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COVID-19 Updates for Physicians & Providers

COVID-19 update

Getting back to getting better


As stay-at-home orders are lifted and health care facilities begin to expand and adjust to the “new normal,” Children’s Mercy is here to partner with you by sharing best practices, equipping you with resources and seeing your patients who require care.

Importantly, we want to help you reassure your patients and families it is safe to come to Children’s Mercy. 

Pediatric care (e.g., surgical and diagnostic procedures, admissions and ambulatory visits) is rarely “elective.” While some pediatric care may be deferrable for a limited time, delays in care for children may result in lifelong health consequences.

As of May 18, all Children’s Mercy clinics and the surgery department have begun a phased-in approach to reschedule postponed appointments and schedule new appointments.

Recording: COVID-19 LIVE Event

A video recording of the July 29 COVID-19 LIVE Virtual Event is now available. Watch the recording for the most recent updates and responses to questions regarding:  

  • COVID planning and response at Children’s Mercy
  • New data
  • Guidance for testing and return to school 
  • Vaccine updates
  • And more

Future COVID-19 LIVE Virtual Events will be scheduled as needed and communicated to providers via email. Stay tuned for details regarding upcoming events. 

CME Available for Recorded COVID-19 LIVE Event

In addition to providing CME for the live event, we are offering credit for watching the recordings of our COVID-19 LIVE events on our Grand Rounds Online website. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one. After you complete the session and evaluation, you can view, print, or save your certificate for your records.  

Please note: 

  • You must view the recording on the Grand Rounds Online website to receive credit (attendance or CME). 
  • Recordings will only be available for one week, as information related to COVID-19 is changing rapidly.

Toolkit for community providers

Access templates, graphics and resources for communicating your practice's capabilities and safety measures. Stay tuned for resources. 

All Children’s Mercy clinics are increasing availability, some more quickly than others, based on a number of factors, including the availability of telemedicine, PPE and the volume of postponed appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our clinics have been placed in one of four groups. Each group will ramp up in phases. The clinics in Group 1 will begin seeing more patients during Phase 1, beginning May 18. Clinics in Groups 2, 3 and 4 will gradually increase in-person visits over the next several months. All clinics will progress until they reach a "new normal" maximum number of in-person visits, which will equal 60% of pre-COVID-19 visits to allow for safe social distancing.

Download PDF versions of the charts below: Four phases (chart 1) and Four groups (chart 2)

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We believe that by greatly increasing our use of telemedicine and maintaining in-person visits at about 60% of pre-COVID levels, we can keep our families and staff safe while providing necessary access to world-class care for children. 

Each phase will last two to four weeks. During this time, we will evaluate to ensure all safety protocols are being followed. We will be continually monitoring patient and family safety, PPE use and availability, the rate of infection in our community, and other criteria to ensure the safest environment for all.

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We have already begun to increase the number of surgeries we are performing, with a focus on medically urgent procedures. New referrals are evaluated and scheduled, as needed, along with cases that were postponed. We are expanding the number of surgeries each specialty can perform per day. Surgical capacity is evaluated on a weekly basis and allows for add-on emergent cases as well as the backlog of postponed or previously cancelled cases. We are looking at several factors when rescheduling patients focusing on medical urgency by specialty.  


We have been effectively using telemedicine to see new and follow-up patients pre- and post-surgery. We are COVID-19 testing surgical patients within 72 hours of scheduled surgery; most are tested 24 hours prior to surgery.   

Emergency Department 

 

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  • EDs at Children’s Mercy Adele Hall and Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas remain open. All ambulance traffic is still being directed to Adele Hall campus. 
  • At both locations, all patients with respiratory symptoms are cared for in a designated area to minimize exposure to illness. 
  • We are placing families in individual rooms as soon as possible to decrease time spent in waiting rooms. 

 

Urgent Care

 

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In conjunction with outpatient clinic activity ramping up, Children's Mercy Urgent Care Center will return to regular hours of operation effective June 1 with a combination of telehealth and in-person appointments available. Hours will be:

Weekdays

  • Telehealth -- Noon to 8:30 p.m.
  • In-person -- 4 to 10 p.m.

Weekends

  • In-person only -- 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

All patients are encouraged to utilize Save My Spot at childrensmercy.org/savemyspot or on the Children's Mercy app to request an in-person or telehealth visit. If requesting telehealth, a nurse will make a triage call to ensure the appointment needed will work via telehealth. If it is determined telehealth will work, the patient/family will be transferred to an admissions rep for registration and consent. Once this step has been completed, the patient/family will receive a link from the provider at the time designated for their appointment. This link will be sent by text or email based on preference when registering with Save My Spot.

If the patient selects telehealth and during the nurse triage it is determined a telehealth will not meet their needs, the admissions rep schedule the patient for an in-person visit.

In addition to utilizing telehealth, to ensure the health and safety of our patients and families, we have implemented other changes in our urgent care centers. These include screenings for all patients and staff upon entrance, universal masking and practicing social distancing.

 

Children’s Mercy has been at the forefront of telemedicine by providing services for regional areas throughout Kansas and Missouri for more than eight years, and we are expanding the telemedicine services we offer in light of this pandemic. Whenever possible, we are offering patients the option of a telemedicine visit.

Telemedicine is an effective way to provide your patients with high-quality and accessible care, especially in an environment where it is important to limit community spread and exposure.

Learn more about telemedicine

Children's Mercy has taken numerous safety measures to protect patients, families and staff. These include:

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Universal health screenings (with temperature check)

  • Anyone entering the hospital – staff, patients, family, visitors, vendors – are screened each time they enter the hospital.
  • Screening consists of several questions and a temperature check.
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Universal masking

  • Masks are required for everyone, including children 2 years of age and older. Exceptions will be allowed for certain underlying medical conditions.
  • Families are asked to bring masks with them to the hospital. If they don’t have masks, the hospital will provide them.

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Visitor restrictions 

  • For clinic appointments, only one parent or guardian may accompany the patient. No other visitors are allowed.
  • For inpatients, two designated parent/guardian visitors may visit at the same time.
  • For surgery, two parents/guardians may bring the child to the hospital. No other visitors, including siblings, are allowed.
  • For ED and Urgent Care, parents/guardians may be with the child. No other visitors are allowed.

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Social distancing

  • We are placing families in individual rooms as soon as possible to decrease the time spent in waiting rooms.
  • In waiting rooms, chairs have been rearranged or removed.
  • We also are following social distancing guidelines for staff, limiting the number of people in the exam rooms and work areas.
  • Elevators have been marked off to allow no more than three people at a time.

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Separation between symptomatic and asymptomatic patients 

  • In both EDs and all UCs: Patients with respiratory symptoms are cared for in a designated area to minimize the exposure to illness.
  • The goal is to get any child who comes to the ED or UC who is ill and screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms to an isolated area as soon as possible upon arrival.
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Deep and frequent cleaning 

  • In addition to our rigorous cleaning and sterilization processes put in place to adhere to mandated guidelines from sources of authority, our environmental services team is performing extra cleaning throughout the day, especially in high-touch areas like waiting rooms, doors and elevators.
  • Rooms and equipment are cleaned between each patient.
  • Waiting rooms are cleaned/disinfected frequently.
  • We are removing toys, magazines and other shared items from waiting areas and exam rooms. We are not sharing office items, such as pens and clipboards, among patients. Our playrooms remain closed.
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If a child’s appointment was cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, parents will receive a call from Children’s Mercy when we are ready to reschedule.

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If a child was referred to Children's Mercy, but not previously scheduled, you will be notified by Children’s Mercy via call or text to schedule an appointment.

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If a parent wants to schedule a new appointment for your child, please call our Contact Center at (816) 234-3700.

Patient with suspected COVID-19:

Children who are dehydrated or are having difficulty breathing can be referred to Children’s Mercy. If you need to speak with a physician because your patient has severe enough symptoms that warrant them to be seen in the ED or Urgent Care, call the COVID-19 Hotline at (816) 302-8800 for admission or consultation prior to their arrival.

For all other patients (urgent):

For urgent requests to speak to a specialist, please call and ask to speak with the on-call pediatric subspecialist at 1 (800) GO-MERCY / 1 (800) 466-3729.

Non-urgent patients:

For consults, admissions or transport call 1 (800) GO MERCY / 1 (800) 466-3729.

COVID-19 Testing Results

As of 4 p.m. on August 7, 2020

Patients tested: 10,478
Patients confirmed positive: 354 (1 currently inpatient)

Employees tested: 1,590
Employees confirmed positive: 126 (107 currently back at work)

FAQ & resources for physicians and providers

Access answers to provider questions, categorized by topic and updated on an ongoing basis. All questions received during COVID-19 LIVE events and otherwise are published here.

Additionally, locate resources including webinars, podcasts, published articles and more. 

Recent topics from The Link newsletter

Lessons Learned 117 Days into the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Mary Anne Jackson, MD |Dean and Professor of Pediatrics - UMKC School of Medicine | Medical Editor, The Link Newsletter

Angela Myers, MD | Director, Division of Infectious Diseases | Associate Director, Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program | Associate Professor of Pediatrics, UMKC School of Medicine 

As of July 10, 2020, the US has confirmed 3,047,671 COVID-19 cases and 132,056 deaths. For the sixth day out of ten, we’ve topped more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases/day. This trend includes a spike in cases among individuals ages 20-39 years and a doubling of cases in the US military. The uptick is likely being fueled by the perception among young adults that they will not become seriously ill from SARS-CoV-2 virus, resulting in risky behavior, namely refusal to social distance and wear masks, particularly within communities that have re-opened.  Leaders from all hospitals in the KC metro area have reported an uptick in cases and hospitalizations over the last week, and many are reporting the largest daily number of hospitalized patients in just the last week, when compared to all other days during the pandemic. 

Questions?

CHILDREN'S MERCY COVID-19 HOTLINE
(816) 302-8800

The hotline provides options for parents to ask questions regarding their child's health, and for community physicians and providers with questions regarding specific patients to connect to a specialist.

If you have a general question about COVID-19 that has not been answered in our FAQ, please email us at physicianservices@cmh.edu. We are working with our Infectious Diseases team to provide answers and will return your email within one business day.