Well, this is a first... on a lot of levels! This week's edition of Overheard In The Office is actually a preemptive topic! I am not a prophet, but I am pretty sure that over the next 30 days, I am going to hear the question:
Why Are You Wearing A Mask?
I hope this email finds you all doing well and making it through this turbulent time! Time is definitely something we all seem to have on our hands. Like I mentioned last week, we have been trying to make the most of our time by catching up on training and projects around the office to make your experience here even better when this all blows over (aren't we all ready for that?)!
One of my jobs as the HIPPA compliance officer is to monitor what our responsibilities as a healthcare facility are during such unprecedented times. Just like everything else in the news, it can change daily! The good news is all of the sanitation policies we have normally followed and the ones we have added have all been appropriate and kept our facility as safe and compliant as possible for the level of exposure we may have. I did spend several hours last week on a webinar detailing the latest measures by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) that we need to be implementing for the next 30 days. Let me tell you: that was NOT a riveting webinar! Here is what I found out and what we are doing about it:
- One of the reasons chiropractic is considered an essential industry is that we provide a service (relief from back and neck pain) that helps off load our medical counterparts, so they can focus on COVID-19 patients.
- Back and neck pain patients are less likely to encounter COVID-19 in our office versus the medical office, due to the fact that we are not a primary provider for infectious disease.
- The number one symptom of COVID-19 is a fever of over 100 degrees F.
- The main method of transmission of COVID-19 is thought to be secretions and excretions (cough and sneeze).
- Masks are effective primarily for not transmitting the virus to another person if you have it, and may protect you if you are in direct contact with someone who actively has COVID-19.
- One of the best ways to protect against the COVID-19 is to limit how it can enter the facility (more on this below).
- If someone comes in with a high fever, cough. and difficulty breathing. and/or has been exposed to COVID-19 and has not had contact with the Health Department, we are required by law to contact the Health Department.
- The CDC does not recommend testing, symptom monitoring. or special management for people exposed to asymptomatic people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
- At this point in time. it is prudent for a healthcare worker to wear a mask in order to avoid contact with COVID-19 or risk a patient getting exposure from an asymptomatic but infected healthcare worker.
Here is what is going to change for the next 30 Days (until May 1st, 2020 or until we get an update):
- We will continue to be open for our back and neck pain patients, but are asking those with high risks (over 70, diabetes, heart and lung conditions, etc.) to push out their appointments, if possible.
- We are monitoring our staff twice a day with respect to temperature, difficulty breathing/cough, and exposure to active COVID-19 cases. In addition, we will be taking your temperature (forehead) and asking you about cough/difficulty breathing and exposure to COVID-19 when you enter our facility.
- We ask that if you need to cough or sneeze (hey, its allergy season as well!), please use your elbow or a tissue to cough or sneeze into.
- We ask that, unless you need assistance, any family members or friends who are not being treated remain in the car.
- We will be wearing masks when you come in. Not because we have been diagnosed with COVID-19, but in order to limit the possibility of it spreading, since we encounter a higher than normal number of people in a day. I can't lie. This is one of the hardest emails I have had to write. Everything about chiropractic is life-affirming, natural, and meant to encourage your own physiology to heal and function! I am fine with proper sanitation procedures (we follow these routinely), I can even deal with taking temperatures and asking the same questions over and over. However, the mask just seems so ... sterile! I guess it is supposed to be.
Our final decision to wear masks came after a lot of thought and prayer, but, ultimately, we decided it wouldn't hurt anyone and, until things are figured out and determined, it would be in the best interest of our patients and staff to do so. We really do appreciate being able to serve all of you, even in these uncertain times. The times might be uncertain, but God is not!
Blessings to You and Your Family!
Care Chiropractic - Lafayette, Indiana