Guidelines for Clinicians

FAQs for physicians

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How to Handle a Positive Infection Risk Screen

Calling patients from your cellphone?

On the Keep in Touch by Phone section of the Work Remotely page, we have guidance on:

  • Updating your work voicemail remotely
  • Blocking your caller ID
  • Displaying a UT Southwestern number when calling from your cellphone

If we have a patient with a positive infection risk screen for COVID-19, we will:

  1. Page the Infection Preventionist on call at the hospital where the patient is seen.
  2. Mask the patient and place them in an airborne infection isolation room (aka “negative-pressure”) with airborne, contact, and standard precautions. This means anyone entering the room must perform hand hygiene and then wear a gown, N95 (or equivalent) respirator, and eye protection with goggles or fluid shield mask and gloves.
  3. If no airborne infection isolation room is available, place the masked patient in a private room.
  4. The Infection Prevention team is available to assist with performing a secondary screen for suspected COVID-19.

For additional information or questions regarding lab specimens, please contact the M.D. on call.

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Drive-Up Testing for Patients

UT Southwestern’s Drive-Up Specimen Collection Site outside the Bass Administrative and Clinical Center has been in operation since March 20 and has completed more than 1,000 tests of suspected cases of COVID-19.
UT Southwestern’s Drive-Up Specimen Collection Site outside the Bass Administrative and Clinical Center

In response to the needs of our UTSW patient and provider community, we have expanded our capabilities for COVID-19 testing.

We have opened a COVID-19 Drive-Up Specimen Collection Site at Visitor Parking Lot No. 18 at Paul M. Bass Administrative and Clinical Center, open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Please note that at this time, only UTSW providers can refer UTSW patients 12 years old and above to the drive-through testing site.

Patients with a scheduled appointment for testing should be instructed to enter the parking lot via Harry Hines Boulevard and drive along the most northern driveway until they are in the north parking lot. Signage guides traffic into and out of the drive-up site. In addition, Campus Police and Public Safety Officers are present to direct traffic.

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HIPAA Policy

As the COVID-19 situation develops, it is critical that all UT Southwestern Medical Center employees maintain our commitment to patient protections and privacy guaranteed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

  • We are required by law to protect the privacy of patient health information and will only release protected health information (PHI) as allowed by law or with written permission (authorization) from the patient.
  • UT Southwestern employees will not contact the media, respond to media inquiries, or provide PHI to media requests, and are required to direct all media inquiries to the Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs (CMPA) at news@utsouthwestern.edu.

Violations of HIPAA can result in severe civil and criminal penalties, as well as immediate termination from UT Southwestern.

More information on HIPAA policy and procedures (needs VPN to access) or contact the HIPAA Privacy Office at 214-648-6003 or privacyoffice@utsouthwestern.edu.

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High-Risk Health Care Workers Must Refrain from Patient Contact

As we learn more about how severe COVD-19 illness can be, it has become clear that certain groups are at higher risk for severe, life-threatening disease. We want to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of our workforce.

To that end, those who are in the highest risk groups – over the age of 65 or immunocompromised – must refrain from direct COVID-19 patient care but may perform other critical roles. Exceptions to this require approval from the EVP for Academic Affairs and the EVP for Health System Affairs. Non-faculty members require approval from the Chief Nurse Executive.

Other high-risk groups include those who have severe heart and lung disease or diabetes. If these apply to you, please discuss with your supervisor the option of switching from direct COVID-19 patient contact to filling other critical roles.

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Presurgical COVID-19 Testing

Beginning Monday, April 27, we will require COVID-19 testing for all patients awaiting surgical procedures. Testing allows us to move forward after we have confidently ruled out COVID-19.

Testing Patients Within 72 Hours Prior to Surgery 
Presurgical Testing Team Will Order the Test  
Advising Patients on Testing Location 
After Results  

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Universal Masking for all Hospital and Clinic Clinicians and Staff 
Surgical Face Masks are Appropriate  
Eye Protection 
Conserving PPE 
Sterilizing & Reusing N95 Respirators 
Prioritizing & Preserving N95 Respirators 
Training Video: Donning and Doffing PPE 

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Virtual Care: Video Patient Visits

UT Southwestern has expedited the roll-out of a virtual care platform in Epic that allows providers to complete video visits in lieu of in-person office visits.

To learn how to use the technology, please see:

Comprehensive Telehealth Guidance as of March 26, 2021

Training 
Tip Sheets  
Video: Virtual Care Features 
How to Refer a Patient to Virtual Care Clinic 

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