On April 1, 2020, Governor DeSantis ordered a statewide lockdown. As we all know, everything basically ground to a halt. Schools closed, stores and many non-essential businesses closed. Our community swiftly changed to deal with our new homebound lives. And this private medical practice scrambled to adapt so that we could keep serving our patients. COVID’s arrival did not halt all other medical problems.
We tackled doing ZOOM medicine (briefly) while we got the HIPAA-protected module for our electronic medical record operational. We pushed to get as many patients connected to the practice through the FollowMyHealth platform. And we learned how to navigate getting the emergency appendectomy or the cardiac cath without engaging the emergency rooms. We call it McGuyvering. We want to limit our patients’ exposure to those high risk environments.
We’ve been super blessed to have such flexible patients. You all have made this process functional. And this is a scrappy small business. We don’t have a hospital corporation, a university or a private equity fund that subsidizes us. Primary Care Physicians is like any other small business that have been fighting for its survival. And it has been sad to watch some of our favorite small business forever close. We are doing everything possible to survive.
We applied for the PPP program with the help of our bank, Capital City Bank. We have managed to keep all of our staff employed, on payroll and insured. We had a few unexpected crises: the phone system fried during an electrical storm (GRU documented a lightening strike) and we had one of our four A/C units die. Big ticket items that required emergency purchases. And that telemedicine module for the EHR wasn’t a freebee.
But there have been some truly great things that have happened. Abigail Eley, DNP got married (finally!) Her wedding had to be postponed four months. And every single day, one of you asks me how you can help. It is heartwarming for you to ask me if I am okay. The kindness has been lovely. And I spent some time in discernment about how to respond when you all ask me how you can help us.
So, this is how you can help: you can come in and get your medical care. Come for your routine physicals. If you have a mole that looks funky, we can biopsy it. If you need refills, that means it’s time to come and get your blood pressure checked. We check everyone’s temperature before entering our building. We screen everyone. And as of today, none of us have been sick from COVID.
This won’t last forever. The probabilities are that we will eventually get sick. We likely have another year of wearing masks, socially distancing and being super careful. And I want to stay in practice and serve this community And to do that, we need to see patients either in the office or via telemedicine every day.
So let us help you and while we do…you help us.
May you all be blessed and safe. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. And maybe you can share with us how you have spent some of your time during COVID. Any new projects? Picked up a new hobby? Read any good books?
And if you need your flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine or an update on your tetanus (because you are doing some home DIY project), we can get that taken care of, too.