Going Home For The Holidays? Take These Covid- 19 Precautions

Everyone looks forward to the holidays. From feasting on a turkey with your family at Thanksgiving, the excited mobs at crowded stores trying to pick up the best gifts during the Black Friday sales, outings with your friends and Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year parties. This year however, things will be a little different. With the spread of the Coronavirus, large gatherings are not advisable. Many people are shifting to virtual gatherings to stay safe. Still, if you’re planning to celebrate it with your people back home, here are some precautions we advise you to take. 

PRECAUTIONS WHILE TRAVELING

Traveling is a big risk during the holidays because of the huge crowds that can’t be avoided. If you’re traveling by flight, always wear a mask. Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down tray tables and seats. Avoid crowded entry and exit points, instead wait till the crowd dies down and then proceed. If you’re traveling by Greyhound bus, try to keep a distance of a row between you and other passengers. Always sanitize your hands after getting off.

PRECAUTIONS WHILE SHOPPING

All shopping outlets undoubtedly have the best sales during Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The best way to avoid the crowded shopping malls is to order your gifts online. Online shopping websites provide an easy and safe alternative to shopping in stores. If you need to get out, shopping malls and stores will all be crowded with last minute shoppers, so a mask is your safest bet. Crowded stores become a hotspot for transmission. Skip a crowded store in a mall and move to a less crowded store. While shopping during sales, keep away from touching clothes, bags and shoes as many people might have gone through them. Browse through the clothes and shoes on racks instead of touching them. Don’t use makeup testers at all costs as you will be at risk of directly coming in contact with the virus.

PRECAUTIONS DURING FAMILY GET-TOGETHERS

Virtual gatherings have become very common as it allows you to celebrate from the safety of your home with a large number of people. Limit the number of people at social gatherings. Try having your gatherings outdoors instead of indoors as poor ventilation in a small space increases the risk of contraction. Social distance as much as possible by arranging your seating in such a way that you’re six feet away from each other. While serving food, one person should be incharge of serving all the guests. This will ensure that the serving spoons are not being touched by everyone. The same goes with drinks. Refrain from sending kids out caroling to limit their contact with other people.

PRECAUTIONS WHEN HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS

Constantly wear a mask during outings with your friends as other people might have also traveled from far off destinations like you. By doing so, not only are you staying safe, but you’re also keeping them safe if you have contracted it. Other than touching your face, avoid kissing people on the cheek as well. Don’t shake hands as you normally would as the virus could get transferred. Avoid touching common surfaces like door knobs, fingerprint scanners, ticket machines, handrails, elevator buttons, and benches. The same with magazines and water coolers. Carry your metal straw to avoid direct contact with your glass.

It is also important to research the destination you’re traveling to. If the cases of Coronavirus are rampantly spreading at your destination, it is advisable not to travel to such locations. Also, certain people like the elderly, those with respiratory conditions, pregnant women and those with a weak immune system have a higher likelihood of contracting the disease and might even be far more affected than others. Such people should completely avoid traveling and social gatherings. After you’ve reached your destination, quarantine in a separate room so that you don’t put your family at risk. Prevention is always better than cure. 

For more information about public safety, visit the W.H.O website. 

At Buckhead Medicine, we’ve also written quite a few informative articles you may find interesting, especially if you’re Planning to fly during Covid-19 or want to get a Covid Test done without having insurance. 

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FAQ

What services are provided as a part of my annual fee?
  • Same-day or next business day appointments
  • Direct access to Dr. Espinosa via his personal cell phone after hours, weekends, and holidays
  • Minimal office wait times
  • Longer, more comprehensive appointments
  • House Calls (requires additional trip fee)
  • A strong focus on preventive medicine, long-term health and wellness
  • A personal professional relationship with your physician
What is the mission of Buckhead Medicine?

We strive to provide the highest quality medical care, emphasizing a comprehensive approach to prevention and disease management. We want patients to be completely satisfied with every aspect of their care.

Where is your office and are you on the medical staff of a local hospital?

Yes, Dr. Espinosa’s office is in Buckhead, a suburb of Atlanta. He is on the medical staff of Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. If you require hospitalization, Dr. Espinosa will coordinate your patient care by working with the hospital based physicians. He will also make periodic hospital visits during your hospitalization.

Who will cover for you when you are not available?

On infrequent occasions when Dr. Espinosa is out of town or otherwise unavailable, he will have another qualified physician cover for him. Even while out of town, Dr. Espinosa will generally be available by phone to his patients and to his covering physicians. For practical reasons, we reserve the right to designate another qualified physician to perform any and all services should the need arise.

Do you accept insurance?

Commercial Insurance and Medicare:
Buckhead Medicine is an In-Network provider for Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO, Aetna, Coventry, Humana, Cigna, Tricare and United Healthcare. Our practice fully participates in the Medicare program. Buckhead Medicine accepts all other insurance as an Out-of-Network provider. We, however, do not participate in the Medicaid program. Regardless of your plan, we will bill your insurance for all covered services. It is our intention that no insurance-covered medical services are included in your annual fee.

HMO and Medicare HMO:
We do not participate in HMO programs. As such, HMO patients will not be able to join the practice until they transition to either a PPO or traditional Medicare plan.

Do I still need insurance if I enroll with you?

Yes. Personalized medical practices do not take the place of general health insurance coverage. Buckhead Medicine is a primary care medical practice, not a health insurance program. You are advised to continue your PPO, Medicare or other insurance program. If you are an uninsured individual and desire to enroll in the practice, we will provide you with a discounted fee schedule for office visits, tests and procedures.

What if I don't have health insurance?

For uninsured patients, Buckhead Medicine offers an uninsured patient plan. Although this plan is not insurance, it does cover for all clinic visits and any labs or tests that are performed in our office. In many cases this plan provides for significant cost savings to uninsured individuals. Please contact our office for additional details on this plan.

Will my insurance still be billed for my office visits?

Yes, we will bill your insurance company directly. The annual fee does not cover costs for regular exams or testing conducted inside or outside of the clinic. These costs are billed to your insurance provider in the same manner that traditional practices bill insurers.

Is there a co-payment?

If you have commercial insurance, we will collect the co-payment at the time of service. Medicare patients usually do not require a co-payment.

Do you bill Medicare for the annual fee?

No. The annual fee is not covered by Medicare. The fee only includes services that are not covered by Medicare and, as such, cannot be paid for or reimbursed by Medicare. We will bill Medicare for your sick visits and for any additional services performed at this practice that are covered by Medicare.

Will my commercial insurance reimburse my annual fee?

No, commercial insurance does not typically reimburse for the annual fee. However, some Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account plans may pay for all or part of the annual fee. In addition, some insurance plans allow the concierge fee to apply towards the annual deductible. Members are advised to consult their human resources representative at their place of employment.

Is the annual fee tax deductible?

In many cases the annual fee is a tax deductible healthcare expense. Patients are advised to consult with their tax consultant to clarify qualification in their particular circumstance.

Does the annual fee cover lab, x-ray, specialist fees and hospitalization?

Services such as labs, x-ray, specialty visits or hospitalizations are covered based on coverage determined by your insurance plan.

Are there age limits?

Dr. Espinosa is an Internal Medicine physician. His specialty is Adult medicine. Dr. Espinosa is trained to manage acute and chronic medical illnesses among adults. As such, the practice is limited to patients 17 years of age and older.

What if I have an emergency?

If you have a life threatening emergency, call 911 immediately. After you call 911, please call Dr. Espinosa. He will contact the hospital and notify the emergency room of your tentative arrival. In addition, Dr. Espinosa will provide the emergency room with pertinent medical history information

How far in advance do I need to book an appointment?

Dr. Espinosa is committed to providing his patients with easy access to care. All urgent visits will be accommodated either same day or next day, placing the greatest priority on the sickest patients. Annual physical exams will be booked 1 to 2 weeks in advance.

What do I do if I become ill while traveling or away on an extended vacation?

Call 911 if you have a life threatening emergency. Then call Dr. Espinosa. Call Dr. Espinosa first if the problem is minor. With the exception of a few controlled substances, most prescriptions can be ordered anywhere in the country. If necessary, it may be possible for Dr. Espinosa to find you a resource in your area. If you seek care at an emergency room or urgent care center out of our area, we request that you have the doctor seeing you call Dr. Espinosa for coordination. Dr. Espinosa will be readily available by phone for consultation with you and/or other health care personnel. If you should require hospitalization while away, at your request, Dr. Espinosa will establish phone communication with you and your attending physician(s) to ensure continuity of care.

Do you make house calls?

House calls will be available to Buckhead Medicine members, within a limited radius from the clinic. These will be done as deemed appropriate by Dr. Espinosa on a case-by-case basis. Home visits will be billed to your insurance provider similar to an office visit. A separate trip fee is required for house calls.

What if I need to see a specialist or a surgeon?

Of course, Buckhead Medicine patients are free to see any specialist they wish. We are available to help you decide what specialists to see and to coordinate such consultations. Patients may frequently request for “doctors in my area”, and we can accommodate this. We will ensure that the most appropriate resources are used, the earliest arrangements are made, and your applicable medical information is sent in advance of your specialist visit.

What about the cost of prescription medications?

The cost of prescription medications are the patient’s responsibility and in most cases should be covered by their insurance plans. We have expertise in assisting patients in purchasing medications in the most cost effective manner.

Will I be required to pay my annual fee even if I do not use your services?

Yes. Paying your annual fee allows you to be a member of the practice whether you are sick or well. We encourage our patients to utilize the amenities offered such as wellness consultations and emails for appropriate non-urgent health related questions, regardless of your state of health.

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