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COVID-19 Response (11/14/2020)

image of the coronavirus from the US Food and Drug Association

image source: US Food and Drug Association

As you know, the pandemic is ongoing. Spread in our community has dramatically increased in recent weeks.


Please, please, wear a mask in all public indoor settings, and outdoors when physical distancing is not feasible. Data is clear that this helps! Please get your flu vaccine, as this will reduce the risk of overwhelming our hospitals with flu and COVID at once. 


If you have an upcoming appointment, our staff will be calling you ahead of your visit, both to screen for infectious symptoms, and to offer the option of converting to a telehealth visit (established patients only).


Telehealth visits are widely covered by insurance, and especially if you are doing well, the safest option. Our staff will walk you through how to log onto our Healow platform. FaceTime is an option as backup for those who cannot access Healow. For those of you who have acute needs, who might need a joint injection or other intervention, or who simply prefer, we remain available as always, for in person visits.


Per state regulations, if we see you in person, the following restrictions apply:


-You must wear a mask. Cloth is fine. If you come in without a mask, we will not be able to see you. Due to limited supply, we may not be able to provide you with a mask.


-After check in, if our nurses are not immediately ready for you, you must wait in your car.
You will not be allowed to wait in the waiting room.


-No family members are allowed in the office with patients, unless the patient has special (mental or physical) needs. **Feel free to bring your family member into the visit via speakerphone, FaceTime, or other virtual platform!!!


-We will be checking temperatures and pre-screening for any infectious symptoms.
Please do not come in if you are sick.


-For those who need to be seen in person, be assured we will be doing our best to maintain distancing guidelines at all times and aggressively cleaning surfaces between patient visits. We also will be in masks and gloves.


-Please do not stop self-administered or infusible treatments for your rheumatic disease without contacting us first! There is increasing data from large patient registries supporting the safety of most rheumatic treatments in patients who contract COVID-19, and for most patients, disease flares off treatment increase risk more than effective treatment. 


-As we draw nearer to public distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage our patients to consider vaccination. We are following the data closely, and the several vaccines we anticipate approval for this winter will be inactivated, so will be fine for patients who are immune suppressed. We believe firmly that the risk of COVID-19 infection far outweighs risk of vaccination, and that vaccination is the only pathway out of the pandemic.


Thanks for your patience during this difficult time!  


Dr. Phillips, Jessica Frizzell PA-C, Valerie Smith APRN, and the Pad Rheum Staff

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