We’re Here To Help
We are here to help keep you and your family healthy and safe as we navigate Coronavirus (COVID-19) together. We understand you probably have a lot of questions right now, from how to stay healthy to if it’s safe to come in for your scheduled doctor’s appointments. As we collaborate with government agencies and health departments, we will continue to update this post with the latest information and guidance for Heartland Women’s Healthcare patients and our partners.
For more information that is regularly updated, please visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website. This has many helpful resources and answers including:
- What you can do to PREVENT getting sick, like cleaning your hands often, not touching your face, and practicing social distancing, which means avoiding close contact with others and groups, especially those who are sick.
- What to do if you ARE sick, like staying home unless you need to get medical care.
Below are topics our patients have had questions about that might also help you.
Coming into Our Clinics
Should I come in for my appointment?
More than likely, yes. Our clinics are currently open for in-person visits. If you have not had virus symptoms or recent exposure, please know you can come in and see us for your scheduled appointment or urgent care needs. If you are worried and think you need to cancel, call us first and let us tell you about how we are making sure everyone stays safe. This is especially important for our pregnant patients, as we recommend you continue your planned prenatal care to ensure you stay on track for a healthy pregnancy and avoid any unwanted complications.
If you are not feeling well and are scheduled for a non-urgent appointment, please call the office to reschedule.
How are you keeping your clinics safe and preventing the spread of the virus?
We want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe and to stop the virus from spreading. We are taking many steps to ensure everyone’s safety, including:
- Frequent deep cleanings of all of our facilities with medical-grade disinfectants and cleaning products
- Screening all patients, providers, and employees before they come into our clinics
- Training all of our care providers and employees on COVID-19 so they are prepared to help with any virus-related questions or situations
- Requiring all employees, patients, and guests to wear masks inside of our clinics
- Practicing social distancing inside of our clinics
Can I bring anyone with me to my appointment?
For the continued safety of patients, physicians, staff and the community, Heartland Women’s Healthcare has implemented a ONE visitor/escort policy in all of our offices as of April 9, 2021.
The Practice Manager will ensure social distancing is maintained, all visitors/escorts will complete the COVID-19 screening questions and have temperature taken and recorded. The visitor/escort will remain masked with a cloth, 3 ply surgical, or N95/K95 mask throughout their time in the office. No vented masks will be allowed. The Practice Manager will limit visitors/escorts if social distancing cannot be maintained.
We empathize with all patients who wish to have multiple guests at their appointment. We are closely monitoring the CDC guidelines and will adjust our policy when appropriate.
How does the virus spread and what are the symptoms?
COVID-19 is spread through close personal contact (like shaking hands or touching a surface with the virus on it). Symptoms can range from very mild to severe and are similar to many other illnesses like the flu, which makes it hard to know if you have it. That’s why having a history of travel or being exposed to someone who has COVID-19 is an important way to tell the difference. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure and based on current data, many cases are mild, and people fully recover.
Am I at risk for COVID-19?
For most people, the immediate risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is thought to be low. However, if you have a history of recent travel to an area with an outbreak, you may be at higher risk. If you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 then you may also be at higher risk. If this is the case, stay home for 14 days and seek care if you start to experience symptoms. Smart habits like frequent hand washing and social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) will also lower your risk of getting sick.
Out of hand sanitizer? Don’t worry, washing your hands for 30 seconds with warm water and soap is effective in preventing the virus. Cleaning your cell phone with a disinfecting wipe is another great habit to practice!
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
If you have the symptoms listed above (high fever, dry cough, shortness of breath) and have been exposed to someone with the virus, please contact your primary care provider who can advise you on whether you need testing if you have symptoms and what you should do next. If you do feel sick, we first suggest self-quarantining to help avoid spreading the virus. In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider AND your local health department.
What do I do if I need a doctor’s note to work from home?
Please call the office for a doctor’s note should you need one and we will do our best to get you one.
Should I avoid traveling right now?
Our government is currently discouraging any nonessential travel and has issued travel advisories for many countries. This is especially important for the elderly and anyone with serious medical conditions, and cruise travel is specifically advised against because of the increased risk of spread in this environment.
Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Our practice is committed to providing a safe environment for our staff, patients, and everyone who visits us. To meet this commitment, we support the COVID-19 vaccine and are aligned with local, state, and federal requirements, ACOG recommendations, and our hospital partners. We agree with the CDC’s guidance that vaccination is especially important for healthcare personnel, which includes all people serving in a healthcare setting. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, we recommend talking to your doctor to determine if the vaccination is right for you, as vaccine trials have excluded pregnant and lactating women.
For more detailed information, please visit ACOG’s COVID-19 FAQs for pregnant and breastfeeding patients as well as the CDC’s FAQs about COVID-19 vaccination.
Getting Virtual Care
Can I change my scheduled appointment to a call or video (telemedicine) visit?
All of our clinics now offer telemedicine appointments. Depending on the reason for your visit, we might be able to provide care virtually and help you avoid any unnecessary trips to one of our clinics. Simply call your office to schedule a video-based appointment with your provider today.
Common appointments that are offered through telemedicine include: contraception counseling, Coronavirus (COVID-19) screening, reviewing lab results, refilling prescriptions, and more.
To learn more, visit usaobgyn.com/telemedicine.
Telemedicine: What to Expect
- Many insurance companies don’t require copays for telemedicine visits right now
- Our providers can screen you for COVID-19 virtually to determine if you need testing
- If you have an annual exam scheduled, you can receive preventive care virtually now and come in later for a physical exam (if you need a pap smear, etc.)
- Telemedicine is private and easy to use
- All you need is a smartphone or a computer with a camera!
Please note: you can still come in for an in-person visit for OB and urgent care needs that can’t be completed virtually.
Pregnancy & Prenatal Care
What if I am pregnant? Am I at an increased risk?
At this time, we do not know if pregnant women are more likely or at a higher risk than the rest of the general public. Currently, available data has not provided direct evidence that COVID-19 increases the risk of miscarriage, increases risk of early pregnancy loss, or is passed to the baby during pregnancy. However, we do know that pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that can increase their risk of infection and the severity of their illness, like with the flu or respiratory infections. Because we are still learning about COVID-19, we recommend that you take all of the same precautions as the general public, as well as continue with your prenatal appointments and care. Don’t hesitate to call your provider’s office if you have any questions or concerns.
You might also be thinking about vitamins and nutrition to help avoid getting sick. Know that a well rounded diet along with your prenatal vitamin has everything your body needs. You can also take Vitamin C or eat foods with Vitamin C like oranges, kiwis and strawberries.
You can read more information on the CDC’s website relating to pregnancy, breastfeeding, and COVID-19.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is another leading source of research and information related to pregnancy and breastfeeding.