Dear Bridger ENT patients and families and referring providers,
Due to the pandemic corona virus (which causes COVID-19 disease), we have activated a preparedness plan to protect our patients and our staff from infection. The intent of this plan is to provide ongoing medical services, in a conscientious manner, to reduce our patients’ exposure to other patients who might be infected and to protect our staff from patients who might be infected. Given the features of this virus, patients who are infected may be contagious for up to 5 days before showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and may inadvertently leave active infectious virus on surfaces they touch. For patients with active cough or sneezing, active infectious virus can be spread via droplets to those in close proximity. For these reasons, any patient, without symptoms, having contact with other patients in our office or contact with our office staff must be assumed to be contagious. In accordance with the guidelines set out by the CDC and other health authorities, we are taking the following precautions in our office:
Office Containment: Minimizing the Risk of Viral Spread
We are encouraging our patients, parents and providers to follow the CDC's suggested hygiene practices.We are asking those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have knowledge of being in recent close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to refrain from entering our facility.Please contact your primary care provider for advice on corona testing.We are asking patients to cancel any upcoming appointments if they have any signs of illness - whether these are symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 or not.Patients or parents of patients that enter our clinic who are clearly ill will be asked to kindly leave and will be rescheduled at least 2 weeks into the future.We ask that you come to your appointment alone. If the appointment is for your child, we ask that only one parent accompany your child.We ask that you do not bring children, who are not patients, with you or your child’s appointment. Please reschedule if this is not possible.We are setting up the ability to provide on-line telemedicine visits via our patient portal. You can download the Healow App and enter our phone number 406-556-9798 to find our practice. (www.Healow.com) This app allows patients to have online appointments and download their visit notes.For currently scheduled patients, we will be calling to reschedule non-urgent appointments to decrease patient numbers entering the office. Likewise, if your visit can be accomplished via a phone or telemedicine visit, we will use one these modalities to complete your visit.We are actively rescheduling non-urgent upcoming appointments if you are in a high-risk group for COVID-19 complications.We are limiting the total number of patients we will be seeing each day to limit the infective risk to our staff and our patients. These changes will create a greater delay in getting an appointment. Please be patient.Our team is disinfecting hard surfaces with viricidal wipes and sprays frequently throughout the day. Please alert us if you have sensitivity to fumes from isopropyl alcohol.Our team is terminally cleaning the office at the end of the day.We will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gowns and gloves while seeing patients to minimize the risk of viral spread to our staff and between patients.We are asking our team members to restrict travel, but if necessary, make sure to take the necessary precautions recommended by the CDC prior to returning to work.Our team is closely monitoring their own health and well-being.
Before Your Appointment and The Day of Your Appointment
You will complete our intake form online after receiving an email with instructions. You will NOT print this form. You will be instructed to call our office (556-9798) when you park in our parking lot. If your exam room is ready, you will be cleared to enter the office and you will be immediately placed in the exam room. If your exam room is not ready, you will be notified, while waiting in your vehicle, via text message when your exam room is ready. If the delay is going to be excessive, we may ask you to reschedule your appointment. After your appointment is completed, you will be discharged from the office. You will not check-in or check-out at the front desk. You will not wait in any other location except your exam room.
The Surgery Schedule: Minimizing the Inappropriate Use of Vital Medical Supplies
Currently, Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital administration, with medical staff guidance, has suspended all non-essential surgery for three weeks into the future. This is in-line with multiple hospitals in Montana (and in the US) and was recommended by the American College of Surgeons. This was recommended to minimize the inappropriate use of vital medical supplies which may be in short supply during the viral pandemic. Non-essential surgeries are performed for medical conditions that are NOT a serious, immediate threat to a patient’s health (e.g., tonsillectomy for recurrent strep throat). Essential surgeries are surgeries performed for conditions that, if left untreated with surgery, would cause immediate or long-term disability (e.g., ear tubes for a medically refractory ear infection). The 3-week suspension of non-essential surgery is being re-evaluated by the medical staff/administration task force each workweek. The terms for lifting the suspension will be a determined by the task force after critically evaluating the capacity of the hospital system to care for critically ill patients in our community. Non-essential surgery includes 95% of the elective surgery we do at Bridger ENT, so we are actively removing patients, previously scheduled for surgery, from our surgery schedules for the next 4-week segment (on a rolling basis) and placing them on a cancellation waiting list in anticipation of future open surgical dates. For patients currently scheduled for pre-surgical appointments for non-essential surgery, please know that we will not be able to give you a definitive future date of surgery at the time of your pre-surgical consultation. This situation is ever evolving, and we will continue to monitor and implement procedures to preserve your medical care in a safe and conscientious manner. If you have any questions about our preparedness plan for the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact our team at Bridger Ear, Nose & Throat via email or by calling 406-556-9798. If you are a referring provider and need a patient to be seen sooner than our next available appointment, please call me directly on my cell to explain the reason for this urgent appointment. Thank you, Dr. Dodson & the Bridger ENT Team Brennan T. Dodson, MD O: 406.556.9798 F: 406.556.9795 www.BridgerENT.com info@BridgerENT.com