Safety is Priority when Re-opening Clinics

To protect patients and visitors as well as staff, new protective measures have been put in place as UConn Health reopens services in the Outpatient Pavilion. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health photo)

Using the “dimmer model” to slowly ramp up rather than flipping a switch is how Dr. Andy Agwunobi, CEO of UConn Health describes the process of re-opening our clinics, which have been consolidated or closed due to the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety and the need to social distance caused by the pandemic, allowed urgent visits only to be seen in the clinics and decreased the number of routine visits coming to UConn Health. Non-essential appointments were rescheduled to eVisits, scheduled telephone encounters and scheduled telehealth video visits to meet our patient’s needs during this time.

As the environment continues to change, we have moved from a period of closing and consolidating clinics to reopening. The dimmer model gives us the ability to look at our present patient needs and assess who should come into the clinic for an in person encounter, while continuing to keep all of the employees and patients safe.

“The team effort of all our employees, chairs, chiefs, ambulatory leadership, providers, staff, and facilities, which are all essential to our preparedness and safety measures as we carefully welcome our patients back,” says Anne Horbatuck, Vice President, UConn Medical Group Ambulatory Operations, UConn Health. “The safety of our patients and employees was key to re-starting services.”

As clinics began to open on May 18th, staff were very happy to be back treating patients in person, said Stephanie Tapia, assistant nursing manager in the Ambulatory Surgery Clinic. In fact, one of her medical assistants stated that she “loved it.”

Safety is our main priority as we slowly begin to serve those who need to be seen in the office by their doctors. We continue to maintain the overall CDC recommendations and specific guidelines and protocols that have been put in place for UConn Health with a focus on the four (4) S’s: Safety, Space, Staff and Supplies.

What to expect when you come to your appointment:

  • All patients and employees will be required to wear a mask. Clinic employees will wear face shields in addition to masks. Please bring your mask with you to your appointment, if you do not have a mask, one will be provided.
  • Symptom screening and temperature checks will take place at all entrances.
  • Social distancing of 6 ft. will take place with noted floor decals and chairs in waiting rooms appropriately spaced.
  • Plexiglas will separate patients and employees at check in desks.
  • For safety we will continue our “No Visitor” policy for the time being and reassess as needed.
  • The flow of patients will be changed with directional arrows to minimize the crossover of patients and maintaining social distancing as much as possible.
  • Appointments will be scheduled to limit time in the waiting room and spacing out in clinic rooms.
  • Exam rooms and equipment will be thoroughly cleaned pre and post patient visits.
  • Patients scheduled for surgeries or other medical procedures will be tested for COVID-19 prior to their procedure or hospitalization.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are feeling ill before your visit, please call the office ahead of time to discuss with your practitioner.

As we move into the next phase of this pandemic and the resume our health care services at UConn Health, we are working harder than ever to provide more options for our patients from telemedicine video visits and phone call consultations to carefully scheduled in-person office visits, tests, and procedures.

If you have medical needs, from canceled or delayed appointments to undiagnosed symptoms, please contact your provider or our Call Center at 860-679-3199 so we can guide you to the care you need.