Is it safe to have a well visit?
The physicians and staff of Bethesda Pediatrics hope that you and your family are staying healthy and safe during this unprecedented time of stress and uncertainty.
We are concerned that families may be hearing mixed messages about the appropriateness and/or need for routine office-based well care during the coronavirus pandemic. We certainly agree that every effort should be made to limit the opportunities for exposure during this time when social distancing has (appropriately) become the norm. We are trying our best to keep sick patients out of the office unless absolutely necessary, and we have implemented telemedicine services as another way to evaluate patients who need medical care. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics continues to stress the importance of continuation of well care visits for newborns, infants, children, and adolescents, especially those that are due for vaccinations. Routine preventive care is important in keeping children healthy!
We have followed the AAP's guidance in modifying the structure of our clinical operations regarding both office schedule and physical space. We are having only WELL appointments come to the office in the mornings, and only SICK patients in the afternoon, at least through the month of April. We are utilizing separate entrances and exam rooms for well vs. sick visits. Additionally, the Cabin John Mall building is closed for nonessential businesses, which helps in minimizing exposure. One of our staff members needs to even let you into the building! We ask that you help us by having only one parent or guardian accompany patients to their appointment, and that you reschedule if either patient or parent has ANY signs of acute illness (such as fever, congestion, cough) or potential for exposure to COVID-19.
We are prioritizing well visits for newborns and children through age 2 years, as well as older children and adolescents who are due for immunizations (typically ages 4 years, 11-13 years, and 16 years old). Well visits at many other ages can be deferred to a later time at your discretion. If you're not sure if you should keep your appointment or reschedule, just give us a call!
As we continuously work on restructuring our office to keep everyone safe and healthy, please be aware that we are making modifications to our office hours and physicians' schedules. As a reminder, we have suspended ALL WALK-IN VISITS and evening hours. Our phone lines now open at 8:00 am on weekdays for advice, and we are seeing patients from 8:50 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Our weekend hours remain unchanged with the office open from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm, by appointment only. We greatly appreciate your understanding and flexibility in scheduling or rescheduling your check up appointments since our need for staffing and office hours has significantly reduced.
If you had any questions or concerns that you were hoping to address at an upcoming check up appointment (such as nutrition, sleep, or behavior issues) we can schedule you for a telemedicine visit now!