordable way to accommodate patients who are high risk or concerned about exposure to illness. Our practice is offering telehealth visits using doxy.me. (A HIPAA, PIPEDA, and GDPR data privacy compliant service)
If you have a health concern you’d like addressed in a VOV please contact our office so we can first ensure that a VOV is the best next step for you.
We can conduct certain types of appointments via virtual office visit, including acute allergy symptoms, medication follow up, a wide variety of mental health concerns, and many others. Unfortunately, not all conditions can be treated this way. Please let our office staff know if you are interested in scheduling this type of visit and they will advise regarding availability.
Most insurances are covering telehealth visits now. (Medicare, Medicaid, BCBS, Cigna, and Aetna are all covering these visits. To our knowledge United Healthcare is not covering and there will be a flat fee of $50 for those whose insurance doesn’t cover or for uninsured patients.
Saturday WELL Visits
Our special Saturday clinics will launch on March 21st. We’re doing this because we know that not all health concerns can be addressed virtually. Oftentimes physical examination and / or labs are indispensable to fully addressing your health concern
On Saturdays there is only one other office in our building open, a pediatric office on the bottom floor. Those patients will not be accessing the elevator. There will be fewer patients in our building and fewer staff. All of these reduce chance for exposure to illness during your visit.
The purpose of these appointments is to serve our elderly and immunocompromised patients, as well as patients who would like to come in for regular wellness exams and rechecks of chronic conditions in a safer environment that poses less risk. We will actively prescreen all potential patients to and we WILL NOT schedule any sick visits during these times and ask that any patient scheduled during this time please reschedule if you have any symptoms of cold, cough, flu, fever, or respiratory illness.
We will be reaching out to our highest risk patients first to offer these appointments and then offer any remaining appointments to those patients who would prefer this option.