Reopening Your Dermatology Practice
Step 4: Organize your staff
Depending on the size of your practice, the number of staff could vary significantly. Follow CDC updates and check with your state and local public health departments on regulations concerning group gatherings. Try to limit the number of staff per room in your practice and consider the following guidance:
Educate staff on social distancing in break rooms or lunch areas so they sit at least six feet apart. Staff should wear PPE for office staff meetings or sit at least 6 feet apart.
Inform staff of not coming into the practice if they exhibit any flu-like illness, loss of taste or smell and to follow the CDC’s Return to Work Criteria. Staff with symptoms and those who have been in close contact with them should not go to work and should self-isolate following CDC and local guidelines. If staff wear PPE throughout the work day and socially distance at other times, they would not be considered at high risk of exposing their co-workers/patients or being exposed to COVID-19 by them.
Ask staff each day prior to seeing patients about the presence of flu-like symptoms, loss of taste or smell (cough, fever, sore throat, or shortness of breath) and/or contact with possible COVID-19 patients. Consider non-contact temperature screening (CDC defines 100.0+degree F as fever). If findings suggest the possibility of COVID-19 infection, refer staff to their primary care physician for evaluation. Follow HIPAA protocols if staff are diagnosed with COVID-19. You may inform patients and staff they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, however you cannot identify the staff without their consent. The AMA has developed helpful FAQs on privacy and confidentiality concerns with staff (PDF download).
Be flexible and accommodating with staff when possible. Childcare and schooling options may be limited during this time.
Make sure you communicate all of these new procedures with staff in advance of opening or re-ramping up the practice.
Understand the employment-related legal considerations during the pandemic by reviewing the following Dermatology World articles:
A. Employment-related legal considerations during the COVID-19 public health crisis
B. Employment-related legal considerations during COVID-19, Part II
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology