Our Blog

Posts for tag: COVID-19

By contactus@amherstpeds.com
May 18, 2020
Category: Uncategorized

Want to be part of the COVID-19 solution? Just answer the call.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, along with Partners In Health, has created the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC). This program focuses on reaching out to the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to help others who have been potentially exposed to the virus. CTC gets their information about positive COVID-19 patients from data that all hospitals are required to report to the state. However, one of the biggest obstacles that CTC has right now is getting people to respond to their calls. Here is where you can help. Please share with your friends and families that if they get a call or text from “MA COVID team” with either an 833 or 857 area code, that they should answer their phone. The information provided on these calls can help flatten and reduce the curve in Massachusetts.

For more information about Massachusetts’ contact tracing initiative, see https://www.mass.gov/info-details/learn-about-the-community-tracing-collaborative

 

 

By contactus@amherstpeds.com
May 13, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: coronavirus   COVID-19   pandemic  

Amherst Pediatrics

May 13, 2020

 

It is truly hard to believe that two months have past since we added this COVID-19 response page to our web site. The world looks very different today than it did way back then, and fortunately some things have remained the same. Amherst Pediatrics continues to work hard adapting to the ever changing landscape with the goal of providing the best care possible to our wonderful families and community. We are proud of our amazing staff, which has learned to adjust to these necessary changes and has developed innovative ways to keep our patients safe while adapting and streamlining processes to optimize care. And we are so very grateful to you, our amazing familes, who have also adapted to these changes and have been so understanding of our "growing pains" in the process.

 

Throughout the course of the pandemic, Amherst Pediatrics has kept in close contact with the Massachusetts DPH as well as our local hospitals and other public health experts to remain at the cutting edge of the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations. As a member of the Boston Children's Hospital network, we are also in constant contact with some of the world's leading experts on pediatric infectious disease and the COVID-19 pandemic. While the news bombards us with a dizzying amount of information that seems to change hourly, we assure you that the care you receive at Amherst Pediatrics will always be of the highest quality and based on the most current, science-based evidence.

 

Keeping you safe in our office

As discussed below, most of our visits are being conducted virtually. However, while we are making every effort to keep you home, there may be some occasions for which an in-office visit is most approprate. Please be assured that Amherst Pediatrics takes your safety extremely seriously, and we have put work-flows in place to make sure your in-office visit is as safe and stress-free as possible.

  • Physical distancing: Floor markers have been placed throughout our office reminding people to keep a safe distance from others.
  • Mandatory mask policy: Anyone under 2 years of age entering our office is required to wear an appropriate face covering over their mouth and nose at all times. There are no exceptions to this policy. If for some reason you do not have an appropriate face covering, please call our front desk upon arrival and a staff member will meet you at your vehicle to provide you with one.
  • Provider use of PPE: Our providers always wear N-95 masks, eye protection, and gloves when interacting with patients. Providers come to work wearing a clean set of hospital scrubs or office-only clothing.
  • Meticulous cleaning: Our office is cleaned meticuloulsy on an ongoing basis. All exam rooms, clinical-use surfaces, and equipment are disinfected after each and every use.
  • Managed appointment times: Appointments are scheduled so that well-vists and illness-related vists occur during different times of the day.
  • Strict precautions for respiratory and COVID-19 patients: Patients we believe may have COVID-19 are typically directed to appropriate outside facilities for testing and/or evaluation. Any patients we see with respiratory illness or who are thought to possibly have COVID-19 are seen outside of our office in a rear parking lot. For these encounters, our providers take all appropriate precautions, including the use of full PPE.

 

In-Office Well Care Visits

Because many children have understandably been kept home over the past couple of months, many have fallen behind on receiving vitally important immunizations. Becasue of this, and based on current recommednations, we are requesting that all children and adolescents who are due for well care visits and are in need of immunizations be scheduled for in-office well-care visits. If you or your child is due for a check-up and is need of immunizations, and you have not already been contacted by our office, please schedule an appointment now through the MyChart - Patient Portal.

 

In-Office Urgent Care Visits

While we are making every effort to keep you home, there may be some occasions for which an in-office visit is best. If you think you or your child may need to be seen in our office, or are unsure if an in-office or virtual evaluation is more appropriate, please send us a message with your concern through the MyChart - Patient Portal so we can help determine the best way for us to help you.

 

Virtual Visits

Amherst Pediatrics continues to make every effort possible to keep you safe at home during this unprecedented time. To that end, we have successfully implemented telemedicine or Virtual Visits for many types of appointments. These visits may be scheduled through the MyChart - Patient PortalPlease see the Virtual Visit page for more information about scheduling and participating in a Virtual Visit.

 

  • Virtual Well Care: We are successfully conducting modified check-ups through our integrated Zoom video interface. These well-care visits are being scheduled for patients of any age who are not due for immunizations and who do not have another specific need to be seen in-person in our office.
  • Virtual Urgent Care: Many illnesses or other concerns can be managed through Virtual Visits rather than through typical in-office visits. If you are unsure whether your particular concern is suitable for a Virtual Visit, please send us a message through the MyChart - Patient Portal and we will determine which type of visit is most appropriate for your particular concern.
  • Virtual Follow-up Care: Many of our patients require regular, routine follow-up care to manage chronic issues such as asthma, diabetes, eczema, acne, and ADHD. These visits are exprementy important to make sure your condition is being managed appropriately and to reassess any medications you may be taking. If you or your child is due for a routine follow-up visit, please schedule one now through MyChart. The typical recommended timeline for these follow-ups varies, so please check with us if you are unsure when you need to be seen back.
  • Virtual Behavioral Health Care: Regular follow-up care for behavioral health issues is extremely important. If you are in need of a follow-up visit, please schedule one now. Again, if you are uncertain whether you are due for a follow-up, please send us a message through the MyChart - Patient Portal and we will be happy to assist you.
By contactus@amherstpeds.com
March 19, 2020
Tags: coronavirus   COVID-19   pandemic  

The single most important way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is through social distancing. This is true whether you are ill or well. For this reason, Amherst Pediatrics is now scheduling Virtual Visits to allow you to stay home when you are sick, while still being "seen" by one of our providers. Before you can be seen in a Virtual Visit, there are a few important things you need to do. Please click on the image below to learn more about preparing for and scheduing your Virtual Visit.

By contactus@amherstpeds.com
March 11, 2020
Category: Children's Health
Tags: coronavirus   COVID-19   pandemic  

How Amherst Pediatrics is responding

Amherst Pediatrics is taking the new coronavirus threat seriously. We are working closely with local health officials and hospitals to put in place mechanisms to keep our community as safe as possible.

Because the most effective approach to containing the spread of this virus is through aggressive personal hygiene and isolation, we ask that you not to come to our office without first calling. We are screening calls for risk factors and will make recommendations based on those responses.

As much as we can, we would also like to put the issue into appropriate perspective for our Amherst Pediatrics community.

What is COVID-19
Coronaviruses are not new, but COVID-19 is. It is a virus that likely began in China as an animal virus, and then became suddenly capable of infecting humans. Because of how readily viruses can spread from person to person, and because no one has ever been exposed to this virus and thus has any immunity to it, we are all susceptible. However, as we learn more about this virus and how it spreads and infects people, we are finding that there are some reassuring aspects to this global pandemic.

COVID-19 in children
COVID-19 impacts older individuals (particularly those over 70 years of age) and those with underlying heath conditions (such as chronic lung dissease like as COPD, heart disease, and immunodeficiency) much more than it does younger, healthier populations. It is relatively uncommon in children, and infected children appear to have much less severe infection overall, with significantly less risk of complications. Nevertheless, any infected person can spread the disease to several others, potentially infecting people who are at higher risk of severe illness and complications.

How contagious is COVID-19?
This virus appears to be slightly more contagious than influenza, and is likely spread via both airborne droplet as well as hand-to-mouth behavior. For this reason, and because we can all unknowingly spread infection to others, it is extremely important to follow good hand-washing practices (see below).

How serious is COVID-19?
This is a serious pandemic, and infection with this virus can produce severe illness in some people. As mentioned above, however, most people are at low risk for serious illness. As we learn more about the prevalence of the disease and how many mild and asymptomatic cases there are, the case fatality rate will likely become lower than it now appears to be.

What to do if you or your child is ill
Please call us right away if you or your child has fever and a cough or difficulty breathing, or if you have known exposure to someone with COVID-19 infection.

We cannot stress enough the importance of frequent hand-washing, and staying away from others as much as possible when you are sick yourself - and please remember to get an annual flu vaccine. Your child is hearing about this virus from many sources, some of which may not be reliable.

This is a confusing and alarming time for everone, and children in particualar are likely to have concerns that need to be addressed. The following are good resourcees for talking to your children about the new coronavirus:

Here are some useful places to get additional information about COVID-19, and how you can keep your family and community as safe as possible:



Office Hours
Monday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Tuesday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Wednesday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Thursday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Friday:8:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Saturday:12:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Sunday:12:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Contact Us

Our Address
31 Hall Dr.
Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: (413) 253-3773
Fax: (413) 256-0215
Email: mail@amherstpeds.com

 

Please note temporary office hours
during the COVID-19 pandemic

New Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 AM - 4:45 PM.
We are temporarily suspending our extended office hours (5:00 - 7:00 PM).

We are temporarily suspending our weekend office hours.
After hours, we will continue to be available as usual by phone for urgent matters and can schedule you for a virtual visit if indicated by the circumstances (see below). 


Due to the elevated level of illness in our communities, please remain at home if you or your child is ill. If you have concerns about how your child is feeling, please contact us by sending a message through this patient portal. The clinicians will be able to respond to you during our regular hours. Calling the office may present a further delay in response times.

The COVID-19 situation is ever unfolding. We are dedicated to the safety of our patients and staff. Please refer to our website for updates on this changing situation.



* Please note: It is our policy that we do not approve referral requests for visits to outside urgent care centers during times that our office is open.

Holidays
We are open for urgent visits only on most Holidays. Our office is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.