“As a new practice, this couldn’t have come at a worse time for us because it really impacted us growing,” Dr. Rekha Sivadasan said.
Sivadasan and her fellow physician, Dr. Sandeepa Rajadhyaksha, opened the pediatric clinic on Warren Parkway in August 2019.
To keep their new practice afloat, the physicians said they had to quickly adjust services to address patient concerns and follow safety regulations.
Kids’ World Pediatrics started implementing telemedicine in March, Sivadasan said, which parents appreciated and used. The clinic also abided by the Texas Medical Board’s guidelines for postponing off non-emergent, in-person visits, Rajadhyaksha said.
“We even put off some of the well checks that did not require vaccination,” she said.
The clinic is currently requiring masks for physicians and patients over 2 years old, screening for the virus when scheduling appointments and staggering appointments by bringing well children in the mornings and sick children in the afternoons, the physicians said.
Centennial Pediatrics is following similar measures, said Dr. Courtney Tran, a pediatrician. The practice, which started in Frisco in 2002, has been meeting sick patients through telemedicine up until the child needs to be evaluated, she said.
“Most of the time, we’re actually bringing them up to the office through a car visit,” Tran said.
The Frisco and Little Elm clinics have areas for private car visits where providers can come out in personal protective equipment, Tran said.
Car visits reduce the risk of bringing a patient with fever into the clinic, she said, where well patients are still being seen.
Tran said it is important for younger patients to be seen in person if possible.
“In exam findings, you would not be able to hear a heart murmur if you didn’t see a kid in person,” Tran said.
While businesses are beginning to reopen, Rajadhyaksha said there is still a hesitancy among parents to come in for appointments.
“We worry that a by-product will be kids who are behind on their vaccinations or behind on development,” she said.
Developmental delays in patients, such as motor skills and speech, may not get caught in time without regular evaluations, Rajadhyaksha said.
Additionally, Tran said parents of newborns need to bring their babies in regularly for evaluations.
“It’s really vital that newborns, especially after the first few days after birth, [are getting] their weight checked. We’re checking their jaundice level and if they’re eating,” she said.
Tran said Centennial Pediatrics plans to keep its current safety guidelines in place until more is known about the coronavirus.
At Kids’ World Pediatrics, Rajadhyaksha said the physicians will continue listening to physician leaders to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on children.
New patients interested in setting up an appointment can call the clinic to learn about its updated safety protocols, Sivadasan said.
“[We will do] anything that we can do to reassure them that we are here to continue to serve their children,” Sivadasan said. “We never truly closed through it all. We’re here.”