April 29, 2020, Briefing - Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Questions submitted for this briefing include these topics:

Broader Testing and Antibody Testing

Infectious Disease and institutional leadership are in ongoing discussions regarding patient and employee screening, particularly in high-risk areas. PCR testing remains the primary approach for patients with symptoms or exposures, and we are continuing to expand our capacity to perform PCR testing. A group led by Dr. Sarode in Pathology is working intensively to validate a commercial antibody test that will be made available when the group has verified its sensitivity and specificity for clinical accuracy. For more information, please continue to follow our COVID-19 website.

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Convention Center

At this time, we do not have specific information regarding patients at the Convention Center.

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General Procedure Presurgical Testing

Beginning Monday, April 27, UT Southwestern is requiring COVID-19 testing for all patients scheduled for surgical procedures. Please visit our Clinician Guidelines webpage for more information regarding scheduling of tests and time frames.

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Obstetrics Presurgical Testing

All obstetric patients who are preparing to have a procedure at Clements University Hospital, including delivery (vaginal or cesarean section), D&C, or additional obstetric procedures, will be tested. Women whose admissions are scheduled (such as an induction of labor or repeat c-section) are being tested 48 hours prior to their admission through the drive-through testing center.

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Personal Mask Sterilization and Reuse

    • For cloth and reusable masks, it is recommended that you launder them in hot water and heat them on dry heat to kills microbes and bacteria.
    • Personal surgical or procedural masks should be discarded when soiled or wet.  Please do not use Lysol or other disinfectants as it is unclear whether they are adequate for surgical masks and there is potential for inhalation of fumes from chemical agents. A  mask  can be placed in a brown bag and kept aside for five days to allow any virus to become nonviable.

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Preparations for Flu Season

Every year UT Southwestern has a very active flu campaign in which we educate and vaccinate patients, faculty, and staff. In addition, we have clear criteria in place for when employees should stay home.

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Telemedicine Visits

    • Patients:
      • For  video visits, each insurance plan has a specific benefit design based on coverage. While most insurance companies are fully covering video visits in the same way in-person visits are covered, we encourage patients to reach out to their insurance company regarding their benefits.  For more information, please visit our Virtual Care page.
    • UT Southwestern Employee Care:
      • For information regarding COVID-19 care, please visit our Employee Benefits webpage.
      • Virtual doctor visits through  MDLIVE  continue to be available with no out-of-pocket costs and can be used when appropriate.
      • For specific questions about your UT SELECT coverage, members should call a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Health Advocate at 866-882-2034. For UT CONNECT, please contact the CONNECT customer service team at 888-399-8889.

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Tuition Reimbursement

UT Southwestern will continue to complete and pay any requests that have been previously approved before the COVID-19 event upon notification that the employee has met all the tuition reimbursement requirements.  Any modifications to the tuition reimbursement programs will be communicated if there are changes in the future.

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Listen to the Full Briefing