Keeping you safe when you visit

We welcome you to our practice and are here for you!

And…  COVID19 is not going away soon.  We are welcoming and easygoing- and must take certain precautions to keep everyone safe.    As you know: outside is better than inside, but if you must be inside minimize the number of people who “share the air” and minimize your exposure time.   Our safety protocol is designed to minimize the number of people in the space and minimize the time spent here.

1. One child, one parent.  No exceptions.   We’re not kidding!  Don’t bring the family.  Seriously, we won’t allow entry.

2. No mask = no entry.  Children older than 2 years are expected to wear a mask.  If babies can do it (many can!), then 2 year olds can do it.

3. No vented/valved masks.   These allow your exhalation to escape and therefore don’t stop the spread of virus.  If you arrive with such a mask, we will provide a surgical mask (you can swap to the surgical mask or wear it over your vented mask).

4. Waiting room chairs have been reduced in number, coupled and bound together, and are socially distanced from each other.  Don’t rearrange, please.

5. Our HVAC system has been upgraded with special filters and we circulate the air more frequently.  Certain areas also have air purifiers.

6. Upon entry, all are asked to apply sanitizer gel to hands or gloves (we provide it).

We can SAFELY get through this pandemic together by being smart, tough, and kind to each other.

 

 

COVID-19

We are committed to creating the safest possible environment for your visit. This requires everybody to do their part.    Distance x time = contagion risk.

  1. Do NOT come to the office if:

The patient OR ANYONE AT HOME in the last 2 to 14 days has:

      1. had sore throat, fever, fatigue, loss of smell, GI upset, sneezing, or coughing
      2. been in the presence of someone with known COVID-19 in the last 2 to 14 days.
      3. has visited a high-risk area in the past 2-14 days (updated list here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory)

Before you arrive, we will ask about these things. Do the right thing and be honest.   An eye exam is not worth someone else’s life.

  1. Forms are to be completed at home. We email forms that you can complete on your phone or computer; these automatically get placed in the chart when you finish.
    • If you cannot complete the online form, kindly bring a pen and something to lean against.
    • We will give you paper forms to complete outside the office if you didn’t do it online (hopefully, it won’t be raining that day!).
  1. One parent, one child.   We dislike doing this, but it’s how we control the number of people in the office at one time.   As soon as we can do away with this restriction, we will!
    • We know this is difficult, so we now offer early and weekend appointments to try to make it easier.
  2. No mask = no entry. Everyone 2 years+ must wear a mask/face covering.
    • Homemade mask or scarves are OK.
    • Vented masks do not fully protect others.  Kindly don’t wear one when you visit.  If you do, we will provide a regular mask that you can wear over a vented mask (or you can just wear the one we give you).
  3. We check temperature at the door. No entry if temperature >100.4.   No exceptions. Staff are checked twice daily.
  4. Kindly do not rearrange chairs. They are arranged for social distancing.
  5. Crying/screaming = very high risk to doctors.
    • Doctors will be wearing N95 masks and eye shields when examining young children and those likely to cry or scream.
    • Ophthalmologists, ENT specialists, and dentists have died from COVID they contracted from patients. These are high risk situations. Thank you for understanding.
  1. We will continue to deliver superb and appropriate care but the exam may seem a bit rushed.   Faster = safer.
    • If your child needs to be dilated, we might ask you put in eyedrops at home and return at a future date. Crying/screaming/yelling = increased virus transmission.
    • We dilate most patients in the office. You can wait in the waiting room or your car, if you prefer.
    • Unless dilation is necessary, we will err on the side of not doing it. In and out = safer for you + safer for us.
  2. No need to stop at the front desk to schedule the next visit 😊 We will call you.

UnitedHealthCare Insurance

Dear Patients & Family,

The mission of our practice is to care for as many children as possible and remain in business while doing so – no easy feat in today’s world.

The UnitedHealth Group has always reimbursed the lowest of all the insurances we accept, but we stayed in network to provide our much needed services to the children and families of our community. Our recent attempt at good faith negotiation went nowhere. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible for us to continue participating in their network.
Effective September 1, 2019 we will no longer be seeing UnitedHealth Group members.

We hope you will decide to stay with our practice. If you do, there are options available:

If you have out-of-network benefits you can pay for the visit and we will submit the claim on your behalf.
Our self-pay fees are very reasonable. We charge $100 for a routine follow-up, $150 for an annual follow-up that includes refraction and fundus exam, and $300 for an initial consultation.
You can transfer your care to a practice that accepts your insurance. We will, of course, provide all records as requested. The phone number for the Pediatric Clinic at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary is (212) 979-4375.
Also, please feel free to contact United/Oxford to express your opinion on this matter. Why is one of the most profitable companies in the world restricting access to pediatric specialty care by paying so little to doctors? If enough people complain, they might come back to negotiate in good faith.

Fidelis and Refraction

Approximately 2 months ago, Fidelis suddenly stopped paying for refraction (CPT 92015). Refraction is when an eye doctor measures how the eye puts things into focus and then figures out what to glasses prescribe (if any). This is very important for children younger than 8 years, as they can permanently lose vision (amblyopia) without the proper glasses. Nearly all insurance companies pay for refraction, at least for children. We have been trying to explain to Fidelis why this is so important for children, and we will keep trying, but until the insurance covers the fee we will be collecting it from our patients. Refraction is necessary at the first visit, and then periodically; sometimes once a year or so, sometimes every few years. We only charge for refraction once every 12 months. For what it’s worth, we think healthcare is human right and all people should have essential coverage. Until then, we have to work the system we are stuck with.

COVID Update March 31, 2020

Dear Families,

During this painful time, as we shelter in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, you should know that pediatric ophthalmologists become essential workers in the event of a medical or surgical emergency. While our sisters and brothers serve on the front lines, pediatric ophthalmologists remain ready to serve in the event we are called upon.

Health and safety are always our top priority. Following guidelines from the CDC, the NYS and NYC Departments of Health, and our professional organizations, we have adapted scheduling and safety protocols to ensure your child is cared for, no matter what else is going on. We even offer telemedicine visits when feasible and indicated.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that all ophthalmologists provide treatment only for urgent or emergent care until further notice. This includes (but is not limited to): trauma, a sudden loss or change in vision, eye pain, and sudden onset of ocular misalignment. If you are concerned about such an eye condition, please call us. We are here for you.

We are currently scheduling appointments for June and July. Once it is safe to resume seeing patients, this will probably be in a limited capacity. Nobody knows when this will be. We are sorting through our appointments to triage who gets seen first. This will almost certainly involve rescheduling appointments once we know when “Opening Day” will be. Please bear with us. To schedule a non-emergent appointment, please call us Monday-Friday 10-5. Dial 718 468 9800 x2. Our staff is working safely from their homes.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. We look forward to seeing you at the office for your non-urgent eye care needs when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has provided excellent information on to how to stay healthy and protect your eyes while hunkering down at home. Please see these useful links below.

Wishing you good health and good luck always, The Doctors and Staff of PediatricEyeMD

Eye surgeries WILL be delayed during the pandemic, including certain emergencies. Eye safety is more important than ever! Here’s a useful overview: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/coronavirus-covid19-eye-infection-pinkeye

Know what you can and can’t treat yourself: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/home-remedies

It is possible for coronavirus to cause “pink eye” (conjunctivitis), but this is extremely rare. Treat pink eye at home when possible to avoid spreading disease. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/pink-eye-quick-home-remedies

Scratched eye? Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/first-aid-eye-scratches

Stay out of the emergency room!! Protect your eyes during cleaning, cooking and home repair projects: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/safety-tips-home-eye-hazards