Texas Reopening and Virutal Well Visits: What Bee Well patients need to know

Is Texas really re-opening on April 20, 2020? Not exactly.   Here is what you need to know about the April 17, 2020 orders from Governor Abbottt: 

  1. State Parks are to reopen on Monday, April 20 with strict guidelines to reduce transmission of COVID-19 – including requiring visitors to wear face coverings, maintain a six-foot distance from individuals outside of their party, and prohibiting the gathering of groups larger than five. Parks are requiring reservations and limiting the number of visitors. 

The doctors at Bee Well certainly think Vitamin N (Nature!) is vital for health, but we would be cautious to venture out too soon.  The peak of Covid 19 illness is not expected for central Texas for another 1-2 weeks. We recommend children under 2 (for whom it is not safe to wear face masks) and older children not willing to wear a face mask to stay home.

  1. Starting April 24th, retail businesses can reopen with Retail-To-Go.  Reopened stores are required to deliver items to customer’s cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact.  For those stores that are open, like grocery and hardware stores, please limit your visits and have only 1 person from the home go if a trip is necessary. We know you’re bored, but right now Target is not family entertainment.  Store workers are putting themselves at risk to serve their community. Please help keep them safe by staying home when possible. 
  2. Non-emergency medical procedures are now allowed only if the following criteria are met: 
  • Any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the PPE needed to cope with COVID-19, or
  • Any surgery or procedure performed in a licensed health care facility that has certified in writing to Texas HHSC both (1) that it will reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, and (2) that it will not request any PPE from any public source — whether federal, state, or local — for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster. 

So, your child may be able to get those ear tubes afterall.  Be prepared that specialists and surgeons will have their own criteria for procedures as performing procedures also puts them and their staff at risk. 

Bee Well is still continuing it’s Covid-19 response: 

  • All sick visits are being done by telemedicine. For those patients that asbouletly need exams, they are being seen in the parking lot.  We recommend you checkout our virtual visit toolkit suggestions on our website and facebook page to help avoid needing to leave the house for an exam. 
  • We are seeing well visits for patients under 2 years only.  Well visits for older patients are currently being scheduled for June and July. 
  • Our waiting room is currently closed.  Patients are waiting in their cars until a room is available. 

 

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that well visits for older children (>2 years) be done via virtual health when possible so that care would not be delayed. The caveat is patients would be required to come in for exams, immunizations, and routine screenings at later to TBD date. Payors have been slow to respond to the AAP recommendations, and so far this is not something that has been approved in Texas, yet. If and when virtual well visits become reimbursable and approved by the state, Bee Well will be ready. 

Bee safe.  Bee healthy.  Bee well.