March 13, 2020
As more is learned about coronavirus over the coming weeks, it is important to remain aware of tangible actions your practice can take now to prevent the spread of the virus and calmly respond to changing circumstances.
Here are some strong recommendations for you and your practice.
1. Use reliable sources of information. Be mindful of the information you consume through various news and social media outlets. Panic and hysteria can cause information to be circulated quickly, and some may not be accurate. We recommend referring to the following sources for the most reliable, up-to-date information:
2. Develop scripts for staff members. Consider creating a document containing answers to frequently asked questions that your staff members can refer to during phone calls or interactions with patients and other business partners. This will ensure consistent information is being given throughout your practice.
3. Review and reinforce infection control and prevention policies and procedures. Emergency office plans, infection control practices, and proper hand hygiene habits should be reiterated to your staff members through clear communication channels.
4. Check your inventory of personal protection equipment (PPE). Only use PPE when needed, because supply shortages are likely due to anticipated virus escalation.
5. Consider using telemedicine and phone consultations as an alternative to in-person care. The CDC suggests social distancing, which involves “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.” Providing remote care is a way to practice social distancing.
6. Plan for temporary staffing. In the event that members of your staff become ill or quarantined, consider taking advantage of temporary staffing agencies. Current employees could be cross trained to temporarily perform the tasks of those who are recovering.
7. Consider business interruption insurance coverage. TMLT policies do not cover business interruption due to epidemic outbreaks. Business interruption coverage is most frequently available as part of a general liability or property insurance policy. Check with your agent or insurance provider to see if this coverage is included in any of your business policies.
Please contact your underwriter if you have any other coverage questions.
This is a developing issue, and we encourage you to use the following resources to stay informed with the most up-to-date and reliable information:
- Texas Medical Association (TMA) COVID-19 Resource Center
- Texas Medical Board (TMB) COVID-19 page
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 resource page
- Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) COVID-19 webpage
- The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) COVID-19 projections
- Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
- TMLT Resource Hub - Coronavirus updates and resources