OFFICE VISIT PROCEDURES IN EFFECT

Nona Pediatric Center Families,

I am writing to inform you of some important changes occurring at Nona Pediatric Center  as a result of the continuing spread of COVID-19 throughout our country, including in surrounding communities. We are grateful that children, in general, seem to be the least affected age group when it comes to the severity of their illness.  They are, however, very capable of catching COVID-19 and although their symptoms are generally mild (and some may even have the virus without showing any signs of illness), children are often the ones most likely to spread the illness to others.

We know that many of the items listed below may cause potential inconveniences to your family.  While these are unfortunate and we very much wish we could avoid them, we feel that these changes are necessary to ensure the health and safety of our patients and our staff members.  Our major goals are to limit potential exposures to our patients and staff members and to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging social distancing.  In addition, we are trying very hard to ensure that you have access to our health care team when you need it. We have received a lot of positive feedback from our families who came in last week when theses changes were implemented.

Thus, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect both our staff and our patients, and do our part to decrease the burden on hospitals and  the following policies will be put in place effective timmediately.   These are temporary changes and we will return to normal office functioning as soon as possible. 

1.  WELL VISITS will be done in the morning only.  If you have a well visit scheduled in the afternoon or evening, our staff will contact you to reschedule to a morning appointment time. We encourage infants and toddlers who need vaccines (shots) to come to their well visits in order to stay up to date on vaccinations.  Parents of older children (preschool and up) may choose to reschedule their appointments for 1-2 months from now.  For the time being, we will continue to see all ages for well visits (if the parents want the visit done), but this policy may change in the future depending on the spread of illness in our community

2.SICK VISITS  that are in office will be done in the afternoons only. We have setup a tent and will conduct these visits ouside weather permitting.  

3. TELEMEDICINE: We will begin using an online, HIPAA compliant (meaning privacy protected) telemedicine platform.  Telemedicine means that your visit with Dr. Elfaki will occur over an internet-based video system with you at home talking to you and observing your child through the internet (using your phone or computer).  Our goal is to use this platform as often as possible to limit the number of sick patients coming to our office. To schedule a visit, contact our office and an appointment will be set, and you will be provided with a link and access code.

In some cases we may decide during a telemedicine visit  that we need to see your child in the office or do a “drive-up” visit where r. Elfaki  comes out to see your child in your car (for example, to check their ears).  We will share more information with you if this is needed for your child.

4. MENTAL HEALTH VISITS: All mental health visits (ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc.) will occur using video telemedicine with a few exceptions.  If you have one of these visits coming up, our staff will contact you with instructions. 

6.SCREENING: All patients/parents will be contacted the day before their appointment by our staff in order to ask questions related to potential symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19.  If there are potential exposures or symptoms, you will speak with our nursing staff to ensure an in-office visit is appropriate.  These same questions will be asked again on the day of the visit.

7. ONLY ONE ADULT PER CHILD: Patients should be brought to the office by 1 adult (parent or caregiver) only. Siblings or other children SHOULD NOT be brought to appointments.  We understand that this will pose an inconvenience to our families, but it is an important step to limit the spread of COVID-19. This applies to ALL visits.

8. UPON ARRIVAL: Patients will wait for all visits IN THEIR CAR.  When you arrive at Nona Pediatric Center, please call the office and tell us that you have arrived for your visit.  The receptionist staff will note your arrival, take any needed copays over the phone (or you may bring a check into the office when you come inside), and discuss any other information.  You will then wait in your car and we will call you when an exam room is available for your child.  When you come inside you will be greeted by one of the medical assistants and your child’s temperature will be taken.  You will then be taken straight to an exam room.

9. AFTER HOURS: Dr. Elfaki continues to be available for patient phone calls and questions during hours our office is closed. You will always speak with her, not an answering service. If the child is ill enough, a Telemedicine visit can then be arranged, where Dr. Elfaki can examine the child and asses whether it warrants a visit to the ER or can be treated at home and  a prescription can be called in

10.COVID TESTING: We are now able to test for COVID19, for patients who are at risk. Dr. Elfaki will determine on a case by case basis. We are not doing testing for everyone. There continues to be a limited supply of test kits.

In the days ahead we ask that you exercise patience and understanding as we adapt to this new model of care.  We encourage you all to do your part in social distancing by staying home as much as you can and by encouraging your friends and neighbors to do the same. Together as a community we can make a difference in the spread of this illness.

Thank you for allowing us to care for your children.  We are forever grateful for your trust and understanding during this difficult time.

What you need to know..

  • IN LIGHT OF THE CURRENT PANDEMIC HERE, ARE SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY OUR FAMILIES. AS ALWAYS PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL OR EMAIL US IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS
  • Are you guys testing our kids for COVID19/ Coronavirus ?

Yes we are. However we have limited number of tests and will only test patients who meet certain criteria.

  • Is insurance covering testing and treatment for COVID19/ coronavirus?

Yes all insurances are covering all COVID related tests and treatment. check with you insurance company to see if copays/ cop-insurance apply.

 What is the protocol if our child has cold or flu-like symptoms? Call your office right away? Only call if they have a fever?

Please call the office if your child has significant symptoms or if you are not sure. We can setup a Telemedicine visit, or arrange for our drive by/ outdoor clinic to be seen.

What is Telemedicine and how do I use it?

Telemedicine is a virtual visit you have with your doctor utilizing a secure Video and Audio platform. It is like using FaceTime or Skype to see your doctor. It is a great alternative to see patients remotely without leaving the comfort of your home. There are many things that can be treated this way, rashes, behavioral issues, minor respiratory problems, asthma amongst others. If Dr. Elfaki feels the need to see the patient in person, you will be provided instructions on what to do.

Is insurance covering telemedicine?

Yes, now all insurance plans are covering telemedicine. Normal copays/ co-insurnces may apply. Please check with your insurance plan.

My child is due for a Well visit, should I come in or wait until later?

If your child is under age 2 and is due for a well visit, they should be seen to make sure they don’t fall behind on their vaccines. This also applies to patients who are 4-5 years old and those entering middle-school and 16 year olds.

All other patients if they are up to date on their vaccines, can postpone their well visit until further notice.

 They said children cannot get Corona virus as much as adults. Is this true?

That is false. Coronavirus is highly contagious and spreads easily. Most children who get it have a mild illness or remain symptom free, few children including infants have required hospitalization recently. It is best to maintain good practice of social distancing and frequent hand washing, and avoiding crowds or close contact.

Hand soap does it really have to be antibacterial or any kind of soap?

No it doesn’t have to be antibacterial. Coronavirus is a virus and so the antibacterial component doesn’t affect it. Any soap can be used, remember to wash your hands with plenty of soap and for at least 20 seconds.