In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is transitioning many outpatient appointments to telemedicine, which promotes “safer at home” orders and results in fewer visits to Outpatient Care locations.
To best consolidate staff and resources for patient care during the pandemic, the hospital will temporarily close three Outpatient Care locations and reduce days of operation at another. The East Lake, Lakeland and South Tampa locations will close April 13 through May 18 with evaluation every two weeks of whether that should be extended. The Fort Myers location will be open only on Tuesday and Thursdays.
“During this challenging time, we are here for you and your family when you need us,” says Thomas Kmetz, president of Johns Hopkins All Children’s. “These temporary moves allow us to conserve personal protective equipment and to focus staff and other resources on the most urgent patient needs. They also will help us expand telemedicine, giving patients more options for safe, convenient care in the comfort and convenience of their homes when medically appropriate.”
Patients whose medical needs require an in-person appointment will have access to the main campus in St. Petersburg and outpatient locations in Brandon, North Port, Pasco, Sarasota and Tampa. The clinical staff will schedule appointments to see these patients at an appropriate time and follow COVID-19 screening policies. The Emergency Center in St. Petersburg remains open 24 hours a day with pediatric experts prepared to see infants, children and young adults for unscheduled visits that require immediate, in-person attention.
Johns Hopkins All Children’s staff are contacting patient families who have scheduled appointments to adjust them to telemedicine or other locations.
The hospital is also working with the ambulatory staff to provide opportunities for redeployment to other outpatient centers or the main campus, when possible.
“These are extraordinary times,” Kmetz says. “Our patient families and our staff have responded in extraordinary ways. As everyone rises to meet these challenges, we look forward to the day we can reopen these locations, catch up on rescheduled appointments and elective procedures, and return to business as usual.”