St. Francis-Emory Healthcare Physician Practices Resumes In-Person Appointments

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

St. Francis-Emory Healthcare Physician Practices announced that it is taking steps to safely resume in-person visits in all offices. Last month, out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with federal and state guidance, non-urgent outpatient visits were rescheduled, as clinically appropriate, to help minimize the spread of illness during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Today, current projections indicate a lower than expected volume of COVID-19 in the region, which means less strain on healthcare resources and the opportunity to safely resume in-person appointments. The practice will initially focus on scheduling patients in the short-term who have time-sensitive needs or chronic health conditions. While the offices are open, each practice will execute a process to ensure patient and staff safety are always the main priority.

“We are committed to providing high quality care and protecting the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors as we begin scheduling appointments in our office once again,” said Melody Trimble, St. Francis-Emory Healthcare chief executive officer. “Our goal is to get back to providing the personalized care our patients expect in a way that continues to support our ongoing COVID-19 response and maintains a clean and safe environment for our team and those we serve.”

Telehealth visits are still being offered as well, which give patients the opportunity to have a virtual visit with their provider. Patients can call the office and ask whether a televideo or telephonic appointment is appropriate for their needs.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, physician practices have been carefully following guidance from the Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, it has continually monitored the prevalence of the virus in the community and taken all precautionary measures to conserve supplies and safeguard patients, providers and staff against the spread of COVID-19.

All physician practices will continue to screen everyone who enters the facility and ask them to bring a cloth mask or face covering to wear during their visit. Visitors will be restricted to essential caregivers until further notice. Additionally, the facility has implemented new processes and procedures to further protect the health of patients, providers and employees. These include:

No visitors

Pre-screening all patients for COVID-19 symptoms

Using block scheduling for sick and well patients

Minimizing patient overlap for appointments

Enabling patients to wait in their cars until their exam room is available, if medically appropriate

Removing all shared items from the waiting and exam areas, such as magazines, pens, education materials, etc.

Promoting social distancing in our waiting areas