The news is filled with scary and grim information that is overwhelming. We hope to share important bits to help you meet your children’s health needs, both physical and mental, during these trying times. We are in this together! At CCP, we are concerned about our health and the health of our elderly and sick loved ones. Our kids at home are often bored and “climbing the walls.” Financially, we are under pressure. But, we will get through this!
Read on for some helpful information and please feel free to share with us coping “tips” and information that you think is worth sharing with others. Upon approval of our team, we would love to share it on our newsletters and on our social media pages.
As always, stay safe and healthy.
The pace of COVID-19 cases is rapidly increasing in Philadelphia and its suburbs where we now have community-based spread. However, we will likely not see a “peak” in cases for several weeks. As you know, schools are closed at least until the end of April. Due to the limitations in test supplies and our own personal protective equipment, as well as risk to our staff, we are not routinely testing for COVID-19 at our offices.
Numerous published studies from China, Italy, and the United States, continue to show that children are the least likely age group to experience severe illness. Intensive care hospitalizations and deaths have been the exception, not the rule, for children. For all individuals with symptoms of mild infection (fever, cough, sore throat without dehydration or shortness of breath), home management is advised. For those with more concerning symptoms (shortness of breath or labored breathing, chest pain with breathing, concerns for dehydration, fever of 101F or higher for > 72 hours without signs of improvement in height or frequency of fevers) please call our office.
For everyone’s safety at this time, we encourage staying home as much as possible and limiting in-person social activities and exposures, including playdates, with those outside your household. COVID-19 can be spread by those without symptoms as well as those in the asymptomatic period of infection before symptoms develop. While most healthy children and adults under 40 years of age will be able to manage their illness at home, this is not true for everybody.
More information on how to protect your household at this time can be found here.
If you believe you or a household member may be sick with COVID-19, advice on home management, isolation procedures, and when to contact your provider can be found here.
For more information on COVID-19, please visit the COVID-19 FAQ page on our website. We are updating the FAQs regularly, as new information becomes available
We are still open and here for you!
- Hours of operation and precautions. In our Center City location, rooms for seeing sick visits are clearly separated from rooms where we are seeing well children. Additionally, we have protocols for swift separation in place including the use of our multipurpose room as an isolation space. No sick children are being seen at our Bala Cynwyd office.
- Well Visits. Please do not trade one pandemic for a vaccine preventable 2nd one. We must continue to vaccinate children 18 months and younger. Please do not cancel your appointments. If you feel more comfortable going to the Bala Cywyd office, where sick children are not being seen, we are happy to accommodate you.
- Continuity of Care. To keep our providers and staff healthy, we are rotating who is in the office and barring sick staff members from coming to the office. As such, please understand that you may not see your usual provider for your visit during this time. We apologize if “switches” are made without your prior notification. Under the circumstances, schedules for providers are changing rapidly.
Telemedicine is up and running
- Self-scheduled Telemedicine. Every day starting at 4:30 pm, visit our website and schedule your own visit for the next morning. Although you will be asked to select an exact time, call backs will be made within a 2-hour window between 8:30 am and 10:30 am.
- Triage-scheduled Telemedicine. As usual, you can call our office directly and speak with someone to plan your visit.
- Telemedicine Consent. Make sure you review the consent in advance. You will be asked to accept the terms at the start of your visit, before it can continue.
- Helpful hints. Reference our “Tips for a Great Telemedicine Visit” here and make the most of your time with your provider.
- Insurance plans. Please note that telehealth visits will be billed to your insurance. Please refer to your plan for details.
Provider Phone Calls
To help us remain financially viable (and stay open) during these difficult times when visit volume is significantly reduced, insurers have informed us that we can, for the first time ever, bill and get reimbursed for phone calls. In the past, insurance companies have refused to pay for any of the very extensive phone time that pediatricians spend with patients and families.
Certain concierge groups and exclusive private medical groups have always charged patients for this time. As a community-based practice, this has not been our way. However, with this new ruling, we will start submitting provider phone call encounters to insurance companies. Please review with your specific carriers how these encounters will be handled.
Mental Health Matters!
- Stay Calm. Remember kids of all ages react to, and often mirror, your emotional state.
- Be Honest. Feel free to share your emotions, but not too much detail of what you are afraid of. Kids often cannot process lots of feelings and information at once. It is OK to “step away” and tell your kids you need some space. This is a “pediatrician endorsed” reason for screen time during these challenging times.
- Regression is OK. Remember – kids of different ages “regress” in different ways. Toddlers and preschoolers may be particularly clingy and preteens may be irritable or distant. Try to understand the emotions they are experiencing behind the behavior and affirm that it is “OK to feel that way” even if the behavior may not be.
Create Structure. But be flexible! Kids of all ages need help with this.
- Take care of yourself! Carve out some time to rejuvenate in whatever way works for you.
- Lean on the Experts. We recommend the following websites and articles for great tips during these difficult times:
- Healthy Children
- Aha! Parenting