As COVID-19 becomes part of the new normal in health care and within our health network, I want to thank all of our wonderful staff for their dedication and hard work throughout this unprecedented time. To date, we have discharged over 300 COVID-19 patients to their homes, which is a testament to our staff’s expert and heartfelt care and our patients’ courageous strength. However, work still remains in the form of collectively and cautiously providing care for all patients in a COVID-19 world. As we begin to welcome back patients for in-person appointments, when virtual care is not possible, the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network remains steadfast in providing you with safe, exceptional care, where and when you need it.
Virtual visits remain a viable and preferred option. Available for both scheduled appointments and on-demand care, virtual visits are a safe and convenient way to access a health care provider through a webcam or our mobile app. Scheduled virtual visits with a primary or specialty care provider are available during normal clinic hours, and on-demand video visits for minor health concerns are available seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. If you do have an in-person health care appointment, please know that our health network is taking every precaution to keep you safe. For the safety of our patients and staff, we have put the following measures in place throughout our entire health network:
- Universal Face Coverings – Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation, we are requiring that everyone at a Froedtert & MCW health network location wear a face covering at all times. Exceptions will be made for patients who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability. In these instances, we encourage social distancing whenever practical and virtual visits when possible.
Face coverings that are made at home or purchased elsewhere are allowed and encouraged. If you or someone you are with enters a location without a face covering, a staff member will provide you with a disposable mask that is to be worn throughout your entire visit, unless directed otherwise by your provider.
- Screening Protocols – Before your in-person appointment, you will be screened over the phone for COVID-19 symptoms. We will ask you if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms and if you’ve been in contact with anybody who has tested positive for COVID-19. You’ll again be screened when you arrive at your appointment. If you show any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 during the screens, a virtual visit may be recommended or other care options will be pursued as appropriate.
In addition, please know that our providers and staff are screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to reporting to work.
- Visitor Restrictions – If you have an appointment in one of our health centers or clinics, please come alone if you are able. Nonessential guests and visitors can add to virus risk in the clinical environment, while also being put in an area of higher risk themselves. Exceptions will be made if the patient is unable to physically attend their appointment without assistance or requires help to understand their care. Please note that these visitors will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to the appointment.
Inpatient visitors are not allowed at this time, as outlined in our visitor guidelines.
- Hand Hygiene – As hand sanitizer (with the proper amount of alcohol concentration) has been shown to deactivate the COVID-19 virus, clean hands can go a long way in slowing the spread of infection. We have placed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout our clinical areas and locations and ask that you please sanitize your hands upon arrival for your appointment.
- Social Distancing Measures – Social distancing has shown to decrease new cases of COVID-19 by 20%. To aid in these efforts, we have altered waiting room spaces and other public sitting areas within our facilities to help our patients maintain proper distance from one another. We will also do our very best to prevent you from waiting in waiting areas for long periods of time.
- Enhanced Cleaning Procedures – In an ongoing effort to keep every part of our facilities as clean and germ-free as possible, we have stepped up our already stringent commitment to disinfect every exam and procedure room between every patient visit. Public spaces, such as hallways, waiting rooms and bathrooms, likewise, are meticulously cleaned and sanitized regularly throughout the day and every evening by masked, environmental services staff.
We know that coming into a health care environment during this time can cause some apprehensiveness or anxiety. Please rest assured that our facilities and caregivers are practicing the above safety precautions to provide you with the safest possible experience during your in-person appointment.
That being said, we ask you to please work with us and comply with these measures. Continued teamwork between patients, caregivers and our overall community is a crucial step in the process of opening additional health care facilities while simultaneously limiting the spread of COVID-19.