- The American Academy of Dermatology and the American College of Mohs Surgery are preparing for their upcoming annual meetings and have communicated information about preparations and precautions. Both societies are planning to proceed with the conferences and are taking all precautionary measures possible to ensure attendees feel safe. https://marketing.aad.org/acton/rif/32948/s-0838-2003/-/l-ctx:d5d0/q-008c/showPreparedMessage?sid=TV2:bSaRmuNip. Other international conferences, however, have cancelled at the advice of CDC, including HIMMS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society). Apple, Netflix and many music performers have also withdrawn from Austin’s South by Southwest Music Festival due to the high risk of further coronavirus exposure and dissemination.
- QualDerm Partners leadership and The Quality Council has made the difficult decision to strongly discourage attendance at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting in Denver. This meeting includes 15,000 participants from all over the globe and Colorado has reported its first confirmed coronavirus case. We feel a strong obligation to our vulnerable patients and coworkers not to knowingly increase our own risk of exposure, which subsequently places them at potential risk. “Do no harm” is how we feel our company should lead. Furthermore, confirmed exposures require a mandatory 2 week quarantine, which would be devastating to our ability to care for patients. We know we cannot guarantee safety at home, but WHO and CDC are strongly recommending ‘social distancing’ to reduce widespread dissemination, and we encourage all our QualDerm employees to follow this guidance in regards to non-essential travel and meeting attendance. We will provide further updates regarding the Mohs College meeting taking place in 6 weeks.
- Our Human Resources team provides the following guidance and helpful resources available to you. We encourage you to utilize available TeleHealth options should you desire medical attention without further exposure to a medical facility.
- HealthJoy FREE online medical consults – If you are enrolled in the QDP medical plan you have FREE online medical visits covered through our new Mobile App HealthJoy. With a few taps from your phone you can speak with and/or video a doctor. If you haven’t already activated your mobile app see the attached instructions or reach out to HealthJoy at 877.500.3212 or email@example.com/
- Employee Assistance Program – We also provide a number or resources through our HealthJoy Employee Assistance Program. 1.888.721.3EAP (3327) or visit online mygroups.healthjoy.com/eap
We would like to reiterate that the risk of transmitting this virus is still low. However, we know that concern over the spread of coronavirus is growing, and you may experience stress and anxiety associated with it. If this is the case, I encourage you to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program.
At this time, the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider COVID-19 as a public health emergency and not a pandemic. Nonetheless, we should all do our part to prevent the spread. For an immediate go-to resource, see www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html? by the CDC and follow these best practices from the WHO to minimize transmitting risks:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing or preferably into disposable paper products.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough.
- Seek medical care early for a fever, cough or difficulty breathing and share previous travel history with your provider.
- Avoid eating or drinking raw or undercooked animal products and handle raw meat, milk, or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination.
Thank you for all you do help keep QualDerm a great place to work.
- Ideally sick patients will not present to our dermatology clinics or will leave the clinic and immediately seek care with their PCP in response to our signage or at the direction of front desk staff. But, we feel clinically trained personnel should perform any screening function if necessary. Therefore, at the recommendation of CDC guidance for healthcare workers, QualDerm Partner clinics will begin to screen and triage patients upon intake with the following questions. EMRs are being updated and configured to help capture the data:
- 1. Travel outside of US or contact with known or high risk coronavirus/flu patients
- 2. Fever/chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms
If YES, proceed with PPE, isolation, and contact PCP and/or state health department to determine testing protocol. Phone numbers are listed below.
Currently, CDC recommends testing only for those patients meeting all 3 criteria:
- Travel to a high risk site (e.g. China, Iran, Italy, Cruise Ship) or contact with known Coronavirus patient
- Fever (>100.4 F)
- Respiratory symptoms
- A single Coronavirus case was identified recently near our Brentwood TN corporate headquarters and one of our TN clinics. No other QDP markets report new activity, although we anticipate further spread and emphasize universal precautions regardless.
The incidence map from Johns Hopkins seems to be more frequently updated than the daily CDC site, so we have included a link here.
- Former Senate Majority Leader from TN and Vanderbilt cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Bill Frist also currently serves as a Partner for Cressey & Co. which is QualDerm’s original investor. Dr Frist shares his advice and thoughts on this recent coronavirus outbreak, as compared to other serious health crises with which he has been involved in a leadership capacity. He recommends to stay calm, know the facts, follow CDC recommendations and we will get through this epidemic like we have before.
- We also share a good article for everyone with advice to increase awareness of ‘face touching’ as a high risk behavior for spread of all infectious diseases, including flu and coronavirus.
- We are working with Housekeeping and Cleaning staff at all QDP sites to encourage and ensure effective infection control and cleaning protocols are followed.
Thank you and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns,
QDP – Quality Council