How Doctors See Patients During the Covid Crisis
LaSalle Medical Associates leads SB County Clinics in opening during this
Covid Lockdown with strong protections for Patients and Medical professionals.
(San Bernardino, Calif.) Three months ago, LaSalle Medical Associates stopped seeing patients in person in all six of its clinics. All hospitals doctors’ offices and clinics also closed with only emergency rooms remaining open.
“In 36 years as a doctor I never had a problem like this. Including a general shut down of society. It’s a new experience for us and for everyone. So, we don’t have anything to fall back on as a template to follow,” said Dr. Albert Arteaga, president and founder of LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc.
“LaSalle is implementing the best patient solutions possible with direction from Center for Disease Control (CDC) and American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines,” said Dr. Albert Arteaga. “LaSalle is handling 600-700 phone consults per week, with video when possible.”
LaSalle’s new guidelines for patient care include:
- Temperature check for each doctor, nurse and all medical staff member before entering the clinic.
- We keep in clinic staff to a minimum, reducing possible people who can bring in an infection.
- All billing and call center staff work at home with secure computers and phones provided by LaSalle.
- We removed all objects from the walls as they collect dust and provide home for possible contamination.
- Patients exam rooms are minimalist; this insures rapid and thorough cleaning.
- Once the patient exam rooms are cleaned and disinfected, they remain unused for 10 minutes (checked with a timer). Per manufacture instructions the disinfectant is effective in about one minute. The added time is giving an increased margin of protection.
- We perform a temperature check for each patient before entering the clinic.
- All staff is wearing masks/face shield while in the clinic. Doctors. have the option to add the use of gloves and gowns as needed. Doctors change PPE after seeing each patient.
- Prescriptions are now sent to the pharmacy electronically to reduce possible infection from paper prescriptions.
“We want to establish a new normal as close to the old normal as possible,” said Dr. Arteaga. “If we put everyone in a space suit that would work, but it’s not practical. We are minimizing risk to the providers and the patients.”
“As of last week, well childcare was scheduled once again (for up to seven years of age), with outreach going out to these patients emphasizing well child checkups and immunizations,” said Dr. Arteaga.
He added, “For patients older than seven years all the way up to adults and seniors, they will be seen in person in during a phone consult it is determined that an in-person visit is medically necessary.”
LaSalle doctors suggest if you feel sick, take your temperature. If it’s over 100 degrees, call your doctor right away!
About LaSalle Medical Associates
LaSalle Medical Associates is one of the largest independent minority owned healthcare companies in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. laSalle Has Clinics in: San Bernardino, Fontana,Rialto, Hesperia and Victorville. The corporate headquarters are in Redlands.
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., operates six clinics employing more than 120 dedicated healthcare professionals, treating children, adults and seniors in San Bernardino County. LaSalle’s patients are primarily served by Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. LaSalle also accepts Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Molina, Care 1st, Health Net and Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP).
Additional Information and side bars
Before reopening how did LaSalle see patients
Before reopening LaSalle implemented different ways of treating patients. “We came up with measures to protect staff and patients we started using video consultation when possible and phone consultation when video wasn’t available,” said Dr. Arteaga.
LaSalle’s doctors had patients come to the office in person if they needed in person care. “We had patients check in, then wait in their cars until we were ready to see them,” said Dr. Arteaga.
LaSalle reduced their clinics from six locations to four. LaSalle is currently making 600-700 consults phone/Video per week more than 120 a day.
“To my surprise the patients have accepted and used the service. We usually have a complaint or two, but we haven’t had any complaints!”, said Dr. Arteaga.
“LaSalle is not testing patients at this time. We don’t have testing protocols or reliable test kits to use, as current tests are unreliable. Testing is mostly beneficial for predicting spikes and infection rates. We hope this will pass this year,” said Dr. Arteaga.
Protecting yourself everyday
How can you protect yourself during this pandemic? According to Dr. Arteaga we should all: Wash your hands before every meal. Stop holding hands when we pray around the table.
Please think safety, please don’t go to church, there is too much chance of contamination. Try online or a drive-in service where you stay in the car is okay. Were a mask when you are outside. If you feel sick, take your temperature and if it is high call your doctor right away!
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