COVID 19 Safety Protocol

URGENT PATIENT INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19

Dear Square Medical Group Patients:

As you are aware, the COVID-19 virus is creating significant disruptions in all aspects of our lives and Square Medical Group wants to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to ensure the health and safety of our patients as well as their families and loved ones. 

We are fully dedicated to ensuring that every patient has access to their provider, prescriber and/or therapist. We are taking significant steps to upgrade our infrastructure such that there is no needless disruption or interruption of care and services. It is our overarching and sincere goal that SMG not be an additional burden or source of stress over the coming days, weeks and months. Rather, we want to be a source of assistance, consistency, reliability and quality. 

Please note: if you are experiencing any symptoms or suspect/know that you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should inform us immediately and DO NOT come into the office under any circumstance. Please follow guidance from CDC, local health departments or other trusted sources (such as your PCP) on further directions.

In cases like COVID-19, reducing the risk of exposure is paramount, therefore we are asking nearly all patients (exclusions below) of Square to immediately transfer to Telehealth as their primary means of therapy and ongoing care. 

At the end of this email, you will find clear and simple guidance on how to schedule a Telehealth appointment, how to download and install the necessary applications on your computer or mobile device and who is eligible for these services. As with any rapidly developing issue, we are prepared to make changes and adjust our strategy to meet the needs of our staff, our patients, our regulators, and the greater public good. 

Below are general questions and answers we have established for this coming week. As stated above, things can change, but for now, we are prepared to move forward as follows:

Which patients will be eligible to transition to Telehealth?

Nearly all patients will be eligible to transfer to Telehealth for the immediate future. Exceptions to this rule include the following:

  1. Patients who need to have regular drug screens, either required by SMG or by an outside agency (court system, etc.). This group will likely mostly consist of new SUD/MAT patients. 
  2. Vivitrol, Subclade, Invega, Sustenna, and other depot injection patients along with those who rely on samples for their medications. 
  3. TMS patients
  4. IOP patients (for now, we are rapidly exploring and soon to deploy a virtual group option pending approval from DPH which we hope to have in the next 2-3 business days 
  5. Other patients receiving group services (see IOP above for planned approach to continue these services). 
  6. All other Patients for whom there is no practical alternative (i.e. neuro-psych testing) 

Can I still receive my care in person if I cannot/do not want to see a provider via Telehealth

For now, yes, however this may vary by provider and individual circumstances. In most circumstances, we will want you to seriously consider the benefits of Telehealth and weigh the pros and cons including the benefit to public health. 

How will this transition occur (appointments, etc)?

We will allow patients to see their provider over these coming days, but we will endeavor to move all eligible patients over to Telehealth when they schedule for their next appointment. All new appointment requests and initials will be scheduled via Telehealth (with limited exceptions articulated above). All new appointments, changes to existing appointments and other questions should be directed to our main number at 617-916-5069 or via our website. We will endeavor to assist you with all aspects of these changes.  

What about prescriptions?

For now, we do not expect to alter our prescription policies and protocols. Patients who are currently receiving 30-day supplies will continue to and patients who are on shorter refill schedules will be required to maintain their appointment schedule, just via Telehealth. Please note: Federal Law requires that patients be seen at least one time in person before a controlled substance can be prescribed. Therefore, all new SUD/controlled substance patients will need to have their initial consult done in person and will only be eligible for Telehealth after that first appointment is complete. 

What other precautions can, or should we be taking?

Staff who regularly exchange paper or other items with patients should endeavor to wear gloves at all times. Staff who are concerned about exposure and would prefer to wear masks while at work will be provided with them. We have sufficient supplies of gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and other sanitizing products and will continue to make these available to staff in all offices as necessary. 

How often will we communicate news/changes?

Square anticipates sending/providing updates to our policies on no less than a weekly basis. Over the next coming weeks, we expect it will be more often than that. 

How do I download and Install the software necessary for Telehealth services?

Square is utilizing a fully encrypted and HIPAA compliant product called Zoom for Healthcare. Directions on how to download and install Zoom are below:

General Zoom recommendations:

  • If you are using a Windows or Mac computer, please make sure your webcam and microphone are working properly
  • Please make sure that you have a strong internet connection, and that you are not on a public Wi-Fi. 
  • For best results, you’ll want to be as close to your Wi-Fi router as possible, and no other devices on the network are used for streaming, gaming, etc. while you are in a meeting
  • If Wi-Fi isn’t available, you can use Cellular internet, but results may vary depending on your connection (ideally 4 bars or better)

Downloading Zoom for Apple devices (iPhone, iPad)

  1. Open the App Store
  2. In the search bar at the top type in Zoom and press Search
  3. Download (Get) the Zoom Cloud Meetings
  4. Open the Zoom app and login with your email address and password
  5. You will need to allow Zoom to access your camera and microphone

Downloading Zoom for Android Devices

  1. Open the Play Store
  2. In the search bar at the top type in Zoom and press Search
  3. Install the Zoom Cloud Meetings
  4. Open the Zoom app and login with your email address and password
  5. You will need to allow Zoom to access your camera and microphone

Downloading Zoom for PC (if your webcam and microphone are working properly)

  1. Download Zoom from https://zoom.us/download 
  2. Double click on the downloaded file and go through the set-up steps
  3. Open Zoom and sign in with your email address and password
  4. Allow access to your webcam and microphone if required

Downloading Zoom for Mac (if your webcam and microphone are working properly)

  1. Download Zoom from https://zoom.us/download
  2. Double click on the downloaded file and go through the set-up steps
  3. Open Zoom and sign in with your email address and password
  4. Allow access to your webcam and microphone if required