These are strange and uncertain times which unfortunately require that we take some additional safety measures that will not be temporary but ongoing at least for the next 6 months to a year. While it is true that the seven day moving average for hospitalizations is thankfully coming down, it is still high, and the percent of positive Covid-19 tests is over 10%, which is an uncomfortable number, and the Travis county death toll approaches 1,000.
We are a small office, and everyone who works at Central Family Practice is essential. As your health care providers we have been working hard over the last 20 months to pivot and change to meet this challenge head on. We are trying to do what we can to prevent coronavirus infections, and as flu and other winter diseases pick up, it becomes more difficult to protect ourselves both physically and emotionally.
As you read this please remember that for us, this has been 20 months of daily vigilance in our workplace, where we spend the majority of our time. The current system is not sustainable. We are frankly exhausted with the pivoting and the extra layer of stress that this has added. We want to continue to take care of you, and also ourselves. We are therefore instituting a policy of allowing only fully Covid-19 vaccinated people age 12 and above to be seen in the office for visits. Tele-medicine visits will still be available to everyone if appropriate for the problem.
This is how it will look:
- If you are not fully Covid-19 vaccinated, you can still make a video appointment. We can take care of a number of conditions via telemedicine. If your provider determines that you need to be seen after your telemedicine visit, we will have an office visit that will be directed at your problem and will be as short as possible since transmission obviously goes up by the length of exposure to corona virus. This in person visit will be charged in addition to the video visit. (This is to avoid charging everyone for the extra time if it is not needed). You will need to wear a KN 95 mask correctly, which we will provide if necessary.
- For children under 12, we will see up to two at a time for regular physical exams. However, the accompanying parent or caregiver must be fully Covid-19 vaccinated. If the child needs forms completed for school or sports, please have the forms with you and the parent portion of the form completed to minimize time in the office.
- All patients with respiratory symptoms will need to schedule a telemedicine visit first (no matter vaccine status) so we can determine the best way to evaluate you.
- Everyone who enters the office needs to be wearing a well fitting mask, fully covering your mouth and nose.
- We will continue to do labs in the office for non vaccinated and vaccinated people because they are brief and planned, but you will need to wear a KN 95 mask. Lab visits will continue to be scheduled.
- For now we will have the door locked again to help with controlling the flow.
- If you need supplements, please call ahead and let us know what you need and we will have them ready for you. You also can order them online or by phone and they will be sent out the day they are ordered.
- If you have an appointment for a visit or to do labs, pick up supplements, please call 512-371-9260 and we will expedite your entrance.
We feel that wearing masks, social distancing and vaccinations are the ways to mitigate this epidemic. We respect your right to do what you would like, but we also feel that we have a responsibility as members of this community to do what seems best for us all. We need to protect our vulnerable patients, our loyal employees and ourselves. To all of you: we honor you and care about you deeply. We look forward to taking continued care of you and your family during this time in a way that also honors and supports the health of our practice and community.
Elliot Trester MD, Theresa Pugh MD, Connie Ryan WHNP-C, Eva Montes PA-C, and all the staff at Central Family