How Lina is protecting Practitioners and Patients from COVID-19
As we plan for increased activity and traffic at Lina, we are committed to keeping practitioners and patients safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In order o do so, we are applying new safety measures, updating facilities and modifying operations to reduce the risk of infection transmission and exposure.Lina has developed a 5-phased operational plan that responds to the evolving public health situation in New York State and New York City. Phase 1 protocols have been in place for most of April/May. Some phase 2 protocols are outlined below.
Patient Waiting Room Policy
Patients should arrive at the time of their appointment, not earlier. Practitioners should schedule appointments so as to eliminate or drastically reduce waiting times. Visitors arriving early will be asked to leave and return at the time of their appointment.Waiting room seating has been adjusted to ensure social distancing and everyone entering the Lina facilities will be required to follow this protocol. Everyone entering Lina facilities will also be required to wear a face mask. Patients must be instructed to stay at home if they are sick or have known or suspected exposure to the coronavirus.
Lina PE Team & Front Desk
Protective equipment will be installed at the front desk in every Lina location. The LinaPractitioner Experience Team will resume onsite support in accordance with NYS re-opening mandates and will assist with patient check-in, behind the front desk.
Access & Main Doors
Doors to the Lina Facilities will be unlocked during front desk operating hours. All other times, patients shall notify practitioners directly of their arrival.
To minimize any potential spread of infection, visitor refreshment areas and member refreshment areas will remain temporarily closed during this time. Protocol for refreshment stations will be updated during the next stage of the 5-phased operational plan.
Member Lounges will either remain temporarily closed or opened with extremely limited seating. We ask members to remain 6feet apart, masks shall be worn at all times in the member lounges.
Kitchens shall only be used to prepare food.During this phase seating areas will remain temporarily closed and we ask practitioners not to congregate or eat meals in the kitchen area. Single use dish-ware will be made available to use. We ask that members remain6 feet apart while preparing food and wear a mask in the member kitchen. Protocol forMember Kitchen use will be updated during the next stage of the 5-phased operational plan.
Payment Collection & Intake Forms
Payment and intake form collection services are paused during this phase. Members are welcome to continue these services with patients directly. Protocol for these services will be updated during the next stage of the5-phased operational plan.
Permanent Maintenance Changes
Lina has instituted numerous maintenance changes. Suite and common area cleaning frequency will be increased throughout the day, to complement our nightly cleaning schedule. Cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and common touch points at each facility will be performed multiple times through the day using EPA approved disinfecting agents. Extra disinfectant wipes and dispensers will be available throughout the facility.
Flex suites will be open and available to be booked through the Lina booking app.Frequency of suite cleaning will be increased throughout the day. For Flex suites, members will be required to disinfect common touch points in their reserved room before and after each use. Disinfectant wipes, spray or dispensers will be available in every Flex suite.
The Lina Team
Each member of the Lina Team will enforce the updated safety protocols during daily operations. The Lina Team has completed necessary OSHA training and will be required to wear a face mask at all times.Lina internal sick leave policies have been updated and everyone on the team is instructed to stay at home if they feel ill or have been in contact with anyone exposed to the coronavirus.
Facility Safety Features
Lina has worked with contractors and building management to increase air flow throughout the offices. Filters have been cleaned and water taps have been run to prevent any build-up of bacteria. A host of additional safety features will continue to be instituted on an ongoing basis such as, touchless soap dispensers and hand sanitizers.
Admin & Print Stations
Admin stations shall be spaced apart and cleaning supplies will be placed near printers. Practitioners shall not crowd the printing station and retrieve their printed documents one at a time, applying disinfectant wipes between uses and as needed.
Mail & Package Handling
During this phase, mail will not be sorted immediately. Instead, mail will sit for a minimum of 48 hours before being sorted. Packages will be delivered directly into package rooms for pick up, and sprayed with disinfectant. Please alert us of any urgent mail that would need to be retrieved immediately.
Hygiene guidelines and social distancing signage will be strategically placed in all Lina locations. This includes signage requiring the use of face masks, hygiene guidelines and hand-washing signage in all restrooms.
The CARES Act and Your Private Practice.
On Friday, March 27th, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act or “ CARES Act” was passed into legislation. As a result, your private practice may benefit from some or all of the financial resources now available to small businesses and self-employed individuals.
Expanded Unemployment Benefits
Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program workers who are typically not eligible for unemployment benefits now qualify. This means self-employed physicians or wellness providers can now apply for unemployment benefits, if their private practice was affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Read more to see if you qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
To apply: You can start your application here.
Small Business Loans as a result of COVID-19
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering two loan programs as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to small businesses throughout New York State.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll.
- This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (employees can include sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons) affected by COVID-19.
- This program supports small businesses to pay workers, interest on mortgage obligation, rent, insurance for paid sick or medical leave, utilities, and payroll related costs incurred from Feb, 15 2020 - June 30 2020.
- The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, interest on mortgages, however at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll.
- No collateral or personal guarantors are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
To apply: You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union participating. Check with your local lenders on their participating status.
Lenders will be begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020. A sample application form can be found here.
The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans that can provide vital economic support to help overcome temporary loss of revenue.
- Provides working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing during COVID-19.
- Loans will be made available within three business days of a success application.
- This loan advance will not need to be repaid.
To apply: Applications are now being accepted and can be found here.
To understand if your private practice qualifies for a Small Business Loan, The U.S. The Small Business Administration defines a Small Business in the Health Care Sector as one with a maximum of $7.5 million to $38.5 million in average annual receipts. This is a more detailed breakdown across physician specialties:
- Offices of Physicians (except Mental Health Specialists) $11.0 million.
- Offices of Physicians, Mental Health Specialists $11.0 million.
- Offices of Chiropractors $7.5 million.
- Offices of Optometrists $7.5 million.
- Offices of Mental Health Practitioners (except Physicians) $7.5 million.
- Offices of Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists and Audiologists $7.5 million.
- Offices of Podiatrists $7.5 million.
- Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners $7.5 million.
Resources and Prevention
NYS Coronavirus Information Hotline 1-888-364-3065
NYC Coronavirus Information - 311
NYC Department of Health 24/Day 866-692-3641
After Hours/Epi-on-Call Phone Number 866-881-2809
Infectious Disease Outbreak-Related Questions 866-881-2809
Information on COVID-19
The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:
- trouble breathing
CDC believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.
How Does Novel Coronavirus Spread?
Most of the early reported cases had contact with a seafood and live animal market, suggesting an animal source of the outbreak. However, most cases are now likely to be spread from person to person by droplets when coughing. Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads.
While there is currently no vaccine to prevent this virus, these simple steps can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Guidance for Health Care Providers
See the CDC Site for Healthcare Providers for additional information
Protect Yourselves (healthcare providers)
- Screen patients and visitors for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before entering your healthcare facility. Keep up to date on the recommendations for preventing spread of COVID-19
- Ensure proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE). Healthcare personnel who come in close contact with confirmed or possible patients with COVID-19 should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
Protect Your Patients
- Stay up to date on the best ways to manage patients with COVID-19
- Separate patients with respiratory symptoms so they are not waiting among other patients seeking care. Identify a separate, well-ventilated space that allows waiting patients and visitors to be separated
- Consider the strategies to prevent patients who can be cared for at home from coming to your facility, potentially exposing themselves or others
- Use telephone system to deliver messages to incoming callers about when to seek medical care at your facility, when to seek emergency care and where to go for information about caring for a person with COVID at home
- Adjust your hours of operation to include telephone triage and follow-up of patients during a community outbreak
- Leverage telemedicine technologies and self-assessment tools.
Additional Guidelines and Instructions for Healthcare Providers treating patients in private practice:
- Reschedule non-urgent outpatient visits as necessary.
- Consider reaching out to patients who may be a higher risk of COVID-19-related complications (e.g., elderly, those with medical co-morbidities, and potentially other persons who are at higher risk for complications from respiratory diseases, such as pregnant women) to ensure adherence to current medications and therapeutic regimens, confirm they have sufficient medication refills, and provide instructions to notify their provider by phone if they become ill.
- Consider accelerating the timing of high priority screening and intervention needs for the short-term, in anticipation of the possible need to manage an influx of COVID-19 patients in the weeks to come.
- Symptomatic patients who need to be seen in a clinical setting should be asked to call before they leave home, so staff are ready to receive them using appropriate infection control practices and personal protective equipment.
- Eliminate patient penalties for cancellations and missed appointments related to respiratory illness.
- CDC Interim Guidance for Healthcare Facilities
- CDC Clinical Care Guidance
- What healthcare personnel should know about caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID 2019
- Healthcare Infection Control Guidance
- FAQ on Infection Control
- Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations
New Yorkers Rely on Lina for Essential Healthcare
Every week, thousands of people walk through Lina’s doors to receive essential care and treatment, and this need must be weighed against the risk of contracting COVID-19, for Lina Staff, Lina Practitioners and everyday New Yorkers who visit Lina. Hundreds of Practitioners rely on Lina to run their practice, and their patients and clients rely on Lina practitioners for needed treatment. When updating our policies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, this fact is not taken lightly. It is also important to distinguish between perceived public health risk and actual public health risk, closely monitor the situation as it unfolds, and take swift action when necessary. Further resources and guidance is below.