COVID-19 Office Policies & Updates

We are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff.

Your doctor or nurse practitioner at Ninth Street Internal Medicine will work with you to decide whether an appointment in the office is recommended as part of your ongoing medical care.  Please call our office at (215) 440-8681 or visit our COVID-19 Resource Center if you have questions about your care after reading the following information.

How we are keeping you safe and healthy

  1. If you are sick or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, please contact our office.
  2. We can order COVID-19 testing for you if indicated.  Please schedule an appointment so you can discuss with a medical provider what is the best course of action for you
  3. Due to limited resources during the current COVID-19 surge, we will not be performing COVID-19 testing on patients who are asymptomatic and without any known exposure.
  4. If you live in the same household with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are at a high risk of becoming infected. You should quarantine at home until you can be sure that you are not infected. Please schedule a telehealth visit for specific instructions for your individual situation. Please visit the CDC website for more instructions about what to do or for more information about quarantine.

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
  • Masks must be worn by staff and patients at all times while in the office.
  • No walk-in hours. Please contact the office first to schedule all appointments
  • Exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between patients.
  • No additional visitors will be allowed in the waiting room or examination rooms unless approved by a provider or deemed otherwise medically necessary.

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

  • Two days prior to your in-office appointment, you will receive a text message or email requesting you to complete a pre-visit screening questionnaire.  Please answer all of the questions and follow any prompts.
    If you develop 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), please call our office immediately before coming to the office for your appointment. A doctor or nurse practitioner will review your symptoms and determine next steps.
    Wear a mask at all times while in our office.  If you do not have a medical grade surgical mask our staff will be happy to give you one at our front desk.

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, the 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 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

Guidelines for people who have close contact with someone who has COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

Self-isolation guidelines for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

Caring for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html

Guidelines for Caregivers who are sick
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/parents-caregivers.html

COVID-19 Testing & Resources

We have seen a surge of COVID-19 over the past several weeks.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you are not sure what to do, please call us to schedule a telehealth appointment with one of our providers. We can discuss your individual situation and give specific recommendations.

We want to remind everyone that our office is NOT open for walk-in appointments or COVID-19 testing.

Please ask our staff about options for receiving testing orders or other paperwork. Often times we can email these documents and save you a trip to the office!

Here are some resources for COVID testing in our area. Please note that some testing locations require a doctor’s order.

Please refer to the CDC for the most up to date information about COVID-19 symptoms and exposure:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

(215) 440-8681  | COVID-19 Vaccine Registration