Testing of asymptomatic children

Good afternoon! I wanted to ask what other pediatric practices are doing with this scenario.

My private practice office has been testing children for covid (send out lab) when the child is symptomatic and is negative for flu and strept this summer. In Las Vegas, we are having many parents test positive for COVID. The parents then call our office to see if we are testing asymptomatic children? My providers are expressing concern of testing this asymptomatic group in office. Have providers been sending their patients to health department and other locations? As the owner, I look at this as an opportunity to charge a visit and test-business side of me.

I am discouraging testing unless it really needs to be done. I discourage testing of family members of positive members. I recommend they assume they have it and quarantine. I discourage testing asymptomatics when they “just want to know.” And after I discourage I gladly test anyone that insists because I, too, am a business owner.

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I believe you should be seeing those patients in your office and getting paid for the visit. We see them. We cannot afford to send our patients away out of fear. We all need those visits now more than ever. It’s also a patient pleaser and the right thing to do if you have the testing materials. I JUST READ THERE ARE NEW PAYMENT GUIDELINES FOR COUNSELING REGARDING TESTING. YOU NEED TO TELL PATIENT/FAMILY TO QUARANTINE AND COUNSEL.
Staff can test the patient standing more to the side of the patient not directly in front while wearing PPE. We do nasal only. Safer in my mind.

Of course, your staff does not want to see them, but these are low risk visits and low chance of exposure to you and your staff if they are wearing PPE. You have the benefit of knowing they are COVID exposed.

In my office, staff is instructed to treat EVERY parent and child as if they have COVID. Like universal precautions. We are using All the strict rules and screenings (Masks, one parent, 6 feet except exam…I need longer arms.)

So many things we cannot do these days and practicing medicine has gotten less fun. I am so missing the joys of a child wanting to come over to me sitting on my stool and playing hide and seek…so I focus on what we can do and we can screen and educate and quell fear. Parents will be appreciative and this helps staff morale…at least mine.

Good luck and stay well,
Mary Beth O’Hara,D.O.
Ideal Pediatric and Adolescent Care, P.C.

We test symptomatic patients plus if they have exposure to positive COVID people. We don’t test patients because they “want to test”, “to go to camp”, workplace clearance etc. We found that Z11.59 is not payable with many plans. Dr O’Hara, which ICD do you use and is it payable?