Why Forest Lane Pediatrics is Still Open & How We are Keeping our Staff and Patients Safe

Why Forest Lane Pediatrics is Still Open

How We are Keeping our Staff and Patients Safe

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic and local orders to “Shelter in Place,” it is appropriate to question why any business remains open and whether or not it is safe to go there. 

Why is FLP still open? 

  • Medical clinics are considered essential businesses. Ensuring the delivery of newborn and well-child care, including immunizations, remains a priority according to the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Aside from the threat of Coronavirus, there are other serious health issues and vaccine-preventable illnesses that will continue to affect children. As per the CDC’s guidance, we are continuing to see children aged 2 years and under for those Well Visits where vaccines are due. While we need to socially distance to protect from Coronavirus, we also must maintain optimal health for our young children. Well Visits for older children will be rescheduled as soon as it is safe to do so.  
  • Kids will still get sick from other infections and illnesses. Unfortunately, all of the usual childhood illnesses and infections didn’t get the message that they are supposed to take a break right now. We will continue to remain open so that we can continue to care for our patients in their time of need. 

How is FLP keeping their staff and patients safe?

COVID-19 infection is still relatively new, but we now have months of information about the virus and how it spreads. This particular strain of Coronavirus is so dangerous because it can cause severe illness, lives on surfaces for several days, takes 4-9 days for infected persons to show symptoms, and can be spread by asymptomatic people. This perfect storm of factors has led to the pandemic that we are in. 

The good news is that because we have learned more about how the virus is spread, we are now better able to avoid it. We have lots of information from the CDC, Infectious Disease experts, and Critical Care doctors who have witnessed this virus first-hand. From these experts, we have learned that it is not common to get Coronavirus by being in the same room for a brief time with someone who is sick. While the virus can linger as an aerosol in the air, it is not an airborne virus, and transmission by air is not a common way people get the infection. People are primarily infected by touching larger droplets containing the virus and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. If infection occurs from eating, it is because of viral droplets on the hands touching the mouth, not because of food contamination. Multiple reports suggest that a person can be in the same room with someone who has Coronavirus for 10-15 minutes with minimal risk of exposure. Hand hygiene and avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and face are the single most important elements for preventing infection. The risk is lessened even more if people are a minimum of 6 feet apart or at least one of the people is wearing a mask.  Standard surgical masks are enough to help decrease risk in this setting. Based on this information we have instituted the following protocols and procedures to create a safe environment at Forest Lane Pediatrics:

  • We are limiting the number of doctors and staff working in the office each day as well as the number of patients seen each day. This will allow us to practice social distancing while in the office and avoid large groups of people gathering together in the waiting room or at check out. 
  • We are screening all doctors and staff for signs of fever and cough every day. Any doctors or staff with symptoms suspicious for Coronavirus are not allowed to come to the office. 
  • We are screening all parents for fever and cough. No parent with fever or cough will be allowed into the office. 
  • We are limiting the patients we see in the office who have fever and/or cough. When possible, we are evaluating these patients via Virtual Visit. If an exam is needed, then we are taking extra precautions to isolate those children from other patients.
  • We are temporarily allowing only one parent per patient in the office for each visit, with the exception of newborn follow-ups and 2-week well visits, where two parents are welcome.  If you have childcare available for siblings who are not being seen for an appointment, please leave them at home.
  • To minimize time spent in the office we are requiring CHADIS be completed prior to all Well Visit appointments and insurance be verified prior to all appointments.
  • We are separating Well children from Sick children by having Well visits in the morning and Sick Visits in the afternoon.
  • All staff and doctors are wearing masks and gloves for every patient encounter. This serves as a precaution for you and for us, not because we suspect staff members are sick.
  • We have instituted enhanced cleaning protocols for the waiting rooms, exam rooms, common areas, and equipment. 

We value the trust you have placed in us as healthcare providers for your children. We strive daily to protect the health of your family, as well as the health of our physicians and staff.  We look forward to healthier times and seeing you soon.  

Sincerely, 

The Physicians of Forest Lane Pediatrics

 

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

 

*Updated March 29, 2020*

Do I need to worry about my kids getting COVID-19

It would be great if no child got this illness, but the one good thing about this virus is that it appears to be less severe in children compared to adults. The journal Pediatrics recently published an examination of all of the pediatric cases reported by the Chinese Center for Disease Control. Their data showed that over 90% of all pediatric cases were asymptomatic, mild, or moderate cases.  Only 6% of pediatric patients became seriously ill compared to 18.5% of adults. Of those children who were seriously ill, more than 60% were age 5 and under and 32% were under 12 months old. Of the 2143 children confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 in the study, there was only 1 death. All of this confirms that children are more likely than adults to have mild symptoms and in general tolerate this illness better than adults. However, it also showed that very young children, and children with chronic medical conditions are still at risk for serious illness.

If children don’t get sick, why are schools closed and government officials recommending Social Distancing for everyone?

While the risk of death or serious injury is low for those that are young and healthy, this is a very dangerous illness with significant risk of mortality for those who are immunocompromised, have chronic medical conditions, or are over the age of 60. The mortality rate of COVID-19 for people age 50 years and under who have no pre-existing conditions is around 0.2%, which is similar to the Flu. For people age 80 and older that number jumps to 15-25%. The current recommendations for social distancing and cancelling of large gatherings is intended to “Flatten the Curve” of the illness. The less we all have interactions with each other, the less opportunity there is for the virus to spread, and the less likely that more people get sick than we have the ability to care for. These efforts can be thought of as being similar to the herd immunity that the community receives from vaccines. When we vaccinate all who are able to be vaccinated, we protect those who are not able to be vaccinated. In the same way, when we all minimize our exposure to large groups of people and avoid unnecessary social gatherings we are doing our part to protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 in our community.

How do I protect myself and my children?

The virus is spread from person to person when one person coughs or sneezes and another person inhales the infectious droplets or touches a surface that the infectious droplets are on and then touches their mouth, eyes, or nose. The good news is that we can only spread these infectious droplets about 6 feet when we cough or sneeze, and a much shorter distance when we cough into our elbow. The bad news is that one study showed that the virus can live in the air for up to 3 hours and on some surfaces for up to 3 days, although it is unclear how these studies translate to real world spread of the illness. Based on this information, it is clear that the best way to prevent getting COVID-19 is to wash your hands and stay 6 feet away from anyone who has a cough.

To clean your hands of any infectious particles, wash them with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, then use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and allow it to sit on the hands for 20 seconds. Do not apply hand sanitizer and then immediately wipe it off, it needs time to kill any germs on your hands. It is especially important to clean your hands prior to meals or any activity when you will be putting your hands near your face. Check out this video to learn proper hand washing technique.

Avoiding large crowds or public places is the best way to ensure that you have a 6 foot buffer between you and strangers. If it is necessary to go to a public place, then be mindful of your surroundings and make sure that your gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people. There are special types of masks that can filter out small viral particles called N-95’s, however these should be reserved for use by healthcare professionals as there is currently a global shortage. There is evidence that regular masks, often referred to as surgical masks, can provide some protection when in public places. A recent article from the New York Times reported, “When researchers conducted systematic review of a variety of interventions used during the SARS outbreak in 2003, they found that washing hands more than 10 times daily was 55 percent effective in stopping virus transmission, while wearing a mask was actually more effective — at about 68 percent. Wearing gloves offered about the same amount of protection as frequent hand-washing, and combining all measures — hand-washing, masks, gloves and a protective gown — increased the intervention effectiveness to 91 percent.” If you have a cough and must be around other people, then it is necessary to wear a mask. During this outbreak, the only reason a person with cough should leave the house is to seek medical care. For instructions on how to properly use a mask click here.

For instructions on how to clean your home for Coronavirus, go here.

How do I know if my child has COVID-19

Unfortunately it is very difficult to tell from the symptoms alone if someone has COVID-19 as this virus is in the Coronavirus family which is a family of virus that cause the common cold. As a result COVID-19 starts as a common cold, but in some people it progresses to also cause viral pneumonia. The symptoms of viral pneumonia are similar to bacterial pneumonia which are fever and shortness of breath. The fever with COVID-19 often shows up several days into the illness which is different from the flu which typically has fever in the first 1-2 days of symptoms. Another distinguishing characteristic is that the shortness of breath typically does not show up until the second week of illness.

Below are the symptoms typically associated with COVID-19 as well as other conditions that may look like it. Due to the rapid spread of this illness, we advise that anyone with cough self quarantine.

  • Allergies
    • Itchy eyes
    • Stuffy nose
    • Sneezing
  • Cold
    • Runny nose
    • Cough
  • Flu
    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Body Aches
    • Cough
    • Worsening Symptoms
  • COVID-19
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of Breath
    • Worsening symptoms
    • Exposure history

How do I know if my child has been exposed to COVID-19?

Close contact per the Dallas Health Department is defined as:

  • Being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case
  • Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on). If such contact occurs while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (PPE), criteria for PUI consideration are met.
  • Affected areas are defined as geographic regions where sustained community transmission has been identified. For a list of countries with sustained community spread, visit this CDC website. For information regarding cities in the United States with high rates of spread, go here

Can I still bring my kids to the office?

No. While Shelter In Place is in effect we will only see newborns, 2 week and 2 month well visits. All other visits will be handled by virtual visit or referral to an Urgent Care Center or Emergency Department.

Can my child be tested for COVID-19?

*UPDATE* As of March 23, 2020 we will no longer be offering COVID-19 testing. The current guidelines are that if a person has cough or fever, they need to stay home and self quarantine for 14 days. If the person is having labored breathing, dehydration, or significant worsening of symptoms, then they should present to a local Emergency Department or facility that is providing testing.  The following facilities are offering testing:

Medical City ER Stonebridge
8995 W University Dr., McKinney, TX 75071

Medical City ER Red Oak
317 East Ovilla Road, Red Oak, TX 75154

Medical City ER Flower Mound
4351 Long Prairie Rd, Flower Mound, TX 75028

Medical City ER Park Cities
5974 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75225

If you are concerned that you or your child may have COVID-19, please call before going to any healthcare facility so they can prepare for your arrival.

Yes, we now have the ability to test for COVID-19, but we do not have the proper protective equipment to protect our staff when doing the testing and we do not anticipate to have that equipment anytime soon. To get around this problem we are making drive by testing available in the parking lot of our Mesquite office, however the child must first be evaluated by virtual visit. Once the doctor has determined that testing is appropriate and the child is not sick enough to require immediate evaluation in the Emergency Department, an order for the test will be created. A member of our staff will then call the parent and schedule a time to arrive at the Mesquite clinic for testing. We will not accept walk in appointments or attempts to get swabbed for COVID-19 without first having a virtual visit. This test is covered by insurance and takes 48-72 hours to get the results. If you do not have insurance the cost of the test is $150.

If you would like testing for yourself or you are unable to bring your child to our Mesquite clinic for testing, Magnolia Diagnostics will deliver a kit to your home, collect the kit, and then contact you with the results. To request a testing kit email: coronavirus@magnoliadiagnostics.com with your name, address, phone number and the amount of household swabs you would like to be performed. Please be aware that the cost of this service is $300.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

 

 

 

 

*Updated March 29, 2020*

The information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly changing, but we will do our best to keep our families informed with the most up to date information. Initially there were hopes that the virus could be contained, but the rapid spread across multiple countries indicates that opportunity has been lost. The goal now is to “flatten the curve” of the illness. This means taking measures to limit the spread of the illness so that the healthcare system in the United States is not overwhelmed with critically sick people all at once. If the number of people who get sick can be spread out overtime then the healthcare system is capable of caring for those who get critically ill. The current mortality rate is believed to be 2-4%, but the risk of death or serious illness varies by age. The highest mortality rates are in those age 80 and older (~20%) while those age 50 and under with no pre-existing conditions have a mortality rate around 0.2%, which is similar to the Flu. Children age 10 and under seem to do even better as they have mild symptoms or don’t get it at all. While this disease appears to be much less severe for children than adults it is still a deadly virus and has been declared a national emergency.

Dallas County is currently under a Shelter In Place order and we are advising that all of our patients comply with this directive. This means that everyone is advised to stay home except for essential activities or work to provide essential business and government services or perform essential public infrastructure construction, including housing.

Should we travel, visit with friends, or leave our house? are common questions that we are being asked by parents. The truth of the matter is there is no simple answer to these questions and the answer is changing by the day as more people get infected. When assessing how we need to modify our lives in light of this pandemic, it is necessary to recognize that there are two different issues we need to consider. The first is personal safety, the second is public safety.

If we were trying to determine what to do based solely on you and your family’s personal safety, the answer would be to live your life. Unless you have a chronic medical condition, smoke, or are elderly, there is a very low risk of a bad outcome from COVID-19. Even young infants have tolerated the illness very well and there have been no deaths reported in children ages 9 and under.

If we are making decisions based solely out of a concern for the public safety then closing schools, bars, and restaurants starts to make sense. While the risk of death or serious injury is low for those that are young and healthy, this is a very dangerous illness with significant risk of mortality for those who are immunocompromised, have chronic medical conditions, or are over the age of 60. The less we all have interactions with each other, the less opportunity there is for the virus to spread, and the less likely that more people get sick than we have the ability to care for. The current recommendations for social distancing and cancelling of large gatherings can be thought of as being similar to the herd immunity that the community receives from vaccines. When we vaccinate all who are able to be vaccinated, we protect those who are not able to be vaccinated. In the same way, when we all minimize our exposure to large groups of people and avoid unnecessary social gatherings we are doing our part to protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 in our community.

We recommend you follow the CDC’s guidelines for prevention of infection which now include the recommendation to avoid gatherings of 50 people or more. COVID-19 is a collective problem that requires a collective solution and sacrifices from all of us. If you are concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 and have questions about testing please call us or schedule a Virtual Visit. If you believe you may have been exposed do not come to the office as this puts other people at risk. If it is after hours or you have questions about yourself, visit MedicalCityVirtualCare.com and select the COVID-19 option to begin a free screen courtesy of Medical City Hospital.

What if you or your child has been exposed? The good news is that 80% of people who contract the virus have a mild course and will make a full recovery with minimal intervention.

  • If your child has been exposed to COVID-19 and is well
    • Do not come to the office
    • Supportive care and self quarantine from other people is all that is required
    • If you would like your child tested, call our office for guidance.
    • We have Virtual Visits available to evaluate your child from the comfort of your own home and determine whether or not there is evidence of serious illness.
  • If your child is ill and has been exposed to COVID-19
    • Do not come to the office
    • If your child requires immediate medical attention call 911
    • If you are not sure if your child is ill we are happy to assess your child via a Virtual Visit to help you determine if a visit to the Emergency Department is necessary.
    • If you believe your child needs to be seen at an Emergency Department, call prior to going so they can make arrangements to protect themselves and other patients from possible exposure.
  • Do not come to the office without calling and notifying us first if you have done the following in the past 14 days:

What steps can you take to minimize your child’s risk of exposure:

  • Wash your hands and your children’s hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is especially important prior to meals or any activity when you will be putting your hands near your face. Check out this video to learn proper hand washing technique.
  • There is evidence that regular masks, often referred to as surgical masks, can provide some protection when in public places. A recent article from the New York Times reported, “When researchers conducted systematic review of a variety of interventions used during the SARS outbreak in 2003, they found that washing hands more than 10 times daily was 55 percent effective in stopping virus transmission, while wearing a mask was actually more effective — at about 68 percent. Wearing gloves offered about the same amount of protection as frequent hand-washing, and combining all measures — hand-washing, masks, gloves and a protective gown — increased the intervention effectiveness to 91 percent.”
  • If you or your child are sick with fever or cold symptoms, stay home and do not go to public places. If you must leave the house, then wear a mask to prevent the spread of infection.
  • If your child is immunocompromised or has a chronic medical condition we advise avoidance of all public areas and interaction only with people known to be free of illness. 
  • If you need to come to the office for a visit, bring the minimum number of people necessary for the visit.

For updates on the current outbreak visit the Center For Disease Control’s COVID-19 Summary Page. For updates about the virus in Texas, go here. To learn more about COVID-19 and how to protect your children, check out this website from the American Academy of Pediatrics. For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19, check out this helpful FAQ provided by the CDC. 

For tips on how to talk to your children about Coronavirus, check out this pediatrician approved comic and video. As with all media about difficult topics, we recommend you watch these videos before you show them to your kids so you can confirm it is appropriate and be ready to answer any questions they may have. If you would prefer an article that walks you through how to talk to your child about Coronavirus as well as provide tips on how to listen to your child’s fears, check out this article.

For information about travel, check out this helpful Q&A from the Wall Street Journal as well as this guide from the CDC.

We will provide updates as they become available. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or message us on the portal. Please be aware that at this time our ability to test for COVID-19 is limited. We are however, still able to test for the flu as well as examine your child to determine if the source of a fever is a viral or bacterial infection. If your child has a fever don’t hesitate to schedule a visit, just be sure to let us know if your child has travelled internationally in the past 2 weeks or has had exposure to someone with, or suspected to have, COVID-19. We are working on making Virtual Visits available for those families for whom the child is believed to be highly contagious or for children who have conditions for which the diagnosis would not require an in-person physical exam. If you believe your child might benefit from a Virtual Visit instead of an in-person visit, then call and request to speak with a nurse.

2019 Winter Holiday Hours

Tuesday, December 24:

  • Mesquite office Closed
  • Dallas and Frisco offices open from 8 – 10 AM

Wednesday, December 25:

  • all offices Closed

Saturday, December 28

  • only Dallas clinic open from 8 -10 AM

Tuesday, December 31:

  • Mesquite office Closed
  • Dallas and Frisco offices open from 8 – 10 AM

Wednesday, January 1:

  • all offices closed

Ranitidine Recall

The FDA has announced a voluntary recall of certain lots of ranitidine syrup.  The medication affected is a generic form of Zantac produced by Lannett Company, Inc.   By our records, your child may be currently on this product.  Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend that you stop giving your infant or child this medication until you can verify that your prescription is not part of this recall.  We recommend that you contact the pharmacy where you received the medication.  They can verify whether your prescription was affected by the recall and may be able to provide the same medication from a different manufacturer.  Please contact our office if you need to switch to an alternative medication.  More details about the recall are available at the FDA website.

D Magazine Best Doctors 2019

Congratulations to Drs. Kravitz, Mannering, Mitchell, and Straughn for being selected by D Magazine as Best Doctors in Dallas for 2019.

 

New Mesquite office April 2019

Forest Lane Pediatrics is pleased to announce that we will be opening a new office at 1600 Republic Parkway in Mesquite, Texas April 8, 2019! The office will be open Monday – Friday and the doctors staffing the clinic are as follows:

Monday: Dr. Blair
Tuesday: Dr. Straughn
Wednesday: Dr. Blair
Thursday: Dr. Mitchell
Friday: Dr. Blair (am) / Drs. Clarke, Copeland, Strong, or Tang (pm)

2019 Mom Approved Doctors

Congratulations to Drs. Clarke, Straughn, and Strong from our Dallas office and Drs. McGonnell and Mannering from our Plano office for being voted Mom Approved Doctors by DFW Child Magazine! We think they are great and we are pleased that local moms agree!

The Perfect Workout Event January 31, 2019

The Perfect Workout is hosting a fitness seminar for children ages 6 and up in our B-308 office at Medical City Dallas on January 31 at 4:30 pm. Come join us for:

  • 30 minutes of fun, strength building games and exercises
  • Learn ways to help kids stay active and enjoy being healthy
  • Learn about low glycemic snacks that are sweet and savory
  • Receive easy-to-follow recipes for lunch boxes and after school snacks
  • Q&A with certified personal trainers and nutritional coaches
  • Free workout session vouchers for teenagers and adults

Saturday Clinic in Plano

We are pleased to announce that we now have Saturday morning clinic in both the Dallas and Plano offices. To schedule a same day sick appointment on Saturday, call the office you would like to be seen in between 8 and 10 am. Please be aware that on holiday weekends the Plano Saturday clinic may be canceled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and Forest Lane Pediatrics would like to invite you to join our fundraising efforts in support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Click here to purchase a T-Shirt, and all proceeds go directly to Susan G. Komen Foundation!

2018- 2019 Flu Vaccine is Here

Flu vaccine for children ages 6 months and older are now available. This year’s vaccine has been updated to cover the new Influenza A strain that appeared last year. It is recommended that all adults and all children six months and older receive the vaccine every year. As always, we will be giving quadrivalent (four strains) preservative-free vaccines. In addition, we will be offering the Flumist nasal vaccine to children over two years old. To read more about the influenza vaccines for this year, visit the CDC website.

We will be offering several Saturday morning vaccine clinics in both offices this winter. Our first clinic will be at our Medical City Dallas office on 9/15/18 and in Texas Health Plano office on 9/22/18. We will also be able to schedule weekday vaccine appointments on select days at both offices.  You can schedule an appointment for a Saturday vaccine clinic through the Patient Portal, or by contacting either office during regular office hours. The Dallas phone number is 972-284-7770 and Plano is 972-526-0700.

2018 DFW Mom Approve Doctors

Congratulations to Drs. McGonnell, Mitchell, and Straughn on being chosen Mom Approved Doctors by DFW Child Magazine!

2017 D Magazine Best Doctors

 

Congratulations to Drs. Kravitz, Mitchell, and Straughn for being selected by D Magazine as the best Pediatricians in Dallas!

Flu Vaccine 2017

Flu Season is here and we have flu vaccine available in both offices. To schedule your child’s flu shot, please click Make an Appointment or log in to your Patient Portal and choose “Injection/Vaccination” as the Appointment Reason. When asked to choose a provider, select “Flu Clinic Dallas” or “Flu Clinic Plano” then choose your appointment time.

 

Labor Day 2017

Both the Dallas and Plano offices will be closed Monday, September 4, 2017 for Labor Day. Both offices will open and resume regular hours on Tuesday, September 5.

Insurance Concerns

Due to Forest Lane Pediatrics joining Privia Medical Group you may receive a notification from your insurance provider that we will no longer be in-network with that provider come October. Please be assured that we are still in-network with all insurance providers we accepted previously except Blue Advantage. Our old contracts were terminated when we joined Privia which triggered the sending of the letter by our old contract provider. What the letter fails to mention is that we now have new contracts through Privia so there is no gap in our in-network status and ability to care for patients on the plans we accept.

As expected with insurance providers, there may be some technical hiccups during this transition. For example, if your insurance requires you to identify a Primary Care Physician (PCP) for your child, you will likely need to call them and reassign your doctor as the termination of our old contract likely disassociated your doctor’s name from your child’s insurance plan. Another problem some families may run into is that some of the insurance providers are slowly re-adding the names of our providers to their directory. This may mean that when you call to confirm that your doctor is in-network, they may say that she is not. We recognize this is frustrating and we are doing our best to resolve this issue. Please be assured, that even if the insurance provider does not have your doctor listed as being in-network, if your insurance is listed on our approved list, then we are in-network for your provider. If you have any questions about your insurance coverage, please message us through the portal or email our billing coordinator Maria@ForestLanePediatrics.com.

Our pediatricians have been honored by D Magazine, Voted Best Pediatricians

Congratulations to:

Michelle B. Kravitz, MD
Chris Straughn, MD

DFW Child Magazine selected our pediatricians as Mom Approved Doctors

Congratulations to:

R. Adrian Clarke, MD
Diana V. Dickschat, MD
Michelle B. Kravitz, MD
Ann J. Liu, MD
Isha Mannering, MD
Chris M. McGonnell, MD
Damien H. Mitchell, MD
Chris J. Straughn, MD
Lily H. Strong, MD