Atlanta, GA – July 16, 2020 – During this difficult time of medical uncertainty and a growing COVID-19 pandemic, patients are becoming more reluctant to visit their doctor’s office to obtain health care because they are nervous about getting sick from the visit. They want to know their doctor and health care staff understand how to keep them safe and not get them sick[er] when they come for an in-office appointment. There are health care facilities that are recognizing this new trend and doing something about it.
Urban Family Practice Associates (UFPA) is one group of physicians that has implemented an overarching plan to more than just adhere to the CDC guidelines for clinics and office visits. They have set the bar even higher by creating the ultimate safe haven for their patients to receive health care.
When discussing patient care in this new era, Dr. Godfrey Mark of UFPA located in Marietta, GA affirms their mission, “Until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, our own actions are the best weapons we have to fight this extremely transmissible disease. At UFPA, we are committed to doing everything we can to create a safe environment for our patients.”
The group has taken a number of steps to ensure the office remains a safe place for patients to receive care. When it is time to visit the doctor, a patient’s individual circumstances will be evaluated by their provider to determine if they should be scheduled for in-office appointments or if their care needs could be handled through a Telemedicine Appointment.
A new visitor policy has been implemented that restricts visitors to reduce the number of people in the office and, therefore, the risk of exposure between patients, visitors, and staff. If a patient is scheduled for an in-office visit, they are asked not to bring anyone with them unless it is absolutely necessary. Of course, it is understood this can be difficult and if it is necessary to have someone with them during the office visit, their temperature will be taken before entering. To help adhere to this policy, UFPA requests at appointment confirmations to inform them if someone will be accompanying them to their office visit.
The new program starts before the appointment when a text or email is sent to the patient with the option to complete the check-in process remotely using their own device. However, all patients will be screened for possible COVID-19 exposure both when the appointment is scheduled (this is not an in-office screening) and when they check-in. When patients call to schedule their appointment, the staff will ask specific questions regarding exposure and symptoms. In addition, when they arrive for the appointment, they and anyone with them will also be asked about any cough, fever, and other symptoms of respiratory virus infection that they or others in their household may be experiencing. UFPA staff are also screened for COVID-19 symptoms each day – temperatures are checked and recorded.
Smiling eyes behind the masks greet patients as well as staff to ensure their safety and the safety of patients. All patients and anyone with them will be asked to wear a mask or cloth face covering while entering and in the office.
Patients are welcomed to a sanitized environment – common areas such as waiting rooms, check-in counters, and restrooms are cleaned often with special attention to frequently touched surfaces. The exam rooms are fully cleaned and disinfected between each patient. Hand sanitizer is made available at each check-in, check-out counter, and in each exam room. Each member of the health care staff sanitizes their hands before and after each patient encounter. Plus, they have made special arrangements to support social distancing. The furniture in waiting areas has been rearranged to create more space between patients. And as a gentle reminder, signs have also been placed on chairs, designating appropriate seating.
With these new policies in place, it is evident that Urban Family Practice’s mission is to provide the highest quality, comprehensive, patient-centered, continuity of care. Visit us at https://www.urbanfamilypractice.org/
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