As cases of COVID-19 occupy healthcare systems across the nation, the providers and staff at Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates understand that patients with below-the-knee conditions are still in need of care. In response to the current COVID-19 outbreak, FASA is continuing to provide services to patients while still complying with CDC guidelines and supporting local healthcare efforts to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. Through increased sanitation efforts, telemedicine and social distancing practices, FASA is ensuring the safety of patients, staff and providers while also tending to foot and ankle healthcare needs.
Deemed an essential establishment for public health and wellbeing, FASA offices will remain open throughout Governor Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation. Following guidelines both on a national level and from the Washington State Department of Health, FASA is continuing to care to foot and ankle patients with as little interruption to services as possible.
“Our primary purpose and mission is to improve the quality of people’s lives by providing our patients with the highest possible quality care,” says FASA Family Wellness CEO, Joelene Gioulis. “As partners in your health and wellbeing, we are here to serve you and your healthcare needs in any one of our office locations or via telemedicine.”
FASA clinics will remain open during regular business hours for in-person appointments. FASA is also scheduling special clinic hours for patients who are immunocompromised, elderly or in another high-risk group. Patients in high-risk groups are advised to take extra precautions to stay safe and maintain social distancing measures. Patients who are feeling sick or are recording a fever are encouraged to reschedule their in-person appointments for a later date.
All patients and staff entering FASA clinic buildings will be screened for fever and respiratory concerns. For patients who are showing respiratory symptoms, including coughing or a runny nose, or for those who may feel they need one, a mask will be supplied. Anyone entering the clinic will be encouraged to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer provided by the office.
Sanitation efforts have been increased throughout the office, both in common waiting areas and in exam rooms. In clinic lobbies, surfaces including door handles are regularly cleaned and chairs have been spaced six feet apart to ensure proper social distancing practices. Patients are asked to only bring guests who absolutely necessary to in-person appointments to limit the number of people in the lobby and exam rooms. Each exam room is cleaned thoroughly in between patients with EPA registered disinfectants, with a deep clean carried out at the end of each day. In addition to diligent handwashing practices, appropriate personal protective equipment is also worn by providers during patient visits.
Telemedicine is Available
In addition to in-person visits, FASA is increasing access to telemedicine appointments. Instead of traveling to a clinic, patients can use telemedicine appointments to connect with FASA providers through a home computer or smartphone. Conducted through a computer screen, a telemedicine visit reduces in-person contact, but will still allow providers and patients to connect and patients can still receive care from a remote location. Follow-up appointments and new non-urgent patients will be encouraged to schedule telemedicine appointments and prescriptions can be mailed directly to patient residences.
To help conserve personal protection equipment and to help support local hospitals tending to critical healthcare needs, FASA is now scheduling only urgent surgeries. Non-critical and elective surgeries will be canceled until further notice. This includes non-urgent hospital procedures and elective surgeries at FASA’s Ambulatory Surgery Center. FASA is also working with local hospitals to move necessary surgeries to FASA’s Ambulatory Surgery center to reduce the strain on local hospital systems.
Through social distancing efforts, increased telemedicine services and sanitation protocols, FASA continues to provide patient-centered care while also helping to reduce potential exposure to illness.
“These efforts have been taken with the safety and wellbeing of our patients and staff in mind, allowing patients to feel comfortable coming to their appointment knowing we are taking all precautions necessary to reduce the chance of exposure while still meeting their medical needs,” explains Gioulis.
To learn more about FASA’s sanitation efforts, telemedicine services or to schedule an appointment, visit the Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates website.