To our First Coast Urogynecology patients,
As the situation surrounding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has developed we are trying to find ways to minimize risk of exposure for our patients, staff, and community as well as continue to serve our patient’s needs. It is a fluid situation and we will try to update you as information comes available or if changes are needed.
Effective as of 5/7/2020
Safe Office Visits at First Coast Urogynecology, LLC:
1) WE ARE ASKING ALL PATIENTS AND FAMILY/FRIENDS WHO COME WITH THEM TO WEAR A MASK OR FACE COVERING OF SOME TYPE TO COVER THEIR MOUTH AND NOSE WHEN THEY ARE IN OUR OFFICE (effective 5/11/20). This applies to all individuals who present to the office (all ages even if they feel ok). We have a significant number of advanced age patients and we all need to play our part to keep them safe as they are at elevated risk of complications if they become infected. I understand this may be inconvienient and we can offer patients tele-health visits if they are not comfortable with wearing a mask/face covering. We may ask you to reschedule your visit if you present to our office without a mask/face covering.
2) Please do not come to the office if you have a fever >100.4, cough, chills, fatigue, GI distress, or other signs of upper respiratory illness/Flu or have known exposure to someone with COVID-19.
3) We ask that patients come alone or with a maximum of 1 additional person. We will not be allowing more than one person other than the patient to come into the office.
4) After you check into the office, you can chose to wait in our waiting area or wait in your car/ outside. We have limited and spaced out our waiting area seating to follow recommended distancing protocols. We can reach you via your provided cellular phone number or can give you a clean temporary pager (like a restaurant pager) so that we can notify you when we are ready to see you if you chose to wait in your car or outside. We are trying to minimize patient risk/exposure in our waiting area.
Office Scheduling Changes at First Coast Urogynecology, LLC:
1) Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, we have been adapting our schedule and have limited hours for in office appointments. We are conducting online tele-health visits (through your phone or computer) for your convenience as well. We encourage tele-health visits for anyone who does not require an in-office examination to be cared for, especially individuals >65 years old . Our office staff will be reaching out to patients if their currently scheduled appointment will be affected by these changes.
2) Although the Florida Stay-At-Home Order from Gov. DeSantis has expired we still must remain vigilant with social distancing to keep coronavirus (COVID-19) out of our community.
3) We will be reaching out to some of our patient’s and may be asking them to convert their in-office visit to a tele-health visit. We can do this for routine follow up visits, semi-annual or annual visits, post-op well visits, or urinary tract infection symptoms (during this atypical time we will accommodate this). If you have a question please call the office and we will let you know if we can convert your visit to tele-health. Please do not avoid care for your pelvic health needs, we are here for you and will find a way to make sure you are healthy and taken care of safely. We believe that tele-health services will help us to do this. This service is now covered by most insurers (including medicare) and we can arrange for a reasonable fee schedule if your insurer does not cover this service.
Surgical Scheduling for our First Coast Urogynecology, LLC patients:
1) Gov. DeSantis lifted the statewide restriction on elective surgical procedures on May 4th.
2) We have used the recommendations of local hospitals, as well as regional and national specialty societies, to create a tiered surgical scheduling plan. This surgical scheduling plan will allow some (but not all) surgical candidates to be scheduled/rescheduled for elective pelvic floor surgery. If you are a candidate for elective surgery based on this tiered surgical scheduling plan our office will reach out to you to schedule your procedure. Otherwise, we will work with you to re-evaluate the risk of the procedure, local viral load, and your medical conditions/age over the upcoming months to find the safest timeframe for your elective procedure.
3) Each surgical center/hospital, even within the same hospital system, has different criteria and requirements for elective surgery. Please be patient with us as we help you navigate these new requirements. All patients scheduled for elective surgery in the Baptist Hospital System will require testing for coronavirus approximately 4 days prior to surgery. Please try to follow instructions from our surgical scheduler carefully in order to have a safe and smooth surgical experience during these challenging times.
We understand that this may be inconvenient, but we appreciate your cooperation as we take steps to ensure the safety and well- being of our patients, staff, and community. We will do everything in our power to continue to serve the urogynecologic and pelvic floor needs of our community no mater the situation.
Lee B. Epstein, MD MSc FACOG
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