We need to work together to stay safe. Here is how your care will be provided while the virus is in our community.
The practice is now open to in-office patient encounters. We follow Commonwealth of Virginia Guidelines and AMA Recommendations to allow us to provide the best possible care for our patients. Patients who are sick, have a fever, or who have had exposure to Covid-19 will have their visits rescheduled or converted to a telemedicine encounter. Social distancing will be maintained and the visit will be conducted only between the patient and the provider, unless there is a genuine need for another person to be present in the exam room.Please note the following:
Masks MUST BE WORN. We suggest commercial, surgical grade masks with folds on the front. They are more effective and stay in place better than cloth masks. If a cloth mask is worn, IT SHOULD FIT! The mask NEEDS TO COVER THE NOSE as well as the mouth. If you do not have an appropriate mask, one can be provided to you.
The Covid experience has accelerated a transition in our visit patterns. To make for a better visit experience, we have made changes so that the practice can better handle both the expected problems that are present in chronic pain care as well as the inevitable unexpected issues and changes that occur. These changes are briefly explained below (and in the “Visit Policy” section.)
- The preferred encounter is an on-site office visit, although there will continue to be a role for telemedicine appointments. Certain types of visits need to be conducted in the office, particularly New Patient evaluations and procedures. To comply with regulations that govern opioid prescribing, at a minimum, patients will need to be physically present in the office twice a year to provide a urine drug screen.
- Given the complexities involved in Long Term Opioid Therapy (LTOT), general visits for treatment plan oversight and prescription writing will be conducted by our Advanced Practitioners (Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners). These are generally done on a 2-3 monthly basis and are intended to maintain care in patients who have stable pain problems. If there are NEW problems, or there is a significant change overall, a reassessment will be needed and this will require a separate, on-site visit. More information on this is contained in the “Visit Policy” section.”
- In order to provide a continuing and current diagnostic formulation and treatment plan, physician oversight visits will take place regularly. These will apply to ALL patients, visits to take place at least once to twice a year and will be separate from the usual prescription writing visits. We believe that patient care is enhanced when different providers bring new perspectives to the clinical problems and when there is a mechanism built into the visit rotation cycle to provide periodic re-assessment.
- This system of routine maintenance visits coupled with periodic general review and acute reassessment visits makes possible increased access to providers. If there is new problem, or a significant clinical change, follow up visits can be made as frequently as necessary until the situation stabilizes and the patient returns to the usual follow-up rotation cycle.
- If a patient feels that there is a new issue, that there has been a significant change, or simply would like to have a re-assessment, the front office should be contacted so that a physician oversight appointment can be made.
- Check-out personnel can help patients create a projected visit template using a provided calendar. On this can be mapped out medication review visits, physician oversight visits and procedure appointments (if applicable). This longer-term plan will also help in the scheduling of Telemedicine visits for those patients who wish to continue employing this type of encounter.