MIT Medical reopens for in-person visits
Guidelines for on-site patients include wearing face coverings, physical distancing, and special check-in and check-out procedures
MIT Medical will reopen for in-person visits in Primary Care, Pediatrics, and “most specialties,” MIT Medical Director Cecilia Stuopis ’90 wrote in an email to MIT Medical patients June 29. However, the telehealth system used since MIT Medical’s implementation of its COVID-19 pandemic plan in March will remain in place.
Stuopis wrote that patients who need to be seen “most urgently” will be prioritized for an in-person visit. Some appointments will be “hybrid,” with a meeting “over video or telephone, followed by a briefer in-person exam and any necessary lab work.”
Patients “who had time-sensitive services that were cancelled or delayed this spring including vaccines, well-child checks, and follow-up of chronic conditions” will be prioritized for in-person visits, Stuopis wrote in an email to The Tech. Care for patients “who are ill and need to be treated quickly continues to be available” via appointment.
Stuopis added in her email to The Tech that other patients, particularly healthy adults requesting physicals or well checks, “are lower priority because their needs aren't as medically urgent.”
“Many of our clinicians are already available for telehealth visits” via the MIT Medical HealthELife portal and “more are joining the platform every week,” Stuopis wrote to patients.
In her email to The Tech, Stuopis added that MIT Medical has “ramped up its telehealth capabilities” and is in compliance with Massachusetts guidelines, which state that telehealth “must continue to be utilized and prioritized, whenever feasible and appropriate.”
Stuopis wrote to patients that those on-site must wear a face mask at all times. Patients may be accompanied by up to one other individual.
“To preserve social distancing, we need to limit the number of people in the building,” Stuopis wrote to patients, adding that patients who are late to their appointments may be rescheduled to a different date. Patients that arrive before their scheduled appointment time should wait in their vehicle or outside the building “at least six feet away from others.”
A staff member will greet patients at the entrance of the building and perform a “brief COVID-19 screening and temperature check,” after which patients will be sent to their appropriate check-in points, Stuopis wrote. Elevators will be limited to two occupants.
Stuopis wrote to patients that after check-in, they will be asked to wait for a clinician directly in an exam room rather than the typical waiting room. Check-out and scheduling of lab work or follow-up appointments will also happen in the same room at the end of the exam.
Patients with lab work or imaging appointments after their in-person exam may be asked to stay in the exam room until the lab or radiology center is ready for them.
Stuopis wrote that to comply with Massachusetts guidelines, “all lab visits require appointments,” which “may be scheduled on the same day as your clinical visit, or, in some cases, you may need to come back on a different day.” MIT Medical will not accept walk-ins for lab work, “even for routine tests.”
Stuopis wrote that MIT Medical is “closely following guidance from the state” and “may need to make changes if the virus begins to spread again.”
MIT Medical previously removed the option for in-person visits starting March 17 and restructured its facilities to “prioritize essential services for children and adults and urgent student mental health and counseling services,” according to its pandemic plan.
Information about the in-person operating status of particular services or specialties can be found on the MIT Medical website. Patients who wish to make an appointment should call 617-253-4905.
MIT Medical will continue to update patients on any operating status changes through its newsletter and its COVID-19 updates site. All questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.