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COVID 19 Update – May 1, 2020
I continue to follow ASRM guidelines and state and local authority directives.
ASRM update # 3 (April 24, 2020 through May 11, 2020) https://www.asrm.org/news-and-publications/covid-19/statements/patient-management-and-clinical-recommendations-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/
Infertility is a disease, not an elective procedure, and delay of treatment can have serious medical and mental health consequences. My IVF center stopped ALL new treatments, diagnostic testing, and IVF cycles from March 20 through April 30th. I did no IVF egg retrieval or embryo transfer during that time period, in an abundance of concern for our patient’s, and our staff’s safety. I started doing telehealth office visits (new patient and established patient consultations in April and will continue to do so.
COVID 19 will be with us for some time and we can not delay treatments indefinitely. I have decided to reopen the IVF center and Tinley Park office starting May 1, 2020. The Munster office remains closed, with a planned opening on May 15th. I am resuming fertility treatments starting May 2 with a number of modifications, designed for patient and staff safety as well as compliance with medical society and state and local authorities guidelines. IVF procedures are done within the Tinley Park office. I do most HSGs and outpatient surgeries (laparoscopy, operative hysteroscopy) at the Tinley Woods Surgery Center, which plans to reopen on May 11, 2020.
- I ask all patients to call the office (708-532-7017) or text (via the OhMD app) when you arrive in the parking lot, before exiting your car. Please remain in your call until you are contacted and instructed to enter the office.
- Upon entry into the offices of Seth Levrant MD dba Partners in Reproductive Health all staff members and patients are screened for COVID 19 by aid of our COVID 19 Questionnaire (respiratory symptoms and travel) and a temperature check. This was implemented March 23, 2020.
- All patients entering the offices are REQUIRED to wear a face mask or covering. Any one without a facemask will be asked to leave. Unfortunately we can not provide face masks or PPE to patients or other visitors.
- Only patients are currently allowed to enter the office. Any accompanying person should remain in the car, unless given permission by our office to enter.
- Any person who presents symptoms of COVID 19 (an elevated temperature above 100.4 F and or respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath) will be asked to leave. Any such individual (patient or staff member) is instructed to seek follow up care with their primary care physician or COVID 19 testing location or urgent aid center. SARS-CoV-2 testing, whether for viral RNA or serology for antibodies, is not a service provided in this clinic.
- Any person with recent travel outside of the country who has not self isolated for 14 days (and is not symptom free) will be asked to leave the office and reschedule.
- The ability of patients or staff to return to work or start/resume treatment within our offices are determined by CDC and state or local authorities guidelines and subject to change as more information is available.
- All persons within the office, staff or patient, should follow social distancing guidelines at all times unless it is not possible due to medical treatment or procedure (e.g. blood draw, ultrasound, IVF procedure).
- We have removed all but four chairs from our reception room so all chairs are 6 feet from each other, doorways, and the reception desk.
- We have touchless payment options available to handle copays and other payments.
- After checking in with our front desk and handling any payments all patients are to WASH their hands, before sitting down or moving to an exam room. By washing hands and wearing a facemask or covering, our goal is minimise contamination and transmission of COVID 19 from any touched surfaces within our office. This is a complement to our enhanced disinfection practices.
- We ask for your cooperation with your movement within the office and please wait for directions from staff. This is to ensure your safety, the staff’s safety, and safety of all other patients.
- While we are resuming treatment with modifications to minimize risks as best we can, this is not intended to imply there is no risk of contracting COVID 19 disease traveling to or within our offices, or that there are no risks associated with COVID 19 disease and fertility treatments, pregnancy, or your or your future child’s well being.
- Office consultations will continue by telehealth (video and audio) for the time being. No in office, office visits will be scheduled in May.
These are trying and difficult times for all of us. It is hard to imagine of anyone who has not been affected by COVID 19 in one way or another. Stay safe, stay healthy, be smart about this disease, but don’t forget to live your life.
Best wishes to all.
COVID 19 Update – April 8, 2020
ASRM updated their recommendations on March 30, same restrictions in place until April 13. Most other medical societies including the American College of Surgeons, and all the Hospitals I am affiliated with have issued similar guidance. Illinois stay at home order is currently in effect until April 30th and the Indiana stay at home order is currently in effect until April 20th.
Infertility is a disease, fertility treatments are definitely not elective, but can be considered none urgent in the sense that a 1 or 2 month delay rarely causes physical harm. Emotional distress is a different story, we are all suffering, but for the safety of all patients, my staff, and for our community, I continue to abide by the Fertility Society guidelines, and believe it is the right thing to do. However, this infection will continue to circulate in our community, and at some point we all have get on with our lives, and our fertility treatments. I expect that when we do resume fertility treatments, hopefully in May, screening of patients and staff for symptoms and hopefully with screening tests for active viral infection and or antibody titers will become a part of the process. Patients will still run a risk of cycle cancellation if they become infected after starting treatment and quarantine or treatment is necessary. Our current COVID 19 world is rapidly changing, so check the news, check here for updates, and try to stay calm and sane. Stay safe, stay healthy.
COVID 19 Update – 3/26/2020
COVID 19 is a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2, that has spread quickly owing to its rapid community transmission, high virulence and sustained surface viability. Many infected and contagious individuals may only have mild symptoms, including fever, or, more rarely, be asymptomatic. Many patients may be infectious 1-2 days prior to the onset of symptoms which is why social distancing and stay home orders have become necessary to slow the rapid spread of this infection across our community and the globe.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) published Patient Management and Clinical Recommendations During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on March 17, 2020 that will be revisited no later than March 30.
The Key recommendations are:
- Suspend initiation of new treatment cycles (clomid, letrozole, IUI, IVF, and frozen embryo cycles)
- Strongly consider cancellation of all embryo transfers fresh or frozen.
- Continue to care for patients who are currently “in-cycle” or who require urgent stimulation or cryopreservation
- Suspend elective surgeries and non-urgent diagnostic procedures.
- Minimize in-person interactions and increase utilization of telehealth.
At Partners in Reproductive Health, Seth Levrant MD believes in socially responsible medicine, and has chosen to follow these ASRM guidelines. We started to implement these guidelines on March 18, 2020. We have suspended the start of new treatments, elective surgeries, and non-urgent procedures for the foreseeable future. We have cancelled all embryo transfers until May at the earliest. With the ever changing situation, and increasing restrictions seen in other countries, we do not wish to jeopardize our patient’s health, or continue treatments we may not be allowed to finish.
We are now using telehealth, using Google G Suite Hangouts and Doxy.me, both of which are HIPAA compliant. My office will make every effort to confirm insurance eligibility prior to each telehealth visit. Our goal is to provide new patient and existing patient consultations, formulating treatment plans that will be implemented as soon as it is safe. We are not seeing patients in the office with rare exceptions (first OB ultrasound, urgent/emergent issues). Once it is considered safe to resume fertility care, we are prepared to start immediately.
We are still open, you can speak with a live person if you call. If the phone isn’t answered, leave a message or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org Like so many places, we have reduced staffing, We started screening (not testing) all patients and staff for COVID 19, and checking everyone’s temperature, last week, and will continue to check all who enter our facility. Any patient or staff member with signs or symptoms of COVID 19, or known exposure is asked to self isolate. As a reproductive medicine practice we are not involved in diagnosing or treating COVID 19, so if you are ill or have been in contact with a COVID 19 infected person, you should contact your primary care physician.
We are practicing social distancing within the office, limiting the number of visitors in the office, and sanitizing/disinfecting after each visit. Staff are wearing surgical masks for your protection, but we can not provide masks to patients or visitors.
Our hearts go out to all those infected with COVID 19 and wish everyone a speedy and full recovery.