North Atlanta Primary Care

COVID-19 Update Article

Coronavirus Update #9

Posted on April 13, 2020 by Physicians and Staff at NAPC

As we approach the one month mark of social distancing it is obvious that the anxiety and myths surrounding COVID-19 continue to hamper the ability of healthcare providers to deliver care to our patients. Unfortunately misinformation from social media and uninformed healthcare providers has contributed to this challenge. This is truly unfortunate. During a period of national emergency we need to communicate appropriate CDC advice to our patients and communities.

Can you discuss Essential Care?

At NAPC all 12 locations remain open and committed to treat all patients. Essential care for our patients with chronic medical illness such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, lung disease remains our top priority. Acute care for patients with trauma, infections, asthma exacerbations and severe allergies remains a top priority. Caring for patients with COVID-19 symptoms is also a top priority. We have been successful in keeping over 90% of our COVID-19 patients out of the hospital.

We have developed a COVID Care Plan for all of our patients. The majority of our affected patients have experienced a mild viral syndrome for 4-5 days and improved quickly with no complications. A small percentage of our COVID patients require mild supportive care including fluids, oxygen, and symptomatic treatment. Only a handful of our patients have required hospitalization or ICU care. Please call us prior to making a decision to go to an emergency room or urgent care.

Can you discuss COVID testing?

Our facilities are fully functional with CLIA waived laboratories and Quest certified technicians onsite. Our COVID patients are treated by experienced staff in an appropriate medical environment separated from our treatment rooms. Our clinical staff is following all CDC and Georgia DPH testing guidelines. Full PPE is utilized during testing to protect our staff and patients. We are fortunate to have state of the art facilities to care for all of our patients. They are cleaned and sanitized after each patient encounter. We are aware of the prevalence of asymptomatic patients and pre-symptomatic patients. All patients and staff are required to use PPE on all visits. Point of care testing with rapid results from Abbott labs will be available soon. In addition we expect serology tests to be available within a week. Serology testing can indicate the development of antibodies that would confer coronavirus immunity to a patient.

Can you discuss COVID Care plans?

We have previously posted updates of our NAPC COVID Care Plan.  We are currently managing over 90% of patients with mild and moderate symptoms at home using Telehealth. Our physicians and staff will monitor all COVID patients at home daily with synchronous audio video connections. Please do not use the ER or hospital except in situations where you may be experiencing severe shortness of breath or weakness. The hospitals are NOT testing centers and will not routinely test individuals with exposure or mild symptoms.  We recommend that you review the attached CDC guidelines for ambulatory care:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf

Can you discuss Telehealth?

Telemedicine continues to grow every week at NAPC. We are using a variety of modalities to communicate with our patients. These include connecting to you through your smart phone, computer or tablet device with programs including: Facetime, Skype, Zoom and Doxy.me. We are using our patient portal FollowMyHealth to connect and respond to simple questions and check ins. Our new video connection on FollowMyHealth goes live this week. If you receive a call or message from our schedulers they will work with you to make your telemedicine visit as convenient as possible. CMS and commercial payers are all endorsing and covering telemedicine during this crisis. We are performing most chronic follow up, acute care evaluations, refills and health risk assessments using Telemedicine daily. If we feel a face to face office visit is required we will arrange this for you. Our goal is to keep you healthy and out of the hospital.

Can you discuss behavior health?

Meeting an individual’s behavior health needs is not easy over a video connection. Treating depression, anxiety, panic attacks and attention deficit disorder require a close patient physician relationship and trust. Please know we will set aside extra time for you. In addition we have counselors and psychologist that are performing telehealth psychiatry as well. We can arrange consults for you.

Can you discuss the Georgia Advance Directive?

As part of an annual wellness exam discussing what a Georgia Advance Directive is for Healthcare is vitally important. Everyone should complete a Living Will and Durable healthcare power of attorney. This document can guide your care in extreme cases of life threatening emergencies. The advance directive consists principally of 4 parts:    

  • Appointment of a healthcare agent.
  • Defining treatment preference.
  • Guardianship.
  • Signatures.

Part One: Healthcare Agent: This allows you to choose someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot (or do not want to) make healthcare decisions for yourself. You may also have your healthcare agent make decisions for you after your death with respect to an autopsy, organ donation, body donation, and final disposition of your body. Your healthcare agents’ s power becomes effective when your doctor determines that you are no longer able to make or communicate your healthcare decisions or when you decide to have your healthcare agent make decisions for you.

Part Two: Treatment Preferences: This part allows you to state your treatment preferences if you are (1) unable to communicate your treatment preferences, and (2) your physician and one other physician determine that you either have a terminal condition or are in a state of permanent unconsciousness. If you also have a healthcare agent, then your agent is authorized to make all decisions discussed in Part Two, but will be guided by your written Treatment Preferences as well as any other factors you may have listed.

Part Three: Guardianship: This part allows you to nominate a person to be your guardian should one ever be needed.

Part Four: Signatures: This part needs to be filled out in order to make any of the other parts effective. All three preceding parts are optional. You are free to fill out any or all of them. Neither an attorney nor a notary of public is required.

There are many professional internet sites to assist you with completing your personal Advance Directive. Some of these include:
https://www.nhpco.org/wp-content/uploads/Georgia.pdf
https://www.pdffiller.com/jsfiller-desk16/?projectId=435308001#91daa4bc618526ab01e768dac66c9d89
https://www.hhc.org/documents/English-GA-Advance-Directive-for-Health-Care_0.pdf

Final Comments:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of our patients, families, and friends during these challenging weeks. At NAPC we are committed to providing quality care to all. Despite the ongoing anxiety, misinformation and challenges we are here for you every day. Please let us know what we can do to assist you. Please stay out of the ERs and contact us via the FollowMyHealth portal or simply call us. The staff, physicians and nurses at NAPC will continue to meet these challenges and serve your healthcare needs. Thank you for placing your trust in NAPC.

Stay Home. Stay Safe.

Physicians and Staff at NAPC

Alpharetta: 3400-C Old Milton Parkway, Suite 270, Alpharetta, GA 30005
Braselton: 1255 Friendship Road, Suite 130, Braselton, GA 30517
Cumming: 1800 Northside Forsyth Drive, Suite 450, Cumming, GA 30041
East Cobb: 1121 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 450, Marietta, GA 30068
Johns Creek: 4235 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite A, Suwanee, GA 30024
Sandy Springs: 1150 Hammond Dr., Building E, Suite 310, Atlanta, GA 30328
Sugar Hill: 4700 Nelson Brogdon Blvd., Suite 250, Buford, GA 30518
West Paces: 3200 Downwood Circle NW, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30327
Woodstock: 250 Parkbrooke Place, Suite 300, Woodstock, GA 30189

All locations: 770-442-1911