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COVID-19


 

Update 6/1/20 for RPW Patients:

As of June 1st, we are pleased to announce that RPW Ob/Gyn is increasing its office availability and allowing all types of visits, including annual/preventative visits. We have still not opened our schedules fully so as to avoid crowding in our waiting room and to room patients as quickly as possible. Evening hours are available again on Monday and Thursday evenings at the Elmhurst location. We are reopening our Oak Park location, but we are postponing the reopening of our Hinsdale, Westchester, and Addison locations. We apologize for this inconvenience, but we are still consolidating our offices to allow as many of our staff as possible to work from home to avoid exposure.

We have enhanced the safety precautions we instituted March 15th. All staff and patients are screened with temperature checks and symptom questions. Masks are required by all staff and patients. Plexiglass has been installed at the front desk reception area. We continue our enhanced cleaning of exam rooms and waiting room.

Telehealth visits are still available for new or established patients. We continue to not allow visitors (partner, friends, or family) during any visit, ultrasound, or blood draw unless language barriers or mobility issues require additional support. We encourage patients to use the portal to contact the office for non-urgent matters.

If you have been exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID 19, we ask that you reschedule your appointment at least 2 weeks after the exposure. If you are pregnant or have an urgent matter, please call the office so that we can determine the best course of action. We ask if you have any symptoms of possible infection to cancel your visit and contact your primary care physician. If you do not have one, please let us know. Symptoms to watch for include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

We encourage you to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks in public spaces, practicing good hand hygiene and self-screening for the symptoms noted above. Thank you for your patience and help. We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.

 

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Update 4/16/20 for RPW Patients:

We have extended our current limited schedule until Monday, May 18th. We will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 in our community and adjust our schedules as needed. We apologize for any inconveniences that rescheduled appointments might cause our patients.

As a reminder, we are offering Telehealth audio-visual visits to address any problems or concerns you might have. We are delaying preventative health maintenance exams at this time until May 18th, and likely into June. For patients who have Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and Humana, these "virtual" problem visits are without any out-of-pocket expenses -- no co-pays or deductibles. For Cigna and United Healthcare patients, your usual cost sharing applies.

We have also adjusted our office visitor policy. We are asking that support persons not accompany patients for any visits, including ultrasounds. If there are translation requirements, mobility/stability concerns, or difficulty understanding instructions, please call our office to discuss prior to the appointment. There will be opportunities for patients to record part of their ultrasound exam at the direction of the ultrasonographer, and we can send images and short video clips by email or to your phone.

Elmhurst Hospital is requesting donations for personal protective equipment (PPE), such as all types of face masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles. We have donated all of our surgical gowns and almost all of our supply of face masks. Please bring your own face mask to your visit. If you don't have one, please use a cloth covering such as a scarf or bandana. As our supplies dwindle, you may be asked to reschedule your visit once you have obtained a mask.

We strongly recommend you continue social distancing at this time, including wearing a face mask when in public settings. Studies shown even slight breakdowns in social distancing can dramatically reduce its effectiveness. Our state has finally started to make progress. Please continue your efforts that can save the lives of loved ones, frontline workers, and your broader community.

Please see previous Facebook posts or website updates for further information.

 

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COVID-19 Practice Update for Patients of RPW

3/30/20 Update to RPW's Response to COVID-19.

Please see the prior post dated 3/23/20 for our schedule and office changes. This schedule is now extended until May 4th.

In the office, clinical staff will begin wearing face masks routinely as a precaution because of their close contact with multiple people, even though this is not a current recommendation from the CDC.

For our patients who deliver during this time, Elmhurst Hospital's Family Birth Center policy is to allow one support person in the delivery room. It is asked that the support person stay in the room to avoid unnecessary traffic on the unit.

We will encourage our patients to be discharged after 24 hours if they and their baby are stable and cleared for discharge. This is to reduce the use of hospital supplies and decrease the risk of exposure to your family and to the hospital staff. We will have an RPW nurse or physician follow up with you for a postpartum phone call or telehealth visit the next day and as needed.

Lastly, please check this page or our website's COVID-19 tab for updates. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions.

 

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3/23/20

This is to update you on additional steps we are taking to decrease risks to patients and staff, while still providing the care you need. Effective Monday, March 23rd:

There will only be one doctor and one medical assistant or nurse in the office. Each doctor will have one day each week that they will see patients in the office, one day they will be available for Telehealth video calls, and one day covering the hospital. Staff will be able to reach them on other days. We recommend no annual visits until at least April 17th.


Patients who should be seen in the office:

All pregnant patients - new, routine followup, and patients with problems.
New gynecologic patients with problems
Breast lump/mass or pain

Telehealth is a new service we are providing. We ask for patience as we work out any kinks. 

Patients who might be able to use Telehealth video visits include:
UTI/bladder infections
Vaginitis — vulvar or vaginal discharge, itching, burning, pain, or odor
Birth control — starting new type or followup
Irregular periods
Confirmation of pregnancy visits
Follow-up of tests results — including Lab results, DEXA scans, Mammograms, or Ultrasounds

If you are uncertain what type of visit you should have, please call our office.

No visitors should accompany patients into the waiting room or exam area except if there is a need to help with mobility, understanding of directions, language barriers, emotional support, or for the 18-20 week anatomy ultrasound. Otherwise, we recommend that visitors wait in their car if possible. Thank you for your understanding.

 

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March 16, 2020

 

To Our Patients at RPW:
 

Due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, named COVID-19, we want to take steps to protect our patients, employees and their loved ones. As many of you may already know, most people (up to 80%) who contract the virus can have mild to no symptoms at all and make a full recov- ery. People at greater risk of having severe illness include older adults and/or have health prob- lems that affect the heart, lung, or immune systems, including diabetes The goal is to prevent people from getting severe illness because of the risk of dying and the risk of overwhelming our healthcare system. 

We all can play a part in preventing the spread of the virus to protect those most at risk. It is also important to prevent the speed at which the virus spreads. Rapid spread that causes a peak in infections can overwhelm the healthcare system and prevent severely ill people from receiving the care they need. The goal is to “flatten the curve” so we don’t see a peak.

In light of these concerns, we want to review steps we are taking at RPW Ob/Gyn and steps that you can take individually.


Effective Monday March 16th:

  • We will ask all routine “well visits” or annual exams be rescheduled at least for one Please call if you need refills of any medications or routine tests ordered.

You can call for a screening mammogram order if you are due, but we recommend you postpone this test unless it is to follow up a problem, such as a lump or pain.

Pregnant patients and patients with problems that need to be seen will still be seen.

If you are uncertain if you need to be seen or if you have special circumstances, please call our office.

  • We ask patients who have cold or flu symptoms to not come to the office. You can call your Primary Care Physician or our office with any questions or
  • If you are experiencing significant shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, please go to the nearest emergency
  • All patients who are scheduled for an office visit will be asked a brief series of screening These same questions will be asked when you arrive for your visit.
  • We are planning to only see patients at our Elmhurst location for the next month and until further notice. This change will prevent unnecessary exposures at other locations and allow us to remain open in case of anticipated employee
  • We are spreading out the visit schedule to reduce crowding in our waiting
  • We ask that office visits and ultrasound exams are limited to the patient and one additional person.

Please arrange so that children, if at all possible, do not accompany you to the visit.

  • We are asking employees who are sick to stay home and those exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient to self-quarantine at home.
  • Employees that are able to work from home will be asked to do so. We ask that you use the portal for questions or requests of a non-urgent It will be the most effective way to communicate with us. Call us for urgent matters or if you are not sure how to use the portal. Employees may be calling you from a blocked number or their personal cell phones. This change may affect our efficiency. We ask for your patience.
  • We are increasing the frequency and extent of our cleaning of the waiting room, workstations, and exam
  • We are exploring options to provide Telehealth for problems that do not require a visit. We will update you when that is available.

 

The above actions are not at the direction of any government or public health officials. We un- derstand these changes may have a significant effect on our patients and employees, and we apologize for any inconveniences and difficulties these actions may pose. We believe these are the right changes to make at this time for the health and safety of our patients, employees, and their families. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.


Below, please find some additional information of how you can protect yourselves.

What you need to know about COVID-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf

What to do if you are sick:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf

 

Thank you for your understanding and patience.


Sincerely,

Drs. Casey, Chen, Fitzmaurice, Kossoris, and Sklar and the staff of RPW Obstetrics and Gynecology

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