Office News & Updates
Covid-19 Update 4/23/21
To Our Families,
As you know, insurance companies having been reimbursing doctors for telehealth visits since the beginning of the pandemic. Over the past 14 months, some of them have rescinded this policy only to change their minds at a later time. This has made it difficult for medical providers to know what services are covered.
At the present time, United Health Care has agreed to pay for telehealth visits until July 19, 2021. Cigna’s policy is more complicated. According to our Cigna representative, whether they are currently covering telehealth visits depends on a patient’s specific policy. If you have Cigna insurance, you need to check their website or call the number on the back of your card to determine if they will pay for your telehealth visits. If Cigna still covers this service, we will bill them as we have been since the pandemic began. However, if they are not paying for telehealth care, we will bill you directly for the service. We are currently seeing all patients in the office (see below), so telehealth visits are now optional.
We’re aware that Covid-19 is still a problem in the United States, and we will continue to do everything we can to minimize exposure to the virus at our office.
Policies to Help Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus
- All of our clinical staff members have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
- Patients will continue to call us from the parking lot when they arrive at the office. This will allow us to control the flow of patients into and out of the office.
- Wearing masks is still required for all but our youngest patients.
- We arranged the waiting room so patients will be sitting six feet from each other.
- Exam rooms will be cleaned in between patients.
- Our windows will be open to facilitate air circulation in the office.
In addition to checking for infections such as strep throat and UTIs, we will be testing patients for Covid-19. At the present time, the turnaround time for PCR tests is 2 to 3 days. If you need results more quickly, we can refer you to an outside testing center.
Daytime Phone Calls
We will resume providing basic telephone advice for our patients. If a child has a medical problem that requires a more in-depth evaluation, an office visit will be scheduled.
We will continue to be available for urgent medical problems when the office is closed.
Saturday Morning Hours
We will resume being open for sick care on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon.
— Drs. Ahlstrom, Bennett and Hall
What Science Says About Children, COVID-19 and School Reopenings
Vaccine Policy During the Coronavirus Pandemic
In order to give vaccines in the safest way possible for our families and staff, we have set up the following protocol:
- Children should come to the office with only one parent or caregiver.
- The child and caregiver must be well and have had no contact with anyone who has COVID-19 or is being tested for the virus.
- Parents, please call when you arrive in the parking lot. But you should stay in your car until we call you back. If you have a facemask, please wear it during the visit. If you don’t have a mask, we will give you one when you enter the office.
- In most cases, one child and one parent per family will be scheduled for a vaccine on a given day. If two children need to be vaccinated, each child will be given an appointment, but there must be one caregiver present for each child. While one child is getting a shot, the other one will be in the car with the second parent or guardian. The second child will come to the office after the first one
- For babies, shots may be given more efficiently if the child is kept in his or her car seat. This means the child should be dressed in a onesie so the nurse doesn’t need to undress the baby for the shot.
- For toddlers and preschoolers, parents need to be prepared to hold their child so the shots can be given safely.
- Once the vaccine is administered, you will promptly leave the office to minimize exposures to other families. Any concerns or questions may be addressed by follow-up call.
- If parents show up sick or with a sick child, you will be asked to leave and reschedule the visit.
- Nurses will wear facemasks and gloves when administering vaccines.
- Rooms will be thoroughly cleaned after each visit.
- You will be billed for the visit rather than having to provide any copays during the visit.
Meningitis Type B Vaccine Available
AAP Urges Vaccinations
We at Chevy Chase Pediatrics strongly recommend to vaccinate against childhood illnesses. Please read the article below to address the importance of the measles vaccine in light of the current measles outbreak. If you have any questions, please schedule an appointment with your provider to discuss your child’s vaccinations. American Academy of Pediatrics President Urges Parents to Vaccinate Their Children Against Measles
Dr. Bennett’s Site
Patients are welcomed to check out the latest on Dr. Bennett’s personal website, HowardJBennett.com, which has frequent posts including fun stuff for kids as well as a blog and medical information for parents.
Only Two Shots Needed for HPV Vaccine
Adult Booster Shots
Adolescents have received tetanus/diphtheria booster shots (Td) for decades. In 2005, we started giving pertussis (whooping cough) boosters to our teenage patients. This decision was based on research that showed childhood immunity to pertussis waned during adolescence. The vaccine is called Tdap and is usually given at the 11-year-old physical. It protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Adults are at risk to get pertussis as well and are more likely to spread the infection to infants. In 2005, the CDC recommended the routine use of a single dose of Tdap for adults 19-64 years of age to replace the next booster shot for tetanus and diphtheria (Td). The CDC recommended getting a Tdap sooner for adults that have close contact with infants less than 12 months of age. In 2010, there was an outbreak of pertussis in California that claimed the lives of several infants. This has led to a renewed interest in vaccinating adults against this serious and highly contagious disease. The best place for parents to get a Tdap is from their own doctors. However, if this cannot be arranged, we will give you the vaccination in our office. You can schedule a nurse’s visit to get the shot or we can give it to you if you are in the office with one of your children.