Our office is still open and available for patients however our doors will be locked as we will have minimal patients coming to the office. Please simply knock on the door when you arrive. We will not be allowing all non-essential visits to the office (paying a bill, etc).
Our lab hours as of today are from 9am-3pm until further notice.
I am speaking to those of you who like me, feel technology challenged.
It's amazing how simple things are when someone walks you through them (unlike our kids or grand kids who roll their eyes and just grab our computer or phone away from us). There are lots of ways of having contact or visits with a nurse or doctor without being seen in the office. Office visits are the best but sometimes we need to accept there are other ways of doing things. This is one of those times.
We care about you and take our "Patient Centered Medical Home" designation very seriously. Here's my message to you: WE HAVE YOUR BACK. We will make sure we keep you well physically and mentally while we keep you safe at home.
We are one week into our extensive effort to keep you and our staff safe by taking care of you at home if at all possible. I just had a conversation with a very tired pulmonary/ ICU fellow (Lung and Intensive Care unit doctor) downstate. This virus is NOT to be taken lightly. It is very contagious and can be anything from a mild illness to a very significant one.
The best way to fight this virus is not to get it. We are making every effort to provide for your medical needs by telehealth (face to face over a computer, phone or tablet). This includes things like Facetime that many of us know how to do already. It's not perfect but it is a surprisingly good alternative to keep us all safe.
Many of you have been contacted to set up these visits and many more of you will be contacted. Our front desk staff and clinical staff are trained to help you get on our patient portal and Healow app. I just got set up for mine and now I can use them with my doctor also!
Our Medicare patients will be asked to sign up for a program called "Chronic Care Management". It's a program promoted by Medicare to allow for longer "non office" visits with you and for follow up care to see how you are doing. Patients that have already used it for a long time have been really pleased with how it's like "concierge medicine" without the price tag.
We have seen how far our nation has strayed from the character of "The Greatest Generation". I believe this challenge will make us all better. If you will trust in us to know how to keep you well through these tough times we promise to do just that.
We have implemented a screening process for all staff, service workers and patients who are on the schedule before the individual will be let into the office. The questions are as follows:
1. Do you have a fever? Yes or No
2. Do you have a cough and sore throat? Yes or No
3. Have you been in contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in the last 14 days? Yes or No
If the individual answers "yes" to any of these questions, they will be asked the following questions:
1. How long have you had the symptoms?
2. Do you have any muscle aches?
3. Do you have any unusual fatigue?
4. Have you been in contact with anyone who is sick?
A physician will then review the questions and advise if the individual can come into the clinic or make alternative arrangements.
As you are aware there are now cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. We have put additional protocols in place to ensure that our physicians, staff and patient's health and safety are kept in mind. Those items include:
1. We are now offering telehealth visits! All sick patients will be seen via telehealth or telephone if possible. Telehealth is an easy and convenient way to be seen for most health concerns via your computer or smartphone. We are able to perform telehealth via our patient portal, Facetime or Skype.
2. We are rescheduling all annual physicals and annual wellness visits at this time in an effort to keep our well patients at home.
3. If you do have a scheduled appointment with our office please limit the number of visitors you bring into the office to only one.
4. Our lab will be open only to patients with scheduled visits to our office at this time.
5. We are recommending that everyone take precautions to protect themselves from the virus. This included limiting travel and practicing social distancing.
6. We are continuing to increase our infection prevention procedures by having regular cleaning schedules and removing items that are touched, such as magazines.
7. Our office will remain open during normal office hours so please contact us with any medical concerns.
8. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has opened a statewide hotline to respond to health-related questions about COVID-19. The hotline is open seven days a week from 8am to 5pm and can be reached at 1-888-535-6136. Munson Medical Center also has a Munson Ask-A-Nurse Hotline for COVID-19 that can be reached by calling 231-935-0951 (daily from 7am-7pm)
9. We understand that this is a challenging and stressful time for everyone. We offer care management and counseling services. Please contact our office to schedule a time if you are interested.
We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will do everything we can to keep you and our staff safe. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to implement changes.
Covid-19 is serious and deadly. The United States is on the cusp of a massive outbreak that threatens thousands of lives. The time to act is not when your first loved one has died because there are no hospital beds available to them. The purpose of this message is not to raise fear, but only to encourage all members of our community to engage in social distancing. This is our only opportunity to limit disease spread. Testing is NOT widely available at this moment in Michigan and there are likely people in our community who are already infected. We are proud of the steps taken by the State of Michigan, the sporting community, and the diocese of Gaylord, but cancelling these events will mean nothing if we circumvent their effects by gathering together on the side.
In the next week we will likely have widely available testing and will have a better idea of the prevalence of COVID-19. Until then, stay home, wash your hands, call our office if you have a fever, cough, or exposure. Please do not just "show up" to get tested.
We, as doctors, have little to offer in the outpatient setting, so we must focus on prevention which is in your hands. Please refer to the state website (www.michigan.gov/coronavirus) for more information on the Michigan outbreak. Also, please send us a message through the portal if you have any additional questions or concerns. Stay healthy!
Following the heightened concerns over Coronavirus (COVID-19), Thirlby Clinic, PLC is working closely with the Grand Traverse County Health Department to communicate and help our staff and patients proactively combat the spread of respiratory infections.
At this time there are cases of the COVID-19 in the state of Michigan. Grand Traverse County and surrounding county health departments are following guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which is continuously updating information. A link to the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions and Answers can be found by logging onto our website and clicking on the link.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to a virus. Precautions that can help us avoid contagious viruses are generally good habits to follow. Those include:
Please be patient with our staff as we continue to elevate our infection prevention by requiring patients with a fever, general cold symptoms such as congestion, cough and runny nose to sanitize, mask and take a tissue before entering our office. We are also asking that patients with these symptoms do not check in at the kiosks but rather with a receptionist. We will also be increasing our infection control by more frequent cleaning of areas where germs are easily spread.
It is recommended that those who are 60 years or over and those with severe chronic conditions take precautions to protect themselves from the virus. This includes limiting travel, avoiding crowds and staying home as much as possible to reduce the risk of exposure.
We will continue to keep you informed as this situation develops and as always please reach out to us first if you are not feeling well so that we can best direct your care.
Thank you for being a patient of Thirlby Clinic!