Oxford Primary Care
COVID-19 Update
December 22, 2020
CORRECTED VERSION re: holiday billing
Ontario is moving into Lockdown!

A province wide shutdown is in effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Learn about the restrictions and public health measures that are in place.

Between RED (control) and GREY (lockdown), services should not vary much and will largely depend on an office's capability with their available staff and office flow.
Health care over the holidays

As we head into the busy holiday season, I encourage all my primary care colleagues to develop plans to ensure access and coverage for your individual practices and the Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, NPLCs, groups and organizations to which you belong.

This has been a challenging year and people deserve their much-anticipated time off during the holiday season. We also know that the pandemic has increased patient needs - from mental health to delayed access to surgeries or investigations and infectious diseases. It continues to place pressure on emergency and acute care services across Ontario, as well as on primary care practices. To help reduce hospital overcrowding and support timely access to health care services, we need to plan proactively for the holiday season, even more so than in previous years.

Below are some planning tips for the holiday season:

  • Include your office hours over the holiday period, including any after-hours care options for your patients in your voicemail message or website (a template can be found here).

  • For those in groups, divide the two weeks so that half the team provides coverage during the first week, including December 25 and the other half covers the second week, including New Year’s Day

  • For those in smaller practices, consider making local arrangements with neighbourhood practices to provide cross coverage

  • Consider that community physicians can bill A888 (Emergency Department Equivalent) from December 25th – Jan 1 inclusive. In addition you can bill a virtual code (K080,K081,K082) and the A888 ON THE SAME DAY, BUT NOT ON THE SAME PATIENT (See #28 in the attached OMA bulletin).

  • Make sure your patients who are on critical or controlled meds have enough to cover the holiday period

Here's info on health services available for patients over the holidays (in addition to your own office):

Quarantine for households

New quarantine requirements are in place in London and Middlesex County as well as Elgin and Oxford Counties for household members of individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19.

For school-aged children who show symptoms, please follow the Decision Tool for Parents and Caregivers.
Updates on COVID vaccine
(courtesy of AFHTO - the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario)
Recent updates include:

Other vaccine resources:
  • Center for Effective Practice site (to bookmark): click here
  • SWPH's most recent COVID-19 vaccine handout for providers, with a great FAQ for answering patient's questions about the vaccine.
Updates regarding LHIN services in Oxford - POLL to primary care providers

A small working group within the Oxford Ontario Health Team has been meeting regularly over the last few months to try and find solutions for the critical staffing shortages being faced by the LHIN, and subsequent disruption to patient care. One item that has been highlighted is the inefficiency of communication between primary care and LHIN staff for urgent and non-urgent patient concerns. Please help us identify how we can help you serve your patients better by filling out this brief, 1-minute poll on your preferred communication methods with the nursing team.
If there are non-hospital COVID-19 related issues/solutions in your region, please escalate them to your
Regional Pandemic Clinical Lead
(tasked by Ontario Health West to facilitate, coordinate, and engage with stakeholders for the pandemic response within the SW LHIN area RE: primary care/vulnerable populations)...structure HERE.
Dr. Rachel Orchard