FAQ about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and What We are Doing About It
Updated: November 6, 2020
Are you accepting new patients?
Yes, we are accepting all new patients and following strict scheduling and cleaning best practices to maintain your safety as more new patients are seen.
I am an existing patient/patient on hold since the quarantine. Can I make an appt for PT now?
Yes, if we are able to keep our capacity below the safe limit to maintain social distancing, we will be able to schedule you to come in for treatment.
However, if the patient load becomes too high, we may need to restrict the scheduling of your in-clinic treatment. When possible, telehealth visits will be made available as well.
Priority scheduling will be given to high urgency cases and existing patients.
When can I make an appointment?
You can make an appointment today based on availability, which is determined by our clinics’ safe capacity and urgency of condition.
How are you practicing social distancing in your office?
- We have rearranged the clinic to maximize space
- We are “assigning” tables for therapists
- We have marked the floor for standing locations in the waiting room
- We have implemented a new entrance/exit system to minimize traffic through the same door
- We are limiting the number of patients in the waiting room
- We are asking people to remain in their car until 5 minutes prior to their appointment
How are you making it safe for patients?
- All who enter our facility, including staff and patients are required to wear masks.
- Curtains will be pulled as an extra barrier between tables.
- We’ve adjusted the layout of the clinic to ensure social distancing is possible.
- We have reserved spaces for “vulnerable population”.
- We’ve developed extremely thorough cleaning protocols with all patient contact items cleaned after every single use.
- We are limiting number of people allowed in waiting room/only patients allowed in clinic (parents/relatives must wait in car to reduce # of people in clinic).
- We have a new systematic check-in process to limit the amount of time you spend in the waiting room.
- We are separating sanitized pens and used pens so if you need to use a pen, you can be confident it is clean.
- We have clear signage and communication to all our patients to ensure transparency and understanding of our new processes.
- We are implementing separate entrance/exit for 1 direction foot traffic flow.
- Our Admin team will instruct patients to wash hands at time of appt check-in.
- Our PTs/Rehab Techs will instruct patients to use hand sanitizer as they exit clinic (sanitizer station will be at exit).
- Private rooms will be used for high risk patient populations.
Are you doing anything to enhance safety around the holidays?
We are taking extra precautions surrounding the holidays and adding some screening questions at entry during the period of the week before and the week after the holiday. We are asking if you will be attending a gathering of 10 or more people. If you are, we are kindly asking you to reschedule your appointment during the week after the holiday to the following week (i.e., reschedule your appointment between 11/30 and 12/4 to after 12/7). We are doing this as research shows that COVID spread is primarily happening now in household clusters. We want to keep all of our patients and staff as safe as possible, while still being able to provide you with the exceptional care you deserve.
Are you requiring patients to wear a mask?
Yes, Governor Baker’s executive order went into effect May 6th requiring masks to be worn outside of the home. This is for the protection of you, your fellow patients, and our team.
Please note as of October 12, 2020 masks with valves, gaiters, or bandanas will no longer be acceptable face coverings. We will provide you with a mask if you do not have an acceptable one.
The CDC has upgraded its recommendations on acceptable face coverings, which you can find here. As such, MA Dept. of Public Health requires all health care facilities to follow PPE guidance according to the most updated CDC guidelines. As a health care facility, it is our primary responsibility to keep those we care for safe. The change in acceptable face coverings aligns with our primary responsibility.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is a form of Physical Therapy service that is provided to you in your home via video live and one to one with a Physical Therapist via a video conferencing technology platform such as Zoom rather than receiving treatment in the clinic. Please contact our clinic to determine availability of telehealth services.
The Telehealth visit is scheduled just like a regular visit. A few minutes before your scheduled time you receive an email with a link to a Zoom video conference. At the time of your appointment, you click on that link from a phone or computer and you will be connected. On your first call, Zoom will automatically download onto your computer if you do not already have it installed. If you choose to use your cell phone, first download the app prior to your first call. Read more about how telehealth works here:https://orthopaedicsplus.com/2020/03/24/orthopaedics-plus-brings-you-telehealth-pt/
Does my Insurance cover Telehealth?
As of 3/16/20 and continuing until Commonwealth of MA lifts its state of emergency declaration or rescinds the executive order, all payers in the state - commercial insurers and self-insured plans, "are required to allow all in-network providers to deliver appropriate, medically necessary covered services to members via telehealth."
All major payers are waiving copays and coinsurances for telehealth visits .
Can I bring someone with me to my appointment (spouse, child, etc.)?
In order to limit the number of people in the clinic and the waiting room, only those who require assistance for check-in are allowed to have one person accompany them solely for that purpose. Otherwise, we will kindly ask those accompanying you to wait outside the facility.
The only exceptions will be for translators.
Has anyone in your office had exposure to COVID19? If so, what are you doing?
No employees or patients have had recent exposures. Anyone who has had a possible exposure was identified prior to entering our facilities and has completed 14-day self-quarantine.
We have a strict internal policy that has been adapted from the state DPH and CDC guidelines where staff must report potential exposures immediately, take their temps each day before reporting to work, and report any symptoms associated with the coronavirus. If they report possible exposure, we follow the recommendations of the CDC and keep the employee out of work for 14 days.
Is your cancellation policy different?
No. We do not charge a late cancel fee for those who cancel due to sudden onset of illness. We still require you give us 24 hours’ notice of a cancelled appointment for all other instances.
When should I arrive for my appointments?
Please do not arrive more than 5 minutes early. If you come into the clinic more than 5 min prior to your appointment time, we will ask that you return to your car or enjoy some fresh air outside of the clinic until your treatment time to reduce the number of people in the waiting room.
What if I need to speak to the therapist about my child’s/parent’s/family members treatment?
Please have the patient tell the therapist at the start of the treatment that you would like to speak to the therapist. Once the treatment is over, they can come talk to you outside of the clinic to ensure proper social distancing.
If you are accepting new patients now, why I can’t schedule an appointment?
We have limited our capacity in order to maintain proper social distancing to ensure the safety of all our patients and our team. This may restrict the number of patients we can accept into our clinic. If we are nearing full clinic capacity, priority access will be given to patients based on severity and urgency of their condition. If a patient is unable to be seen in the clinic and therapists are available, we will be offering telehealth appointments.
Unfortunately, due to COVID19 I cannot afford my copays, is there anything you can do?
We are contractually obligated to collect your copay, so it is illegal for clinics to not collect co-pays. We do understand that many are experiencing financial hardships. Accordingly, we can work out a payment plan if there is a hardship.
What cleaning agents do you use in your clinics?
- Simple Green Clean Finish
- Simple green in on the CDC approved list of cleaners effective against killing COVID19
- Force of nature cleaner info
- Force of nature is a natural based cleaner made of a mixture of water, vinegar, and salt. It is on the CDC approved list of cleaners effective against killing COVID19. Given that it is natural, it is easier on our/your skin as well as the equipment.
Will telehealth still be available?
Why are you asking me these questions about COVID19 each time I enter the facility?
This is an update policy we have adopted in line with best established practices in order to ensure the safety of you, us, and the community.
Why do I have to wear a mask?
Governor Baker passed an executive order that went into effect May 6th requiring everyone to wear a mask when in public. The only exception to this order is if you are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons and are exempt by DPH. This is for your safety and the safety of everyone around you. While we have strict protocols in place to maintain social distancing, at some points during treatment it may not be possible (i.e. if your therapist needs to provide manual therapy), which further necessitates the use of masks.
What if I refuse to wear a mask?
- If you choose not to wear one, you will not be allowed to enter our facility in accordance with our need to comply with the state’s executive order and follow best practices to protect the safety of our patients and staff.
My pain isn’t that bad, I’m not sure if I need to come in?
Pain is not the only indicator of urgency or importance of treatment. Many urgent and important cases involve little or no pain, yet require immediate treatment.
We understand the tendency to minimize less urgent things like pains and limitations in your function in light of a global pandemic. However, just because it may not be urgent, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. As health care professionals, it’s our obligation to advocate for you and optimize your health. Proper movement is vital to all body systems, from your mind, your heart, your muscles, and your immune system too. We want you to know that when you lower the priority of addressing your function, it will not make you more safe, healthy, and strong. It is our job to make sure you know that you can address your important aches and function issues while at the same time being safe and respecting the severity of the pandemic. We have and will continue to go through extreme measures to assure our clinics are safe for you and others. Please refer to the measures listed above to see exactly how. It is important to us to keep you both safe and functioning well so that you are as healthy as possible.