Coronavirus (COVID-19)

(updated 04/01/20)

Dear Hirsch Pediatrics families,

Due to ongoing and rapidly changing recommendations from our national and local health department authorities, Hirsch Pediatrics will take the following steps to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and ensure the current and future safety of our patients, employees, and family members.

SICK VISITS:
1) All sick visits requests that require an appointment will be done as a same day telemedicine visit. Note: During the pandemic many insurances are waiving patient co-pays and deductibles for telemedicine sick visits. Please contact your insurance webpage for specific details.
2) Here are the three easy steps to complete your telemedicine visit from the comfort of your home:

STEP 1: Contact our office by phone or portal message if you would like to set up a telemedicine visit.
STEP 2: Please review the Hirsch Pediatrics telemedicine consent form before scheduling your appointment.
STEP 3: At the time of your appointment please enter the following website address: https://doxy.me/hirschpediatrics

3) Though at this time we are not scheduling any office in-person sick visits, fortunately in most cases Dr. Hirsch will be able to provide you advice through the patient portal on how to take care of your child at home without an appointment. As you have probably read in the news the vast majority of Coronavirus infections in children are mild or moderate illnesses similar to having a regular cold and thus can be easily managed at home.
4) If your child has trouble breathing or other concerning symptoms then we will refer you to the ER for appropriate testing and treatments.

CHECK-UPS:
1) We are currently scheduling  IN-OFFICE CHECK-UPS FOR NEWBORN THROUGH AGE 2 YEARS AND 4 YEARS OLDS. 
2) All other checkups including age 2.5 years, 3 years, and 5 – 18 years will be postponed or done through telemedicine (only allowed by few insurances at this time). If your check-up falls into these age ranges we will be contacting you before your child’s scheduled check-up to discuss your options in more detail.
3) Please notify us as soon as possible if any person coming to the check-up (parent or child) currently has any of the following so we can reschedule your appointment:
– cough or recent fever
– exposure to anyone at your home with a fever
– known direct exposure in the last 14 days to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19.
4) Visitors with the patient are limited to one parent.  The only exception when we can allow two parents is for newborn infants through age 2 months of age. We are happy to include other caregivers in the appointment through a phone or video call during the appointment. We will also check the temperature of all caregivers and patients when entering our office. We know this is stressful but thank you for your understanding and helping us to enforce this policy to keep your family and our employees safe!
5) In the event of a full stay-at-home quarantine directive these check-ups to administer vaccines and monitor the health of our youngest patients are considered essential and will continue.
6) To limit the patient traffic in our office, Hirsch Pediatrics hours during the COVID-19 pandemic will be changed:
Monday – Thursday: 8 AM – 4 PM (lunch break 12:30 – 2:00)
Friday: 8 AM – 1 PM
Note: If you have an urgent medical concern outside of these hours you can contact Dr. Hirsch directly at 301-580-4209. Also please review our after-hours website page for other helpful after-hours resources.

SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR PREGNANT MOMS AND OUR NEWBORNS:
Certainly nine months ago there was no way to predict you would have a baby at such a stressful time! However, please take comfort knowing that at Hirsch Pediatrics your safety and peace of mind is paramount so we are taking precautions and steps that go above and beyond the recommendations of the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics including:
1) All staff and providers with direct patient care contact will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) at every appointment including face masks, gloves, and gowns.
2) When you enter our office you will be escorted directly to your disinfected room. (Sorry our coffee machine is in hibernation!) As a small solo practice with reduced patient traffic and an open space office design, you will not be crowded anywhere and will have minimal exposure to anyone other than our staff. Furthermore, patients and their families enter our office directly from our building’s large open atrium without having to use public elevators or hallways.
3) All sick visits are now conducted by telemedicine rather than in person to ensure our office remains a safe environment for our newborns and infants who need important check-ups and vaccines.
4) We will continue to disinfect your exam room before your appointment and other common areas every hour.
5) Practice interviews will continue every other Wednesday but will be conducted by Zoom video conferencing rather than in-person.  Participants will receive a link from the office to join in.
6) All lactation consultant appointments will be conducted by individual telemedicine video appointments.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) TESTING:
1) Hirsch Pediatrics does not currently have access in our office to Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.
2) For pediatric COVID-19 testing, PM Pediatrics urgent care currently has drive thru testing available. Please see their website for additional information on how to schedule a test.

HIRSCH PEDIATRICS OFFICE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:
Hirsch Pediatrics takes this issue very seriously.
To ensure you and your child’s safety and limit any potential spread to the community we will take the following precautions:
1) All staff and providers with direct patient care contact will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) at every appointment including face masks, eye shields, gloves, and gowns.
2) Your exam room will be disinfected with a hospital grade anti-bacterial wipe before your appointment.
2) When patients are in the office the surfaces of our waiting room will be cleaned every hour with a hospital grade disinfectant wipe.
3) When you enter our office you will be escorted directly to your disinfected room. (Sorry our coffee machine is in hibernation!) As a small solo practice with reduced patient traffic and an open space office design, you will not be crowded anywhere and will have minimal exposure to anyone other than our staff wearing PPE. Furthermore, patients and their families enter our office directly from our building’s large open atrium without having to use public elevators or hallways.
4) We will continue to enforce precautions for sick visits and check-ups noted above.

ADDITIONAL HELPFUL PARENTING TIPS INCLUDING “LOVE (AND) ANXIETY IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS”  AND OTHER RESOURCES:
For direct and relatable COVID-19 parenting advice please visit the following website pages written by my colleagues at the Pediatric Care Center in Bethesda.
https://www.thepediatriccarecenter.com/coronavirus-tips-for-parents
https://www.thepediatriccarecenter.com/love-anxiety-coronavirus

I have also copied here links to the most up-to-date guidelines from the Maryland Department of Health, CDC, and an article on how to talk to your children about Coronavirus.

Maryland Department of Health excellent summary on current exposure risk in Maryland and extensive summary on prevention and management
How to Talk to Your Child about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
CDC link on Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in children
CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and treatment guidelines

AS ALWAYS THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING AS WE WORK THORUGH THIS UNIQUE SITUATION!

Sincerely,

Steven F. Hirsch, MD