Beth Israel Lahey Health is pleased to introduce BILH Safe Care.
We understand that you may have had limited access to health care due to COVID-19, and that you may have questions about returning to BID Needham, or another BILH member hospital, outpatient center, or primary care or specialty care practice.
As we have proudly served on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also been safely caring for many patients without COVID-19 in need of emergency or urgent care.
To ensure we could care for all our patients as soon as possible, we have been preparing to safely welcome you back for the routine and preventive in-person services you need to stay healthy, and have expanded our virtual care options.
What is BILH Safe Care?
Our Safe Care plan combines new processes, standards and technologies to ensure your safety when you visit for routine care, consultations, screenings, procedures, surgeries or any other medical need.
Our safety measures meet or exceed guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) with respect to patient safety, workforce safety, personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control.
Here are some of the steps we are taking to protect our patients. Please contact your provider’s office directly for specific information about your care location.
Three-Point Symptom Check
We check with every patient three times before any medical appointment to confirm they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. This includes at the time of scheduling, 24-72 hours before the appointment and again upon arrival.
Safe Separation of Care for COVID-19 Patients
Patients with symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19 in the past 21 days who may still require special precautions during their care are directed to either a dedicated site, a location offering specific hours or an area with physical separation where other patients without COVID-19, or other respiratory infections, are not present.
Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection
We have always had high cleaning standards and use hospital-approved disinfectants approved for removing coronaviruses to clean and disinfect exam rooms, high-touch areas and common spaces like lobbies, hallways and waiting rooms. We have increased the frequency of cleaning common areas and removed reading materials and other non-essential items that are frequently handled and may be difficult to clean. As always, medical equipment and exam rooms are cleaned before and after every use.
All staff members must complete a form before every shift to confirm they do not have any of 12 possible symptoms associated with COVID-19. If a staff member reports any symptoms, they cannot return to work until they are evaluated and fully recovered.
To protect themselves and patients, staff members wear masks, gloves, gowns, eye protection and other personal protective equipment when interacting with patients who have, or are suspected to have, COVID-19.
Hand hygiene is the foundation of our safety plan. Staff members will wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after they care for you, and hand hygiene products are readily accessible for everyone to use throughout our facilities.
Masks for Everyone
All staff, patients, visitors and essential patient escorts must wear a mask at all times. For patients, visitors and escorts, a cloth face cover like a fabric mask is acceptable. A mask will be provided to anyone who arrives without one.
There are very limited exceptions to the mask requirement. For those who cannot tolerate wearing a mask due to conditions such as respiratory distress, special precautions are taken to protect other patients and caregivers.
Secure Entrances and Exits
Wherever possible, we have reduced the number of entrances and exits to ensure all patients, approved visitors and essential escorts, as well as staff, are checked for symptoms and wearing masks. Additionally, some locations have separate entrances for patients who have symptoms of COVID-19.
Each of our facilities has been carefully adapted with safety precautions in mind. Many areas, such as patient registration, hallways and other common areas have been redesigned to accommodate appropriate physical distancing and pedestrian traffic flow. All hospital lobbies are monitored to ensure physical distancing and mask usage are maintained.
Touch-Free Check-in and Check-out
New processes may enable pre-registration to be done by phone or online in advance of your appointment and check-out to occur through touchless payment, or after your departure. In addition, authorization for certain treatments can be given verbally rather than in writing, to minimize sharing objects like pens and clipboards.
Waiting Room Alternatives
In addition to redesigned waiting rooms with additional space in seating areas, many of our facilities offer text messaging to notify patients when their visit is about to begin. These and other electronic options enable patients to remain comfortable prior to an exam or procedure and loved ones to receive remote updates about their care.
Visitors, when allowed by a hospital or facility, are checked for symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival. If approved to visit, masks or cloth face coverings must be worn at all times. Visitors who have symptoms of, a recent diagnosis of, or exposure to someone who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 will be asked to postpone their visit.
Special Hours for High-Risk Patients
Some of our primary care locations are offering special hours for patients at high-risk of developing complications from COVID-19, including older adults and those with compromised immune systems, in order to reduce their exposure to other people in common areas, such as waiting rooms.
Testing Prior to Surgery
All patients having surgery or certain procedures are tested for COVID-19 approximately 48-72 hours prior to their procedure.
Testing for Labor and Delivery Patients
All pregnant patients are tested for COVID-19 approximately 48 hours before their anticipated delivery, or when they are admitted to the hospital.
Virtual Care Options
We are pleased to offer a wide range of virtual care options for many specialty areas as well as primary and urgent care. These options include conducting visits by video or telephone, and are a great way to meet your health needs from home. Many appointments that are typically done before and after surgery can also be done remotely. Check with your provider’s office to learn more.
To download a copy of our safety measures, click here.