Many aspects of life have changed since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but putting off seeing your doctor when it comes to your health or finding a new physician should not change.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, patients and providers should ultimately come together to make the right decision for each patient when addressing their healthcare needs.
They also recommend several key points to guide patients as they consider seeking non-emergency treatment such as the following:
• Do not postpone necessary care
• Is it safe to go to your doctor or hospital? Healthcare facilities should have established special procedures for cleaning and disinfecting and updated waiting room guidance and created special places for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care within their facilities
• Consider telehealth or virtual visits
• Discuss with your provider if you should be tested for COVID-19 before going in for care
While some normal policies and procedures at doctor’s offices may have changed, the changes are in place to keep individuals and health care professionals safe.
“Some things during your visit might take a little bit longer,” said Dr. Kelly Flynn, a family medicine physician with McLaren Northern Michigan. “The check-in and checkout processes are taking a few more minutes, as we are cleaning each room thoroughly between patients and paying extra attention to frequently touched areas.”
Flynn said there are simple steps one can take to help keep everyone stay safe during a visit.
When heading in for a visit, Flynn said to follow the same social distancing and hand-hygiene guidelines already in practice, including washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer, keeping six feet away from others and wearing a mask or face covering.
“We know wearing a simple cotton face covering can decrease transmission of the virus,” Flynn said. “By wearing a face covering, you are protecting others around you, but it’s only effective when it covers both your nose and mouth.”
Flynn said McLaren Northern Michigan Family Medicine is going above and beyond to protect patients and caregivers, including changing waiting rooms to allow for simpler social distancing and following updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“We are all here to help keep you safe and healthy,” Flynn said. “Please use us as a resource in your health care journey.”
Dr. Joseph Santangelo, vice president of medical affairs with Munson Healthcare, said during the pandemic there are many steps Munson hospitals have taken to protect patient safety and health care providers.
“It’s completely understandable that people are nervous because, for the past several months, all we have heard about is COVID-19 and specific things we need to be doing to keep ourselves safe,” Santangelo said. “The good news is we’ve gotten really good at doing those things here at the hospital.
“Every day, every employee is screened to be…