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HealthWise: Pediatrics

Young children are at risk from diseases that are far more serious to their health than COVID-19.  It’s time to start pediatric care again…learn more about why it’s safe at NOCHS.

Q.  Why should I bring my young child in for a well-child checkup?
A.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that any child age two or younger maintain his/her program of well-child checks. Why? This is a crucial formative time in a child’s life. The provider is checking growth and development to ensure that your child is progressing appropriately for his/her age. The provider is also administering vaccines on a regular basis. It’s critical to keep up on those vaccines. If we don’t, we’ll have an entirely different health crisis as we see the resurgence of preventable diseases, such as measles. Studies have shown that we need an 80-95 percent vaccination rate in order to develop the “herd immunity” that will prevent an epidemic. And, unlike with COVID-19, babies and kids are especially vulnerable to these diseases. Your child’s health is at much greater risk from missing critical provider visits than from COVID-19.

Q.  Are there any options other than an in-person visit?
A.  We do have a telehealth option for children over the age of two. You can use this for a standard well-child visit quite easily. Just call our office to schedule an appointment. We will ask you to weigh and measure your child, and then we will talk about development and any other issues. All you need is a phone or computer with Internet access. We can also start with telehealth rather than an in-person visit if your child of any age has a health issue like stomachache, headache, or rash. Telehealth often gives us a good starting point for treatment. If we can’t completely figure it out, we may need you to come to the office for an in-person appointment.

Q.  What is NOCHS doing to keep my children and me safe if I come to the provider’s office?
A.  We’re doing several things that should reassure you. First, we are scheduling well-child visits in the morning and sick child visits in the afternoon. So your healthy child will not be in the office at the same time as a child who is having a health issue. Second, we are bringing patients straight into a treatment room…no one is in the waiting room. We’re also timing each departure so that there is no line at the checkout. You probably won’t see another soul, other than the staff. Third, we thoroughly disinfect each treatment room between patients. At lunchtime, we thoroughly disinfect the entire office. And fourth, we are not seeing any children who might have COVID-19 at the office. They, like everyone else who needs to be tested for COVID-19, are going to our testing center. Finally, we are following the typical best practice protocols. We’re screening adults for fever at the entrance, and having all adults as well as all NOCHS staff wear face coverings.

Q.  Who can come with me to this appointment?
A.  Our goal is to provide as safe an environment as possible. We ask that only one parent accompany our young patients, and that any siblings stay home. For newborn visits, we understand that another adult might need to accompany mom to help carry the baby.

Q.  Are you accepting new patients at this time?
A.  Absolutely! We would love to help care for your children. We work with virtually all insurance programs, so please call us at (616) 844-4523 to set up an appointment.

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