Coronavirus Updates

UPDATE:

Updated 3/24/20

Tonight, the City of Austin will roll out the most restrictive measures yet to slow the spread of the COVID19 infection.  Healthcare is an essential service, and we are OPEN to care for you and your family.  What is also essential is that you continue to practice good hand hygiene and social distancing to reduce you and your children’s risk of coming into contact with the virus.  Here are some additional measures our office is taking to keep you safe when you need care:

  1. All am visits are for exclusively well children.  They are screened the night prior to the appointment and if they experience symptoms of illness, even if mild, the well child care is changed to sick care later the same day.   The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages us to keep well child care and vaccines current during this pandemic.
  2. Staff are wearing masks and gloves for any patient contact, even with well children.  Our staff is screened for illness every morning.
  3. Hand hygiene is maximized, as is cleaning exam rooms.  No toys/books, sad but necessarily.
  4. Telemedicine is working extremely well for the vast majority of visits, and if a child needs to be seen, we have in-person visits with our sick “team” of the day.  Parents and kids are loving video chatting with their doctors from their play rooms, back yards, or dining room tables.
  5. On-line scheduling for telemedicine visits will be rolled out asap so you can request a telemed visit quickly & easily.
  6. Thank you so much for your donations of masks, even the hand-made ones!  Adorable.  Keep ’em coming if you can.  Your donations have made it possible for our staff to stay on the job until manufacturing catches up.

Finally, a personal note from your doctors.  The COVID19 pandemic is an unprecedented, global event, at least in our lifetime.  It has served as a disruptor in so many ways, and has stirred up a great deal of fear.  It has also shown us, again and again, why we chose Pediatrics.  It is a real privilege to care for kids when they are hurt, uncomfortable, scared, or simply driving their loving parents insane.  We have been touched by many well wishes, social media mask requests on our behalf, and the genuine affection and worry for our welfare you have poured out.  We are doing everything we can to care for your families while keeping you, our staff and providers safe … so we can continue to care for your families.  Thank you so much, SPA families!

Updated 3/21/20

Key updates:

  1. Keep your well child exam.  Prevention and health care maintenance are critical during this time.  We are scheduling ONLY well children in the mornings, Monday-Friday.
  2. Telemedicine is working GREAT for acute concerns.  We will screen children via telemedicine first.  If it can be handled over the telemed, it’s a done deal.  If we need to bring your child into the clinic, we’ll make arrangements to do so.  We will roll out online scheduling for telemedicine ASAP, but in the meantime, call our office and we’ll set up a telemedicine visit.  No online scheduling for in-person visits and no walk-in visits so we can keep our patients and staff as safe as possible.
  3. We care about you guys.  Please know we are HERE FOR YOU as we all figure this thing out.  Together, we’ll find creative solutions and care for you when you feel most vulnerable.
  4. Thank you to all who have donated masks, have sent us well wishes, and those who have offered prayers for all medical professionals during this time.  If you do have masks that you do not need, please consider donating them – supplies are critically low.
  5. COVID19 has turned our protocols upside down.  It is critical that we keep the latest, and in fact ever changing, information in mind when we give you medical advice.  What used to be standard advice for a simple cold takes on a whole new perspective now, doesn’t it! Because we want our advice to be accurate, the medical providers will be talking to you directly about your concerns much more often.  We may schedule you a telemedicine visit or we may have one of our doctors or our nurse practitioner call you to discuss in more detail. Portal messages are another way to communicate with your provider more directly. Because we are not able to delegate these tasks to our employees, they will take more physician time and thus be subject to the appropriate fee schedule.  These fees will be billed to your insurance plan as we always do. Quick refills and simple questions will always remain “free.” We hope you understand this rationale if you have any questions, please feel free to let us know.

Updated: March 18, 2020

Online scheduling for Extended Hours will be temporarily suspended.  We understand that this is an inconvenience to our families, but we need to avoid potential exposure risks.  Providers will assess patients throughout the day and if an in-person visit is required, we will schedule at that time.

Updated: March 16, 2020

We want to reassure our families that we are monitoring the rapidly changing Coronavirus situation and are following the recommendations from CDC and Austin public health officials. We would like to inform everyone of measures SW Pediatrics will be taking to protect our staff and families.

Beginning Monday, March 16th, we will be adjusting our schedules to minimize potential exposure risk for all of our patients. Morning appointments will be reserved for well child checks only. Our staff will begin calling on Monday to facilitate these necessary schedule changes.

To further protect our families, our office will now offer Telemedicine Services for sick visits. These appointments will be available in the afternoons only. Please call our office to schedule a telemedicine appointment. Once scheduled the staff will email you a link to access our telemedicine platform. We suggest joining the visit 3-5 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment time. You will then be waiting in a virtual waiting room until your doctor is ready to talk to you. It is important to have a good cellular connection or access to WIFI. If at the televisit your doctor thinks it is necessary for your child to come in for a real visit, we will arrange for it.

Patients using online scheduling for our Extended Hours and Saturday clinics will receive a call from a staff member to assess potential exposure risks. If a patient is identified as a potential exposure risk, you will be asked to stay home and a provider will reach out to further assess treatment options.

Updated: March 15, 2020