Southwestern Medical Affiliates (SMA) is taking steps to safely resume in-person visits at our physician offices. Last month, out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with federal and state guidance, non-urgent outpatient visits were rescheduled, as clinically appropriate, to help minimize the spread of illness during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Today, current projections indicate a lower than expected volume of COVID-19 in the region, which means less strain on healthcare resources and the opportunity to safely resume in-person appointments. Our practices will initially focus on scheduling patients in the short-term who have time-sensitive needs or chronic health conditions.
We are committed to providing high quality care and protecting the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors as we begin scheduling appointments in our office once again. Our goal is to get back to providing the personalized care our patients expect in a way that continues to support our ongoing COVID-19 response and maintains a clean and safe environment for our team and those we serve.
Telehealth visits are still being offered as well, which give patients the opportunity to have a virtual visit with their provider. Patients can call the office and ask whether a televideo or telephonic appointment is appropriate for their needs.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been carefully following guidance from the [local/state health department] and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, we have continually monitored the prevalence of the virus in the community and taken all precautionary measures to conserve supplies and safeguard patients, providers and staff against the spread of COVID-19.
We will continue to screen everyone who enters our facilities and ask them to bring a cloth mask or bandana to wear during their visit. Visitors will be restricted to essential caregivers until further notice. Additionally, we have implemented new processes and procedures to further protect the health of patients, providers and employees. Some of these include:
- Pre-screening all patients for COVID-19 symptoms;
- Using block scheduling for sick and well patients;
- Minimizing patient overlap for appointments;
- Enabling patients to wait in their cars until their exam room is available, if medically appropriate;
- Removing all shared items from the waiting and exam areas, such as magazines, pens, education materials, etc.; and
- Promoting social distancing in our waiting areas.
For more information or to make an appointment, call one of our SMA physician offices.