I wanted to reach out to assure you that the well being of our patients and staff is our top priority as the situation regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve. Our passion to provide safe and outstanding plastic surgery also remains strong. We will continue to follow all guidelines and hopefully mitigate fear so that we can all work though these challenging times.
At the beginning of March, we began implementing viral screening as part of our daily protocol to further enhance the safety of our practice and ambulatory surgery center.
We will continue to follow CDC recommendations and government mandates as they are rolled out. This seems to be an extremely fluid situation, so we will keep you updated on any changes as soon as we find out.
At a single specialty ambulatory surgery center (ASC) such as ours, surgical patients interact with very few staff, and family are often in the surgical waiting room alone or with only a few others. Compared to surgery in a hospital this is a significant benefit. Even so, we plan to make further changes to isolate patients and family even more.
We also anticipate that very soon, more schools and daycares may close putting strain on patients who were planning to come in for consults, follow-ups or surgery. To stay ahead of the curve and to continue to provide the best service for our patients, we will begin implementing the following policies. These may be adjusted daily depending on any new CDC recommendations or government mandates.
1. Patients who are over 6 weeks from surgery and doing well can reschedule their followup visits for the late spring and also request a follow up call from one of our nurses to make sure all questions are answered.
2. Any new patients who wish to reschedule their consult can do so without loss of their deposit or schedule a virtual consult by video which we will begin rolling out this week. Pease see Video Consult section below for details.
3. We would like to continue to see all recent postoperative patients in our office at their scheduled times; however, we can perform video consults on an as needed basis.
4. General safety recommendations: If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath and have travelled internationally in last 14 days, or exposed to someone with COVID-19 then please call us to discuss.
5. We request that you do not bring additional friends or family to any of your visits unless needed for assistance such as recent postoperative patents. If you want family or friends there as an additional ear or to ask questions, then we can put them on speakerphone during the visit if you wish. For those with young children, do your best to find childcare for your visit.
1. For those patients already scheduled, we plan to proceed as scheduled without postponement. After conferring with all CDC recommendations and the AAAASF who oversees our surgery center, we are clear to proceed without limitations or increased risks.
2. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact one of our schedulers Haley or Tammy to discuss further. We understand the need to be flexible during times like these.
3. For family that is waiting for you during surgery, we are requesting that one one family member be with you. They have the option of staying in the waiting area or being in close contact by cell phone. We are a small surgery center and typically there are very few family in the waiting area; however, we plan to stagger procedures as much as possible to minimize this even further.
4. For those contemplating surgery, perhaps now might be the best time to have surgery and recover.
Virtual Consults (Using your phone or desktop):
1. We are going to implement video consults and followup visits beginning later this week using the HIPPA compliant platform doxy.me
2. Ideally most visits should be in person, however for those who are either not feeling well, or caring for kids at home, or for whatever other reason, please let us know and we will send you information on how to connect online at your designated time. Simple to use.
As always, the safety and care of our patients and APS family is our #1 priority and we are here for you with open doors and open hearts.
Christopher Ewart, MD
Augusta Plastic Surgery
March 15th, 2020