An important update to all University Gastroenterology patients and referring providers regarding COVID-19:
1. University Gastroenterology is still open and seeing patients.
2. University Gastroenterology is instituting telemedicine starting March 19, 2020.
At University Gastroenterology, our goal is to always protect the health of our patients, their families, our staff and providers. Due to the increase in reported cases of individuals with coronavirus, the flu and other respiratory illnesses, we are closely following the prevention procedures and preparedness initiatives as put forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are also following the recommendations and guidelines published in a joint statement of national GI societies. In order to protect our patients and staff from exposure, and limit the spread of COVD-19 in our community, we are implementing the following precautionary measures and temporary changes to our practice:
1) We ask that anyone with a scheduled appointment who has traveled outside the United States in the past 14 days to please reschedule their appointments.
2) The CDC recommends that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath. If you develop any of these symptoms please seek advice from your primary care physician.
3) We are screening every patient, physician, staff member and visitor for COVID-19 related symptoms prior to entering our offices every day.
4) Beginning Monday, March 23rd through April 3rd*, University Gastroenterology will be canceling all elective procedures and non-urgent office visits. Only urgent endoscopies and colonoscopies will be performed, at the discretion of the performing physician, during this time period (these dates are subject to change and regular updates will be posted on our website to relay this information to you as it becomes available). If you are scheduled for a procedure during this time period, you will be receiving a phone call from your provider or staff member to discuss the timing of this procedure within the next few days. You can also call your doctor’s office to try to obtain additional information.
5) When arriving at the office or endoscopy unit, please try to limit the number of people accompanying you to one. Please be aware that except for specific situations, only the patient will be allowed in the exam room.
6) For patients having procedures, the accompanying party providing your ride will be asked to drop you off. The recovery staff will contact them after your procedure is complete and the time for them to return to pick you up.
7) In following social gathering recommendations, we are limiting the number of people in our waiting rooms. You may be asked to wait in your vehicle for your appointment. We will call you on your cell phone when it is time for your visit so we can escort you directly to an exam room.
Thank you kindly for your understanding. For additional information, please feel free to call the RI Coronavirus Hotline: 401-222-8022 or visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Please feel free to call our office numbers to reschedule your appointment. Thank you kindly for your understanding and patience during this difficult time.
Eric Berthiaume MD – President of University Gastroenterology