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Indiana doctor’s offices bring in patients, increase protective measures

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Monday, medical and clinical practices including doctor’s offices could start seeing patients again for elective procedures and screenings.

The first order of business for doctor’s offices and hospitals who can see patients needing elective procedures for the first time in weeks is to take care of the more serious cases that are back logged from the previous restrictions.

Dr. Christopher Doehring, who is a chief medical officer with Franciscan Health, says their medical group is being very particular with about patients who can start to be seen.

“Particularly if someone had any symptoms whatsoever that would suggest COVID, those types of cases are being screened out and delayed until someone is completely symptom-free,” Doehring said.

Offices are limiting the amount of people who can be inside at one time and they are trying to avoid patients sitting in the waiting room. Some are even having people wait in their cars until it is time to be seen.

“You will see things kind of slowly ramp back up. We will not be jumping full-bore back into business as usual,” Doehring said.

News 8 was at a doctor’s office that moved their respiratory treatment area to a makeshift office outside away from the other patients.

“Maybe certain parts of the day, we are seeing healthy, well patients or more routine things and then setting up another part of the day. For patients maybe who are experiencing some respiratory issues,” Doehring said.

Doctos and nurses are ramping up the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) that they are wearing during visits as well as having patients wear masks.

“We don’t want to push too far too fast and use up too much of our PPE. We don’t want to run into a situation where we are filling up the hospital again,” Doehring said.

While offices are making a lot of physical changes to the way they do business, doctors are also having to change how they treat their patients.

“The simple act of shaking a hand and putting a hand on a patient’s shoulder to sort of put them at ease, those types of things are either not going to happen or they will be with masks on,” Doehring said.

The doctor also says offices and hospitals ideally would like to test every patient who comes in, but testing capacity doesn’t allow that. However, Doehring says, he believes that is a possibility in the future.