As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the country, state, and local communities, our practice is closely monitoring the outbreak. We are strictly following the guidelines set forth by infectious disease and epidemiologist experts, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the Alabama Department of Public Health. The health and safety of our patients and staff has been, and will continue to be, our top priority. We are taking measures to reduce the spread of illness in our practice. If you or your family member are experiencing any respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat, YOU MUST CALL THE OFFICE PRIOR TO YOUR ARRIVAL. Other measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 include
- Frequent hand washing
- Hand sanitizers available to patient and visitors
- Frequently sanitizing surfaces touched by patients and staff, as well as all equipment and instruments used in our office
- Screening all of our patients prior to their visit via a phone call for fever and signs of respiratory infection
- Closely monitoring the health of our employees
- After checking in, patients can wait in their vehicle until they are evaluated
- In addition, we are launching a virtual care option for our patients. Please see the details below.
Virtual Care Option for Our Patients
Out of an abundance of caution, and in following the guidelines of ‘social distancing’ recommended by experts, McCool and Bhuta ENT will offer the option of telemedicine or video-conferencing for our patients. We have consulted with the American Academy of Otolaryngology coronavirus resource guide (entnet.org/content/coronavirus-disease-2019-resources) to develop this service for our patients.
Due to the limitations of virtual care/telemedicine, such as lack of a physical exam, this option is available for Established Patients Only with the following healthcare needs:
- Any patient with respiratory symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and drainage (arrangements for testing will be made as needed)
- Review of result, such as CT scans, biopsies, sleep studies, and allergy testing
Unfortunately, virtual care is not appropriate to evaluate ear pain, hearing loss and tinnitus, dizziness and vertigo, and neck masses. Please schedule an appointment for these conditions.
If you would like to schedule a virtual appointment, there are two options. One is the use of just the telephone, and the other is to use a secure platform for video-conferencing called doxy.me. Contact our office at 205-414-1368 to set up your choice of virtual care appointment. The fee for this service is $75. Unfortunately, for our specialty, it is not currently covered by insurers.
These are anxious and uncertain times for our country and community. We strongly recommend that you, our valued patients, do everything you can personally to ensure your health as well as the health of healthcare providers. This is the only way we will be able to continue to provide care for our patients. Please be safe.
Dr. McCool and Dr. Bhuta