Welcome!

COVID 19 UPDATES

September 3, 2020
 
COME GET YOUR FLU SHOTS!!! 
Next week we will begin our flu shot clinics!  We will have them in Towson on Tuesdays between 10am and 11:45am and on Saturdays at 9am until 11:45am.  In Hereford we will have flu shot clinics on Wednesdays between 4pm and 5:15pm.  Call to schedule your appointment.
 
Also, due to COVID 19 precautions, we are requiring a credit card on file for all patients.  Your information will never be written down but typed directly into our secure electronic medical record system to be used for all balances owed from copays, coinsurances, deductibles, or missed appointment fees.  Call us for more details!
 
 

August 27, 2020 (An update to our May 15th blog post)

We wanted to share with you the changes we have made to our physical space and protocol in order to optimize the safety of our families and staff.  Our goal is to continue essential pediatric care, such as newborn and well visits, in a safe and healthy environment.

We are scheduling well AND sick visits in office.  We still offer telemedicine visits but we do feel the art of medicine is best practiced in person.  However, if you feel that your child may be sick at the time of their well visit we ask that you call us so we can reschedule appropriately.  We also ask that only one parent and one patient be present during your visit.

We recognize that COVID-19 can spread even though the carrier shows no symptoms. For this reason we are requiring a mask be worn by our staff as well as our patients.  We have also implemented a more vigorous cleaning policy which includes spraying disinfectant on all surfaces, including furniture, at the end of each shift.

We have put into place a curbside check-in.  When calling to schedule an appointment, please be sure to let us know the cell phone number of the person who will be bringing the child in for an appointment.  A text message will be sent asking to notify us when you are in the parking lot.  For sick visits, we will let you know when it is safe to come in, which room to procede to, as well as take payment for the visit.  For well visits, we will let you know when it is safe to come to the waiting room.

In our Towson Office, our Sick and Well children are seperated by space.  Half of our suite is dedicated to Sick visits including a dedicated provider, medical assistant, rooms, and equipment.  Our goal is to keep our Sick and Well patients from sharing any space or equipment.  Our Hereford Office is seperated by time.  Sick and Well patients are seen at different times of the day to give us time for a thorough cleaning to prevent cross-contamination.

We are also requiring that all patients have a credit card on file and we offer most of our forms online.  We want to make our office as contactless as possible while still providing the highest quality care.  

We hope that the measures described above will help you feel more comfortable bringing your child to the office for their routine Well Visits.  We are highly discouraging visits to an urgent care or emergency room unless absolutely necessary. This will reduce your potential exposure and reduce the burden to these facilities.

Of note here at Next Step Pediatrics, we still feel it is very important to vaccinate children during this time. We have seen disturbing numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics showing a large drop in the rate of vaccination. This is understandable with the expectation of social distancing and self-quarantine.  Our concern is potentially opening up the door to a second infectious disease problem because of not vaccinating appropriately.

Lastly, we have been seeing an increase in the rates of anxiety and depression as well as behavioral concerns. We would like to make ourselves available if any of these issues arise.

If you have any concerns please call the office so we could arrange your visit in a way that would address your concerns.

We hope you and your families stay safe and healthy during this crisis. Let us know if we can be of any assistance.

 

 

August 21, 2020

 

Here is a great article from University of Maryland Medical System about why it is important for children to wear masks and includes some tips to help parents get their kids to actually wear them!

 

https://www.umms.org/coronavirus/what-to-know/masks/kids-and-masks

 

August 20, 2020

 

We are proud to announce that we have a Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test.  This test allows us to get same-day results for COVID-19. It is most accurate if a patient is symptomatic or is at least seven to 10 days after exposure.  

This test is NOT the Molecular/PCR test. Our test is 100 percent accurate when positive, but has a 15-20 percent false negative rate. For this reason, we recommend that if you have had known direct exposure and the rapid test is negative, remain quarantined as per CDC guidelines.  Also be aware that some facilities may not accept it as a screening test. If you need a Molecular/PCR test specifically, please refer to the Maryland Department of Health website to find a low or no cost testing site nearest you.

https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/symptoms-testing

 

July 23, 2020

 

We now have COVID-19 rapid testing that gives results in 15 minutes! Our test is approved by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization.  You will no longer have days of anxiety and agony waiting on test results. 

 

We are also introducing a Curbside check-in for all our patients.  Before your appointment you will receive a text message asking you to let us know when you are in the parking lot.  Then we will text you further instructions.  This will allow us to manage our patient flow and keep social distancing in the halls and waiting rooms.  When booking an appointment, please make sure we have the cell phone number of the person bringing the child in for the appointment.

 

You can also pay your copays online through that same text message if you have an Instamed account.  Don't have an Instamed account?  Call our billing office and we can talk you through it!

 

 

July 21, 2020

Next Step Pediatrics – School/Camp/Daycare Guidelines

Here at Next Step Pediatrics we have been getting a lot of questions regarding whether or not it is safe to send your child to school, camp, or daycare.  At this stage there is a lot about this virus we still do not know which makes it all the more difficult to make these decisions.

As with many activities, daycare school and camps are not 100% risk free.  At the same time we also understand that these activities often benefit children and families. This, of course, varies from child to child and it is impossible for us to know the risk benefit for each individual child and family.

Children with underlying health conditions, or living with people with underlying health conditions, are at greater risk of coronavirus complication. This must factor into your decision making. Events that are held outside that are also practicing social distancing do reduce the risk of coronavirus infection. Another option would be to “bubble” with another family that is social distancing to the same degree that you are, in order to swap care and play dates.

Although this does not give all the answers, this is where we are with this new virus that we do not fully understand.  If you have further questions you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to make a telemedicine consult with one of the providers.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
 

June 4, 2020

We perform COVID Testing for our patients but we also wanted to give some helpful tips to parents and guardians who want to be tested!

Here is a website that can give you all the testing sites within 15 miles of your zipcode:  https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/

Johns Hopkins also has a triage line that you can call and request testing.  Their test turnaround time is about 24 hours.  (443) 997-1875

Lifebridge Health has a triage line as well.  (410) 601-9355

 

May 15, 2020

Hello Next Step families!

We hope that this message finds you in good health during this very trying time.

We wanted to share with you the changes we have made to our physical space and protocol in order to optimize the safety of our families and staff.  Our goal is to continue essential pediatric care, such as newborn and well visits, in a safe and healthy environment.

We are only scheduling well visits in office.  If you feel that your child may be sick at the time of their well visit we ask that you reschedule.  We also ask that only one parent and one patient be present during your well visit.

All Sick Visits will be conducted through telemedicine. In the video visit we can do exams, offer advice and prescribe medications.  If needed, we can organize a time for your child to come into the office for a more thorough exam in a safe and timely manner.  Please call us before leaving home with any illness so we can guide you on your safest and best plan of action.

We recognize that COVID-19 can spread even though the carrier shows no symptoms. For this reason we are requiring a mask be worn by our staff as well as our patients.  We have also implemented a more vigorous cleaning policy which includes spraying disinfectant on all surfaces, including furniture, at the end of each shift.

We hope that the measures described above will help you feel more comfortable bringing your child to the office for their routine Well Visits.  We are highly discouraging visits to an urgent care or emergency room unless absolutely necessary. This will reduce your potential exposure and reduce the burden to these facilities.

Of note here at Next Step Pediatrics, we still feel it is very important to vaccinate children during this time. We have seen disturbing numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics showing a large drop in the rate of vaccination. This is understandable with the expectation of social distancing and self-quarantine.  Our concern is potentially opening up the door to a second infectious disease problem because of not vaccinating appropriately.

When available we are also offering coronavirus testing. Currently this test is sent to a lab and generally has a 3 to 4 day turnaround time. All testing will be done at designated times and the swabs are performed while the patient is in their car.

Lastly, we have been seeing an increase in the rates of anxiety and depression as well as behavioral concerns. We would like to make ourselves available if any of these issues arise.

If you have any concerns please call the office so we could arrange your visit in a way that would address your concerns.

We hope you and your families stay safe and healthy during this crisis. Let us know if we can be of any assistance.

 

PRACTICE NEWS

 

NEW OFFICE HOURS

Our office hours will temporarily be as follows:

Office Hours Towson Office
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 7 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday: 9 AM - 12 PM
Sunday: Closed
Hereford Office
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 1 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 5 PM 
Friday: 9 AM - 1 PM
Saturday: One Saturday a Month
Sunday:

Closed