Coronavirus Update: Upcoming PECAA Events

As the national and international response to the growing threat from COVID-19 continues to escalate, our world is changing very quickly. As you know, a key pillar of the PECAA community is the many live events that bring us together to connect, learn and grow. It is with a heavy heart that we share the following updates:

PECAA Annual Meeting, April 30-May 2 in Colorado – CANCELLED
Although we are cancelling the Colorado meeting, we will be working to reschedule this signature event later this year. As you can imagine, this is a complex and challenging task in the current environment. We will share more details as they become available. There is nothing for you to do in terms of cancelling your attendance at the meeting, we will take care of that for you. In the meantime, we will be refunding any Member monies paid to PECAA for the Annual Meeting (e.g. Guest Fees, ABO Certification Prep Course, Office Manager Certification Course and Medical Coding for Optometry). Please allow 2-4 weeks for these refunds to be processed.

PECAA Billing & Coding Workshop, March 19-20 in Portland – POSTPONED
This event will be rescheduled to a later date. Registrants will be provided additional information regarding new dates once they are available.

90 Days to Dry Eye Live Event, March 20-21 in Dallas – POSTPONED
This event will be rescheduled to a later date. Registrants will be provided additional information regarding adjustments to the 90 Days to Dry Eye program next week.

Peer-to-Peer Dinner Events through April – CANCELLED
All Peer-to-Peer Dinners slated for March and April 2020 (14 total) will not take place as planned. We will work with Regional Leaders, Vendors Partners and local venues to reschedule as many of the Peer-to-Peer events as possible. Details will be shared as they become available.

While we are saddened that we will not be able to host Members at face-to-face PECAA events in the coming weeks, we will be working to develop ways we can bring our Members and Partners together virtually – stay tuned for those offerings. Lastly, we are concerned about the impact this pandemic will have on your patients, families, staff, and businesses. Know that the PECAA team will be redoubling efforts in the coming weeks to bring as much support as possible to Members impacted by the current challenges.

In the meantime, we recommend the following precautions for our Members to begin implementing in their practices:

Emphasize Good Hygiene By All Employees

  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms/break rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Encourage employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

Actively Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home

  • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure that your Paid Time Off policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
  • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • It may be helpful for employers to read AmeriBen’s recent article: Planning for a flu pandemic in the workplace 

Separate Sick Employees

CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

Perform Routine Environmental Cleaning

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Advise Employees Before Traveling to Take Certain Steps

  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

Additional Measures

  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Questions?

If your practice has questions or concerns about any upcoming PECAA Events, please let us know at info@pecaa.com.

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