AGG COVID-19 UPDATES
UPDATE ON COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update from AGG
5/19/2020 11:20 AM: MAIN OFFICE REOPENING
To our patients,
As the threat of COVID-19 improves and New Jersey begins to reopen in stages, we will also be reopening our offices for in-person visits. We will continue to use Telemedicine during this time, as well. When calling for an appointment, you can specify whether you would like a Telemedicine or in-person visit. If you are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 we ask that you DO NOT make an in-person visit (we can still see you by Telemedicine), but instead, we recommend you discuss your symptoms with your Primary Care physician or go to the ER if experiencing severe symptoms.
During the re-opening process, we have put in several measures to provide you and our staff with the safest experience possible. Prior to your visit, you will receive a call from our staff to screen you for any possible COVID-19 symptoms. If you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, even if you have no symptoms, please reschedule your visit to a telemedicine appointment until you receive a negative result. New patients, please fill out all forms prior to your visit.
When you arrive in the parking lot, please call our office to check in (908-851-2770). To avoid waiting room congestion, we will have you wait in your car until we are ready for you. When you arrive, your temperature will be checked by one of our medical assistants. Afterwards, you will be brought directly into a patient exam room where the medical assistant will take your initial history. After seeing the doctor, you will remain in the same room for check out and go directly to you car once you are done. If procedures, blood work, or imaging studies need to be done, we will call you and arrange these by phone. Exam rooms will be cleaned in between each visit.
Please be patient with us during this process. Changes and updates will likely occur as we learn better and safer ways of doing things. Our goal is to continue to provide you with the quality care you have come to expect from us while at the same time keeping you, other patients, and ourselves safe. If you have any questions prior to your visit, please call and ask.
Again, we welcome you back and look forward to seeing you. Please, keep yourself and your families safe. We will all get through this together.
3/20/2020 3:50 PM: UPDATE ON TELEMEDICINE
To our patients,
As all of you know, these are difficult times. More people are becomming affected by COVID-19 infection and there are greater limitations on where and when we can all travel. At AGG, our priority through this time will be to continue to provide for you the best possible care we can, doing everything possible to keep all of you out of the hospital, away from the centers of the COVID-19 infection.
As a result of the COVID-19 infection, Telemedicine has now become more widely available and we are going to start using it at AGG. This will allow us to connect with our patients from home, allowing us in most instances to continue caring for patients, while not exposing the patient to the risk of COVID-19 infection. All you need is either a smart phone or a computer. You can either call us (908-851-2770) or click the tab at the top of the screen to "Make an Appointment". At your scheduled time, you will receive a text or email with a link. Once you click the link, the provider will be able to contact you by video chat (much like many social networking video chat apps, but in a secure manner). We are currently able to see both existing and new patients in New Jersey. For patients of other GI practices who are unable to see their existing physicians, we will not have access to your previous records at the time of the initial visit. However, once you are able to return to your previous physician, we will provide you with a copy of your records from our office.
Again, please keep yourself safe during these times and follow all government directions. Once travel restrictions are removed, we will continue seeing patients in the office as before. However,, for now, will limit office time to those in need of either infusion medicine or for problems not amenable to telemedicine.
Thank you from all of us at AGG
To our patients,
As all of you know, COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) has entered our community. Typical symptoms include cough, fever, and trouble breathing and the disease can range in severity from little to no symptoms all the way to severe infection and death. Here at AGG, we are trying to balance the care of our patients with the prevention of the spread of the virus. We are well aware that by staying open, we are exposing our patients and staff to more community contact, which could lead to disease spread. However, by closing and not providing care to the thousands of patients in our practice, we would be forcing them to seek care in local emergency rooms and urgent care centers, likely exposing them to greater risk of COVID-19 exposure and clogging up the system that should be focusing on caring for those severely affected by this virus. For that reason, as we remain open during this difficult time, here are some ways you can help us:
- If experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 infection (cough, fever, trouble breathing) or if you have had recent contact with a person with a known infection, please do not come to the office. Call your primary care doctor to see where you need to go for testing (do not go directly to your doctor’s office) or go to the ER if you are having severe symptoms. We will be waiving any no-show fees during this time.
- If you have a non-urgent matter (e.g. due for routine colonoscopy, routine visit for a medication refill, follow up of routine labs, etc…), please call the office. During this time, many of these issues will be managed over the phone or can be delayed until the outbreak improves.
- For new visits, to spend less time in the office, please fill out your new patient forms online at https://www.advancedgastroenterologygroup.com/patients.html. You need to fill out the Medical History Form, Patient Information, and Financial Responsibility Form
- Be patient, please. Our waiting rooms will be reorganized to maintain distance between patients. If they become full, you may be asked to wait in your car until we call you when we are ready.
- Wash your hands regularly and don’t expect a handshake. Shaking hands has always been a routine way of saying hello, however, to avoid disease spread, a simple smile will work.
- Finally, please be flexible. As this is new to you, it is also new to us and there will likely be many changes in procedures, scheduling, and how we manage patients as we learn more about the COVID-19 virus and how it spreads. We know it can be difficult arranging your busy schedule to make time for office visits, and while we try our best to always minimize last minute changes, we recognize that in the coming months, there will be times when we will be forced to rearrange patient visits. Please know that it is all in an effort to better care for our patients while preventing them from getting sick with the COVID-19 virus.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit:
Coronavirus and IBD/AIH patients
As a practice treating both Autoimmune Liver Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease), we have many patients on therapy that is designed to suppress the immune system and could put them at risk of infections like COVID-19 (the Coronavirus). These medications include:
- Infliximab (Remicade)
- Adalimumab (Humira)
- Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
- Golimumab (Simponi)
- Ustekinumab (Stelara)
- Vedolizumab (Entyvio)
- Steroids (Prednisone, Methylprednisone, etc…)
While these medications do put you at a slightly higher risk of viral infections, it is currently felt that the risk of untreated autoimmune disease causes patients a greater threat and it is currently NOT recommended that patients stop there medications UNLESS they are diagnosed with an infection. If you are currently on any of these medications, here are some things you can do to help decrease your risk of both COVID-19 and any other infections:
- Practice social distancing
- Avoid travel
- Avoid large gatherings
- Wash hands after any public contact and periodically throughout the day.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Get the flu and pneumonia vacccines.
- Call us immediately should you have any fever, cough, or contact with someone known to have the COVID-19 infection.
For more information regarding Inflammatory bowel disease and the COVID-19 infection, please visit the links below:
From all of us at AGG, please stay safe.