For Internal Use Only
COVID-19 Update and Resources
Email from Jessica Pendola, Chief Compliance Officer
October 23, 2020
Water’s Edge Family,
Our providers, staff and patients remain our top priority as we continue to manage the COVID-19 pandemic as a Practice. Consequently, we want to continue to remind everyone to adhere to the safety guidelines established. The CDC released updated guidance this week regarding what is considered a COVID-19 close contact. Previously, the guidance indicated that a close contact exposure was defined as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for a consistent 15 minutes or more. The updated definition is now defined as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for a combined 15 minutes within a 24 hour period. As we consider possible close contact exposure risk scenarios such as break rooms while eating lunch or parking lot conversations with fellow staff members/visitors, it is important to be vigilant in applying our safety guidelines in all of these situations no matter how brief the encounter when we cannot socially distance appropriately. Please wear masks fully covering your mouth and nose at all times unless eating or drinking. When eating and drinking or removal of mask for any purpose, please ensure that you are socially distancing from others.
Many have recently coined the term ‘COVID fatigue’ to describe how many of us may feel as this public health emergency persists much longer than many of us could have expected. I want to encourage everyone to not let down your guard as we will continue to work together to ensure the health and safety of everyone at WED.
Wish you and your family health and safety during this challenging time.
All the best,
Email from Ted Schiff, MD and Jessica Pendola, Chief Compliance Officer
July 23, 2020
Water’s Edge Team,
We continue to monitor all guidance provided by the CDC and local health departments in an effort to apply all necessary precautions for our patients, providers and staff. The CDC has updated their recommendations for ending isolation. I have attached a link to the guidance from the CDC and provided the summary of information from the CDC below.
Accumulating evidence supports ending isolation and precautions for persons with COVID-19 using a symptom-based strategy. Specifically, researchers have reported that people with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after their symptoms began, and those with more severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised remain infectious no longer than 20 days after their symptoms began. Therefore, CDC has updated the recommendations for discontinuing home isolation as follows:
Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
- At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset and
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms have improved.
*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts.
Persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who never develop COVID-19 symptoms may discontinue isolation and other precautions 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
Should you have any questions regarding these guidelines, please let us know.
Email from Ted Schiff, MD, Larry Kraska, CEO and Jessica Pendola, Chief Compliance Officer
July 9, 2020
Water’s Edge Team,
We continue to experience an unprecedented time in our history as we work together to address the impacts of COVID-19. Your response to this crisis has been incredible, as evidenced by the hard work and dedication displayed by our physicians, PAs, NPs and staff over the past several months. Everyone’s efforts and support are deeply appreciated. As the pandemic continues to evolve and the impacts are being felt longer than many of us could have expected, we encourage you to find time to focus on you and your family’s well-being during this time.
We are continually monitoring the situation as we strive to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients, providers and staff while providing our patients high quality care. We are optimistic as patients return to the office but we will always make safety our primary focus. We have and will continue to strictly follow all available CDC and health department guidelines. It is imperative that everyone adheres to the safety guidelines released to include wearing masks appropriately at all times in the office, cleaning between every patient, not congregating in lunch and break room spaces, social distancing when possible, frequently wiping down all high-touch surfaces and not reporting to work if you are experiencing any COVID symptoms. If you have any questions or concerns involving a possible exposure, please continue to reach out to Jessica Pendola, CCO and Interim HR Director.
As this is a situation that none of us have experienced in our lifetime, our focus will remain on providing the highest quality patient care and a safe environment for our staff and patients. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can improve in these areas, please feel free to email us directly:
Ted Schiff, M.D.
Founder and Chief Medical Officer
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Compliance Officer and Interim HR Director
Email from Ted Schiff, MD and Larry Kraska, CEO
March 17, 2020
We continue to monitor developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact to our Practice. On the heels of Governor DeSantis announcing Florida’s reopening plans last night, we have reviewed the associated Executive Order 20-112 and identified that elective procedures and clinical services previously defined as non-essential that were prohibited under the previous Order may resume across Florida effective May 4, 2020.
We will continue to adhere to CDC guidance including social distancing, frequent sanitation of high touch areas, use of PPE, increased hand hygiene, and screening for illness as the safety of our providers, staff and patients is our main priority. Additional safety measures will be communicated in the coming days as we prepare for more patients as a result of some visits being delayed under the previous Executive Order.
Wishing each of you and your family health and safety.
Email from Ted Schiff, MD and Larry Kraska, CEO
April 23, 2020
We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and the appropriate response as a Practice. As Florida and other states begin to identify the path to reopening specific areas of business, we are keeping a close ear to the ground and will communicate as appropriate to everyone the plan for Water’s Edge to safely expand services beyond emergent care. As we have continued to commit over the course of this crisis, our main priority will continue to be the safety of our providers, staff and patients. Once any announcements are made by the Governor, we will communicate how Water’s Edge plans to respond accordingly.
One of the positive developments that has emerged through the COVID response at Water’s Edge has been the establishment of our Telehealth Program. We formed the Telehealth Task Force on March 20th and by March 24th we initiated the first telehealth live patient visit in our beta program. In less than one month since the first telehealth patient encounter, 54 providers have cared for patients in a telehealth environment. We completed 100 telehealth visits by April 17th and hit the 500th telehealth visit milestone on April 16th. We are impressed by the incredible collaborative spirit displayed across the Practice allowing for the successful launch of this program in record time.
As always, we wish you and your family health and safety.
Email from Ted Schiff, MD and Larry Kraska, CEO
March 17, 2020
The COVID-19 situation is weighing heavy on the minds of all of us and we wanted to provide some additional information as well as acknowledge the outstanding team work displayed across the Practice during these unprecedented times. Our top priority continues to be ensuring the health and safety of each other while continuing to provide care to our patients. We are definitely navigating in uncharted waters but remain focused on monitoring the situation and making decisions as quickly as possible based on new guidance as it becomes available. Currently, all offices are open and operating at normal business hours. Should we be required to make any changes to operations, we will communicate this to each of you as quickly as possible.
The Leadership Team continues to meet daily and the physician leadership, represented by the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), met yesterday evening as we evaluate any necessary revisions to practices and the need for introduction of any new efforts to adhere with the fluid guidance provided by local, state and federal officials. Following the guidance of the MAC, we will be rolling out some new infection control measures and taking steps to tighten up some existing practices. Importantly, we will be increasing our communications to patients and staff regarding our higher-risk patients. As the Coronavirus continues to spread, we want to protect and safeguard our most vulnerable patients – patients 65 years of age and older and people with compromised immune systems or serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. We plan to encourage these patients to consider rescheduling any non-urgent visits to a later time.
In response to common questions that we have fielded over the last few days, please see the developed FAQs below. Please continue to send your specific COVID-19 questions to the [email protected] email.
How can I protect myself from the virus?
- Continue to follow the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
- Practice social distancing.
- Refrain from physical contact as much as possible including no handshaking. Elbow bumps and air high-fives have been recommended. Nice time to learn new ways to interact, right?
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use of hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Clean high-touch surfaces frequently. Don’t forget the cell phone!
- Limit touching your face throughout the day.
What are the new guidelines from the Federal government in terms of social distancing and what does this mean for me?
- The most recent guidance advises that groups should not congregate in groups of 10 or more people.
- We understand that in the office we may be more than 10 people - but we are a healthcare / medical office. We are trying to limit group congregation (e.g. waiting room) but as healthcare workers, we are committed to treating our patients.
- However, we recommend that you follow these guidelines in your personal life - not getting together in large groups to assist with efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
What are some additional social distancing measures being taken at the Practice?
- We are asking patients to limit guests accompanying them to their appointment to only guests needed to assist them during the visit or for transportation needs.
- We are also not permitting any pharmaceutical rep visits to include discontinuation of lunches and meetings in the offices.
- We kindly ask that you refrain from office celebrations (i.e., birthday gatherings).
- Waiting room space will be monitored and alternative patient wait options will be provided should the waiting room become crowded.
Under what circumstances should I consider avoiding the office?
- If you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath or fever), please stay home and do not come to work.
- If you are living with or in contact with someone who has the virus or may have the virus, please make your supervisor aware as we will not want you to come in and we will manage your individual situation separately.
- If you have traveled outside the US in the last 14 days, please make us aware so we can manage your staffing accordingly.
What happens if we are forced to close an office? What does this mean for my job and pay?
- These are unprecedented times with many unknowns at this time, but we are committed to monitoring the situation and responding timely to any and all impacted team members should any office closures be required.
- We recognize the stress and worry that many are experiencing surrounding the potential/current individual and family disruptions associated with potential office closures. Rest assured, we are taking this seriously and will evaluate all options available to support our team during this situation.
Email from Ted Schiff, MD
March 16, 2020
The health and safety of our patients and team are the top priority as we closely monitor the evolving situation with the COVID-19 Coronavirus. We recognize that there are still many unknowns surrounding this virus and we continue to field questions from providers and staff. In response, we are meeting daily to evaluate needs but at this time all offices are open for normal operations. In addition to the regular Leadership Team meetings evaluating local, state and federal guidance, physician leadership represented by the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) will convene this evening to evaluate any additional planning measures that we should be taking moving forward. We don't anticipate any immediate changes to operations, but we will continue to focus on everyone’s health and safety. We have increased our disinfection efforts in the offices and are working on a solution to screen patients for illness prior to them entering the office. Please continue to practice good hand hygiene before and after all patients and utilize appropriate PPE as needed for any suspected illness in patients.
As a reminder, we have established the internal webpage, www.wederm.com/staff/updates to provide real-time updates and resources to the team. Please monitor this site on a regular basis for the most recent update. Additionally, the [email protected] email is available to share any questions or concerns regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Email from Larry Kraska, CEO
March 13, 2020
The health and safety of our patients and team are the top priority as we closely monitor the evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus. In response, I wanted to let you know that the Leadership Team is meeting daily to discuss updates and guidance provided by the Florida Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) so that we can appropriately respond and take any necessary action to ensure the safety and well-being of one another. Additionally, members of the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) are regularly discussing any clinically related precautions we should be taking to protect the safety and health of one another.
Effective immediately, we have set up an internal webpage to provide real-time updates and resources to the team. You can access this page with the link below. The link will include any recent communication, update, and resources pertaining to the virus. Please monitor this site on a regular basis for the most recent update.
Additionally, we want to hear from you so that we can address your questions or concerns. I have asked Jessica Pendola, CCO, to be the point person to respond to questions and aggregate feedback so that the Leadership Team can continue to respond to the team with meaningful updates. To most effectively reach Jessica, we have established the [email protected] email to facilitate this communication.
As reminder, please see the graphic below for tips to maintain a healthy work environment. Please stay safe and don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
All the best,
Email from Ted Schiff, MD
March 9, 2020
As a follow-up to my email from last week, I wanted to provide another update on our plans regarding COVID-19. We are continuing to closely monitor the situation and make plans for our practice based on what is best for our patients and team members. As of today, we plan to continue with normal office hours and operations. As this situation continues to evolve, we will closely monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state and local health officials. We will continue to rely on their recommendations and expertise to inform our decisions and we will keep you updated on any changes.
As a reminder from last week, here are general recommendations to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus (including COVID-19):
- Wash hands, with soap and water, frequently and for a duration of at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer (dispensers are available in our office locations) with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not readily available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects you frequently touch (e.g. door knobs, cell phones, laptops, keyboards, earbuds, etc.).
- Avoid close contact with people exhibiting symptoms (fever, cough, etc.).
- If you have a fever greater than 100.0 degrees, remain at home until fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medication) for 24 hours.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and/or sneezing and dispose of tissues in trash receptacles. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- If you have a fever or are experiencing flu symptoms, we ask that you follow our policy and stay home.
We will communicate additional information as it becomes available and thank you for your cooperation and support.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact either myself, Larry Kraska or Pat Squire.
- CDC Updates and Resources related to COVID-19
- FAQs regarding COVID-19 Answered by the CDC
- World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Updates & Resource
- Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Information Page