Ensuring Proper Testing of Patients from Community Health Centers
Recognizing that individuals who suspect they have COVID-19 may call physicians at community health centers, the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) and the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians (GAFP) recognize it is important to have a plan in place to ensure these patients are properly tested by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). Many independent physicians and health centers may not have the capability to conduct testing and will need to rely on their local hospital and DPH for next steps.
What hospitals need to do:
To facilitate necessary testing of any patient suspected to have COVID-19, we are asking hospitals to select a hospital liaison that your local health center(s) can call to coordinate specimen collection and contact with the Georgia Department of Public Health for testing. This partnership will ensure that patients and staff members are appropriately treated and protected.
What community health centers need to do:
If you don’t already have a plan in place, contact the hospitals in your area and ask who the liaison or person of contact for COVID-19 is. If a patient presents to your location and you believe testing is warranted, call the hospital liaison for help in implementing a plan to initiate testing and get instructions on next steps. You can also contact DPH directly by dialing 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584) and ask to speak to a medical epidemiologist.
*The link below is a great resource from the CDC for how you can determine the risk level of your staff members and the recommended protocol based on levels of exposure in the event that you see a patient in your office who tests positive for COVID-19.
***The GAFP continues to serve as a resource by keeping you up-to-date on issues that are important to family physicians during this time of crisis. Visit the GAFP website for important updates on the Coronavirus and listen to our webinar on COVID-19 and telemedicine.