June 16, 2020
Dear Valued HCM Patient,
Thank you for taking the time to read this message.
The following information, procedures and protocols are important for all of us to know and to follow.
In conjunction with the easing of Coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions, High Country Macula, Retina, and Vitreous, PC (HCM) is adjusting our “flu-like illness” patient protocols to be more in-line with CDC COVID-19 recommendations. We’re easing scheduling restrictions to allow all patients to be seen, allowing one family member or guardian to accompany the patient into our care centers. We’ll enforce social distancing in waiting rooms, and we’ll ask everyone to wear masks (please bring your own mask). The purpose of this update is to ease patient burden, protect our patients and staff, and to streamline the evaluation and management for those people with a flu-like illness. Please remember in reading this that HCM takes care of thousands of patients regionally. It would be devastating for many people if we were quarantined or worse, incapacitated due to actual illness.
Here are our new office protocols and procedures for flu-like illnesses and other respiratory illnesses.
We will occasionally be updating these procedures on our website and on the sign on our front doors. So when you come to our office, please STOP and read the front door signs. We will also gladly update you by phone upon request.
1) If you have fever, chills, or the shakes, or other flu-like symptoms (symptoms that come on very quickly, fever, cough, severe body aches, headaches, chest pain) for any reason, DO NOT COME INTO THE OFFICE. Please notify us by telephone. We will ask you a brief set of questions, talk to one of our technicians or practitioners, and then help you come up with a plan if needed. If you are having a medical emergency call 911 or go to the Emergency Room.
2) If you have a cough, sore throat, or runny nose without fever or other flu-like symptoms (even if you think you just have allergies) we ask that you sanitize your hands and put on a mask when you enter the office and before you sit down. Please come in for an appointment only if necessary. If you have questions as to whether or not you should come in, please call us to discuss.
3) If you are having diarrhea, nausea or vomiting for any reason, please sanitize your hands as you enter our office and before you sit down. Again, please come in for an appointment only if necessary. If you have questions as to whether or not you should come in, please call us to discuss.
4) If you do not have any of the above symptoms please sanitize your hands as you enter the office.
5) We are trying to keep our waiting room, exam rooms and bathroom clean. If you would like to wipe down your seat or the surfaces in the bathroom or exam room we will happily give you a bleach-water solution and paper towels to do so.
6) We ask that you wear a face mask. Please do not take it off until we instruct you to. We understand that a mask can be claustrophobic especially when one is sick. Please be patient with us.
7) We do not have an isolation room. If you seem ill to us, you might be asked to leave. PLEASE FOLLOW OUR INSTRUCTIONS and do not take this personally. We strive to act in the best interest of our patients and community. Our practitioners might be wearing a mask, goggles and a gown. We understand that this can be intimidating and scary. Please remember that we care about you and are here to help.
Here is what you can do to prevent the spread of flu-like illnesses.
These recommendations are more important than anything that we, as medical practitioners, can do for you. Do not be shy, embarrassed about, or feel that you are above integrating the following recommendations into your daily routine. We have attached a link to the CDC website for current information on COVID-19 and a link to a very informative video on preventing the spread of COVID-19. The bottom line is the following:
1) Wash or sanitize your hands regularly when out in public. You can use soap and water or an alcohol based hand solution. There are videos on appropriate technique at your disposal on the internet. Wash your hands for 15 seconds.
2) If you have to travel on public transportation or are going to an event, dining in a public place, staying or working in a public facility, take along Lysol, bleach or alcohol wipes to wipe down areas within arm’s reach where you are sitting or standing. Again this does not take the place of washing your hands frequently while in public but it will make your immediate public spaces safer for you and others.
3) The use of conventional surgical masks help in two ways. If you are having cold or flu-like symptoms masks help prevent you from spreading the germs to others. Also, whether you are sick or not, a mask prevents you from touching your face. This helps prevent you from transmitting germs from your hands to your mouth and nose. It also prevents you from spreading germs from your mouth and nose to your hands and to others. Wear a mask if you are sick with fever, respiratory symptoms or other flu-like symptoms. A mask will not prevent you from breathing in dust and droplets that may contain germs. Again, remember to wash your hands (see 1).
4) The CDC is currently recommending that people with certain health conditions should not travel on public transportation or go to public events. “Certain health conditions” includes significant lung, liver, kidney and heart conditions that impair those organs ability to function. “Certain health conditions” also include diabetes mellitus and a suppressed immune system related to medications and/or disease. We support the CDC’s recommendations. We also recommend that these people wash their hands frequently when in public places.
Thank you again for taking the time to read this letter. We wish all of you the best of health, free of COVID-19.
Michael S. Seligson, MD, FACS
If you feel you meet the criteria for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), please call the NM Department of Health Coronavirus hotline at 855-600-3453.
For additional information on COVID-19 please copy and paste these links in your browser:
“What You Should Know”