By: Don Owrey
Chief Operating Officer, UPMC Susquehanna
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of our lives, including the way we receive health care. People in communities across the nation are forgoing medically necessary care leading to unnecessary suffering and worsening health conditions. It’s normal to feel anxious about returning to a medical office or hospital or leaving your home. However, it should not prevent you from receiving the essential health care you need.
During this pandemic, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, paramedics, pharmacists, environmental service workers, and everyone in the health care industry has been doing everything in their power to help you stay safe and get well, as well as ensure their own safety. As providers look forward to restarting in-person care, it’s important to know what you can expect when you return to the hospital or physician office.
What to Expect
UPMC is taking extraordinary precautions to maintain the safety of our patients, providers, and staff during this challenging time. Hospitals and medical office providers and staff continue to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of infection and to make sure the facilities are safe for you and your loved ones. All patients, providers, and staff are screened upon entry; patients, providers, and staff are required to wear masks, our facilities are sanitized throughout the day, and we continue to limit visitors to our facilities.
Before your next scheduled visit, your provider’s office will call to confirm your appointment. During this phone call, you will be asked some screening questions regarding your potential exposure to COVID-19 as well as receive information to help you navigate your visit with minimal inconvenience, including updated visitor restrictions, instructions on how to check-in from your vehicle, parking information including the location of entrances where valet parking is available, and what screening you can expect upon entering the facility.
What You Can Do
In addition to understanding and following the instructions provided to you from your provider’s office, UPMC asks that you also observe the following guidelines:
- If you are experiencing a fever, shortness of breath, or cough, call your provider for guidance before leaving your house. These are common symptoms of COVID-19.
- Arrive on-time and call to check in before entering the facility. This allows our office staff ask screening questions to determine your COVID-19 exposure risk, prepare for your visit, and provide you with any last-minute instructions or updates.
- If you’re going to a hospital for your office visit, you will be asked screening questions upon entering the facility to determine your COVID-19 exposure risk and have your temperature taken.
- Please wear an appropriate mask to your appointment. If you do not have one, you will be provided a mask when you arrive.
- Follow social distancing guidelines in all public areas. Waiting rooms and other areas throughout the facilities have been modified to safely accommodate patients.
- Remember to practice good hand hygiene, cover your cough and sneeze, and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Before leaving your appointment, discuss your follow-up care plan with your provider. You may be offered a virtual follow-up appointment.
UPMC Has and Will Always Be Here for You
UPMC is prepared and ready to serve you. Our hospitals, outpatient facilities, and physician offices are safe and fully prepared to provide the essential care you need. We are fortunate to have some of the most respected infectious disease experts in the country advising how to safely provide care. They have shown resilience and creativity leading the transformation of health care brought on by this pandemic and they continue to push innovation to make health care better and more accessible to all.
If you have questions or concerns about returning to the hospital or medical office, please contact your provider.
When you’re ready to return for care, UPMC is here for you. For more information on UPMC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit UPMC.com/COVID19.