Category: News

July 15th COVID-19 Update

As the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia continues to decline, and the city moves into the Yellow phase of reopening, our office will begin to invite more patients to the office for their appointments. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will work with you to decide whether an appointment in the office is recommended as part of your ongoing medical care. We are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff. Please call the office if you have questions about your care after reading the following information.

Is it better for me to schedule a telemedicine visit or an in-person visit?

Virtual/Telemedicine Visits allow you to use a phone or desktop device to speak with your physician. Examples of when telemedicine may be appropriate include:

  • Minor illnesses, like a cold or sinus infection
  • Minor injuries, like small cuts or sprains
  • Non-severe symptoms from a chronic condition
  • General health concerns or questions
  • Annual wellness visits
  • Anyone with respiratory symptoms, or other symptoms concerning for a COVID-19 infection, MUST speak with a provider by phone or video before coming in to the office.

In-Person Visit

There are times where it will be best to see your doctor in person for more complex and personalized care. For example:

  • Cancer screenings and treatments
  • Complex chronic disease care
  • Vaccines
  • Certain worrisome symptoms including stomach pain, pelvic pain or other gynecologic symptoms, chest pain, headache, certain musculoskeletal problems.

Please call the office, or send a message via the patient portal if you have questions about what type of appointment is recommended.

Can I postpone my in-office appointment?

It is more important than ever to take care of your health, especially chronic conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic heart and lung conditions. Cancer screening and immunizations are also crucial to your continued health. Some routine care may be able to wait, but other issues are important to address quickly. Your provider will determine if an office appointment is recommended as part of your ongoing medical care.

Is it safe for me to go to my upcoming doctor’s appointment?

We are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of all patients and staff who enter the office. These include:

  • No COVID-19 testing is being done in the office. No patients with current symptoms of, or recent exposure to someone with COVID-19 will be permitted in the office.
  • Pre-appointment symptoms screening
  • Temperature check for all staff and patients on arrival
  • Masks must be worn by staff and patients at all times while in the office.
  • No-waiting in the waiting room. Patients will be taken directly to an exam room after check in
  • Limitations on the number of staff and patients in the office each day will help us to follow recommended social distancing guidelines
  • No walk-in hours. Please contact the office first to schedule all appointments
  • Exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between patients.

What should I do to prepare to come in for an appointment?

  • One day before your appointment, the office will contact you to screen you for COVID-19 symptoms. If you have any symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 (these include fevers, chills, cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, muscle pain, headache, or sore throat), a doctor or nurse practitioner will contact you to review your symptoms and determine next steps.
  • Wear a face covering or mask to your visit.

What type of face covering is appropriate to wear?

Your face covering should cover the nose and mouth, and be secured to the head with ties or straps, or wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

Face masks with one-way exhalation valves should not be worn. These masks filter the air that is inhaled by the person wearing it, protecting them from dust and small particles in their surroundings. However, exhalation valve allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the environment, putting those around the wearer at risk.

For more information about face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19, please see the CDC website:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Woman wearing face masks

Should I have bloodwork done?

Yes. Routine bloodwork is important for preventing, monitoring, and managing many chronic conditions. It may also be important to monitor bloodwork if you take certain medications. If you have an upcoming annual physical exam appointment, or if you typically have bloodwork done before appointments (such as for diabetes), we request that you have bloodwork done. Most LabCorp and Quest Diagnostic laboratories remain open, and are taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We recommend that you schedule an appointment to have bloodwork done with your nearest lab. Please call the office if you have specific questions.

Can I bring a family member or caregiver to my appointment?

Individuals with physical or cognitive limitations who a require the assistance of another person to attend their appointment are permitted to bring one person with them to the appointment. To help us limited the number of individuals in the office and follow social distancing guidelines, we request that patients who are able to do so come to their appointments unaccompanied.

Since I scheduled my appointment, I lost my job and no longer have health insurance (or my insurance changed). What should I do?

We are committed to helping all of our patients get the care that they need. Please call the office, or send a message via the patient portal to discuss your situation and find out how we can help.

Where can I find more information?

Protecting yourself from COVID-19 infection
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Testing for COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/index.html

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Information about the end of stay-at-home orders and the gradual reopening of Philadelphia
https://www.phila.gov/2020-05-29-what-the-yellow-phase-means-for-philadelphia/
https://www.phila.gov/guides/safer-at-home/

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the office is changing how we provide medical care to our patients during this difficult time.

We are here to handle your chronic medical problems as well as urgent conditions which may arise, whether related to the current pandemic or not. We do not want you to postpone care for your chronic medical conditions.

If you have an upcoming follow up visit or physical already scheduled, we will not be seeing you in the office. Instead your visit will be conducted by a video-enabled virtual visit or by phone if you do not have computer or smart phone capabilities. Please reserve that time so that your provider can reach you for a virtual visit. Someone from NSIM will call you one to two days prior to assist in setting this up and to review your medications, and any preventive medical needs.

See other documents on this web page to find instructions for downloading the Healow app on your smart phone. The Healow app is a great resource and is the easiest way for you to do a video visit, and message your provider.

We will be billing your insurance company for any time the provider spends with you whether video visit, phone call or web message. There will be no cost to you for copays.

If you have an urgent problem, please call us and a provider will call you back to help you. If we feel that you need to be seen in the office, we have a limited number of providers who are seeing patients in the office by scheduled appointment starting 8am to 1:30pm Monday thru Friday for non-respiratory issues.

We will not have walk in hours – please call the office first.

If you have any respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, fever, or nasal congestion, please call us and a provider will evaluate you over the phone and determine your need for an office visit or testing. All visits for respiratory illnesses will take place in a heated tent in the parking lot behind our building and are by appointment only.

At times of communal stress like this, reaching out to friends and family with encouragement and support helps both the giver and the receiver. We need to stay connected!

Downloads:

Coronavirus Update

In an effort to prevent seasonal viral infections, including COVID-19 (Coronavirus), in our community, Ninth Street Internal Medicine is requesting that if you are experiencing symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and fever, please call the office immediately at (215) 440-8681. We have special appointment times available for patients with these symptoms to minimize the risk of exposure for the rest of our patients.

For More Information Download:

Coronavirus fact sheet

Coronavirus fact sheet if you are sick