I want to thank all of you for all that you do for your patients, your community, your staff and most importantly our wonderful profession of optometry.
I realize that everybody is going through a very difficult and scary time right now. I have been working with a team of people including the executive board, and Bryan Markowitz to monitor the situation at hand. My personal goal is for the GOA to be able to provide you with information and act as a resource as things continue to evolve by the minute. Please be in contact with your GOA board trustee for information if needed.
We have sent out a lot of information already in the COVID-19 updates and plan to continue to send more. I'm sure you all know that as of now the CDC and AOA have recommended that all routine eye care visits be postponed. However, this does not mean that there is an order to close practices at this time. There is "No statutory mandate to close" at this time, only a recommendation. There will NOT be a fine for having your practice open. The recommendation is that you see urgent/emergent cases.
As per my last email to you, there are several best practices that I have gathered that you may want to implement. Some are listed here;
Here are some recommendations to consider for your practice:
- Screen patients for exposure to COVID-19 based on contact.
- Screen patients for acute respiratory illness (shortness of breath, fever and cough).
- Make non-contact temperature readings part of the evaluation before patient screening.
- Pre-screen patients as they call for an appointment/ confirmation of appointment
- Separate the waiting room patients from those entering the office in case anyone comes with a cough and possible fever.
- Change patient flow or how your patient schedule is comprised.
- Limit the number of patients back to the screening, examination, and contact lens area.
- Designate a staffer to dispense in the optical at the entrance rather than have patients come into the office.
- Mail materials to patients.
- Limit the patient interaction for employees at higher risk for the coronavirus.
- Stagger work schedules and offer paid time off to care for children whose schools have closed.
- Communicate with your patients via email or your social media channels if your practice will be closed for an extended period of time.
Also, I would encourage you to please email me personally with any questions or comments or suggestions you may have as we continue to embrace what is hopefully a temporary new reality.