MOA Coronavirus Statement

As we all try to navigate the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic, the MOA wants you to know that we are here to offer you resources and guidance.  None of us have ever experienced anything like this.  The AOA has sent communications to members and is working with the federal government and the CDC to ensure members have access to small business loans as well as access to telemedicine billing for Medicare patients They have created a website with resources specific to optometry.

Please visit https://www.aoa.org/coronavirus. There you will find current developments and practice tools for continued guidance.

The Missouri Dept of Health and Human Services also has a web page with the latest state information: https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/

There you will find a link to the CDC situation summary page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

We all have difficult decisions to make as we determine how we go forward in offering patient care.  It is a personal decision and we must each do what is right for our own practices and families.  We urge you to use these resources.

Practices will need to also make some contingency business plans specific to your own situations. At this time, there have been no actions from the Missouri Dept of Health or the Governor for individual practices.  The MOA will monitor for any state or federal initiatives put in place to offset any financial impact this pandemic has on our practices.

For information regarding unemployment, PTO and other labor topics please refer to the Missouri Dept of Labor website for their FAQ and information regarding the pandemic: https://labor.mo.gov/coronavirus

As part of the health care team, if your situation permits, we should be at least available for emergency care and do our part to keep patients out of the emergency rooms where they are definitely placed at a higher risk.

Let’s all do our part to “flatten the curve” and keep washing those hands!

Suggestions for your practices:

  1. Consider postponing and rescheduling those patients age 60 years and older, patients with comorbidities, patients who are immunocompromised or closing your office to nonemergency visits.
  2. Screening conducted by telephone may be a way to mitigate the risk from office visits. Ideally, this would be done on the day of service.
  3. Consider staggering appointment times or spread out appointments to socially distance patients.
  4. Contemplate implementing virtual check-ins via text from your parking lot to reduce time in your waiting room.
  5. Consider taking the temperature of patients that have to be seen when they enter your office.
  6. Ask caregivers accompanying patients to their appointments to remain in their cars unless assistance is absolutely needed to reduce congregating in waiting rooms – implement social distancing procedures.
  7. Reduce patients moving from room to room and keep patients isolated from others as much as possible.
  8. Use universal precautions and follow disinfection recommendations from the CDC. This goes beyond basic personal and clinic hygiene. Re-evaluate your disinfecting procedures.
  9. Consider strategies to reduce person to person exposure at the slit lamp.
  10. Contemplate how you want to handle in office contact lens hygiene especially for new fits.
  11. Consider rotating doctors and staff seeing patients on different days (platooning) to reduce risk of multiple practitioners from being exposed simultaneously.
  12. Implement telemedicine and phone triage techniques for nonemergency eye conditions.

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