Coronavirus Covid-19 Sleep and Attention Disorders Institute Response
By March 20, 2020, Michigan had become a Covid-19 moderately impacted state. Here is the Coronavirus Covid-19 Sleep and Attention Disorders Institute Response.
As Covid-19 began to spread across the USA, we started paying even more attention to hygiene. We have always been very aware of the role of health care providers and institutions in potentially spreading infections. We keep a very clean office and testing facility. We have always washed all bed linen every day. We use heat sterilization for CPAP supplies that come into contact with patients. Dr. Sangal stopped wearing ties (which are known to spread infections) several years ago. He has been a pioneer in using fist bumps instead of handshakes (which spread 20 times more germs) in the office.
Closure of office and sleep and EEG lab and starting Telehealth
On March 20, 2020, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine advised that sleep labs in moderately impacted Covid-19 areas stop doing sleep testing. On the same day, Governor Whitmer signed Executive order 20-17 asking for all non-essential procedures to be stopped effective 5 pm on March 21. In response, we closed the sleep lab and the EEG lab on March 21. We have called all patients who were scheduled for testing on or after March 21, 2020, and cancelled their testing. We have advised them we will contact them to re-schedule as soon as we are able to reopen. We also decided to stop most in-person office visits and started exploring telehealth services.
On March 23, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive order 20-21 requiring stay-home. In response, we closed the office to all clinical patients. We contacted all patients with scheduled office visit appointments, and offered them telehealth appointments instead. We are using doxy.me, which is a synchronous, HIPAA compliant, real-time, audio-visual service.
Initially, most insurance companies did not cover evaluation and management services using telehealth. Over the last couple of weeks, almost every insurance company has announced that it will temporarily cover evaluation and management services using telehealth. Many insurance companies have also announced they will waive co-pays for such services. However, private insurance companies do hide behind details of individual policies and do not guarantee that they will cover telehealth services for any individual patient.
Although we have had to lay off temporarily most of our employees, we continue to answer the phone so we may take care of our patients’ needs. We have limited hours during which we offer telehealth services to established patients. We are suggesting to new patients that they wait for an onsite evaluation when we reopen. If, for some reason, we were unable to reach you or you need a telehealth service, please do call us.
We are looking forward to serving our patients on site in the office, and in the sleep lab and the EEG lab, as soon as we can safely do so. In the meantime, we wish you all SAFETY. Please wash your hands often, keep social distance, and look after yourself and your loved ones. If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to call us. We will do what we can.