March 18, 2020
To all of my patients,
Tonight, after much prayer and consideration, reviewing many emails and professional statements from different national medical organizations, as well as watching COVID 19 pop up further into Acadiana, I have made the following decisions.
- I am delaying all elective surgeries. Surgeries that involve the oral cavity and nasal cavity have a higher chance of aerosolizing the virus into the immediate air around the surgical team. The nasopharynx (back of the nose) contains some of the highest viral load in infected patients, and we do not know who may be infected. This increases the chances of infecting healthcare providers that are needed to care for our community. If there is a true emergency, then the risk ratio is reasonable, but still scary for the medical providers who need the protective gear to care for these patients. If we are in short supply during a surge of infections, then the protective gear will not be available if it has been used for elective surgical cases.
- I am delaying all nasal and laryngeal endoscopy procedures in the office setting, as well as oral cavity procedures. Just like the nasal cavity, the oral cavity contains a high source of viral load and it is easily aerosolized by a cough while in close proximity during a procedure. In addition, endoscopy through the nasopharynx and down to the larynx is similar to the action required to get a COVID 19 swab. So you can see why disturbing this area with a scope during a procedure is dangerous. Even though these procedures are very important in the analysis of an ENT patient, I do not want to jeopardize myself or staff during this time. We will resume as soon as it is deemed safe in our community after the virus has run its course.
- I am still going to hold a clinic, but I will be attempting to transition some of my office appointments to Telemedicine appointments as indicated. WE ARE NOT CLOSING THE OFFICE COMPLETELY. So far, we have had success this week working out the kinks, and I now feel comfortable that we have a plan and protocol in place to see scheduled patients in this new fashion. Telemedicine visits will allow us to safely care for our indicated patients while at the same time protecting our healthcare team in this difficult and scary time. We will also be seeing those patients who want to come into the office and are not acutely ill with symptoms suspicious for the FLU or COVID 19.
- I will be seeing new patients, referrals, and call-ins via Telemedicine visits or traditional office visits. If you are not a current patient of mine at Hebert Medical Group, you can still call in to set up a Telemedicine visit with me, Dr. Hebert. As things settle down, I will be transitioning back into a routine clinic schedule and would love to meet all of the new patients in person! As always, we are STILL ACCEPTING new patients and referrals as typical in-office visits.
- Allergy testing and allergy shots WILL CONTINUE as indicated until further notice. Currently, we are testing in the Jennings office on Tuesdays and Thursdays in a 1:1 environment. We are offering allergy shots in Jennings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in Eunice at Dr. Charice Hebert’s office ( my old office) on Wednesday and Fridays. Please contact our allergy department for further information.
- Audiology & Balance testing WILL CONTINUE. We have audiology capabilities and hearing aid fittings at both of our Jennings and Lafayette( Fyzical )offices. We have Balance testing only at our Fyzical office.
- FYZICAL office: PT ( Physical Therapy) is open and seeing patients. Balance therapy, Vestibular therapy, and Wellness patients are welcome as well as other routine PT patients.
- CT Sinus Scanner is in storage. We are currently sending our sinus CT scans to the affiliated hospitals closest to our patients. Please see below for the explanation. The new home for the scanner is scheduled to be complete in late May. I miss the convenience for myself and my patients of a same-day CT sinus scan and office visit. But, it will be back in action soon!
Now for some POSITIVE news!
For all of our patients who have traveled to see us over the last 4 weeks, since we moved out of our old medical office building, I want to thank you all and send a BIG SHOUT OUT to your belief in me and our team. I realize this has been a significant inconvenience, and I eagerly await the day we will be back in Eunice and have all three functional offices up and running.
Currently, we are in the phase of site prep and dirt work on our new lot, which connects due South to Live Oak Medical Park and behind the main office building. We will have a modular office on-site and operational in mid-May to June depending on construction time and barring any delays due to this COVID 19 pandemic. We are excited to see the finished product and our new home under the live oaks. Please see the photos of our new lot and progress!
Please, please, please, stay safe by social distancing and taking this COVID 19 threat as a serious threat to our communities, our way of life and ultimately to our own lives and those we love.
Richard L. Hebert, II, MD