FAQs: How we are caring for you

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created sweeping changes in our day-to-day lives. We want to assure you that Main Line Health’s commitment to patient, family and employee safety are essential priorities as we continue to provide exceptional care to the community. Here are some frequently asked questions related to COVID-19 and safe return to operations at Main Line Health hospitals and health centers.

Safety of Main Line Health facilities

Surgical and medical appointments

Testing guidelines

Behavioral Health

  

Visitation policies

Ways to donate

Financial support

General questions

SAFETY OF MAIN LINE HEALTH FACILITIES

What precautions is Main Line Health taking to make sure its environment is safe for me to seek care?

Before the pandemic even reached our area, Main Line Health began working to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and community. Precautionary measures included the suspension of many elective surgeries, procedures and non-urgent office visits.

We are committed to ensuring the utmost safety of all Main Line Health patients and employees. Health care services at Main Line Health that were previously postponed are resuming although in a phased manner. When appropriate, you may still receive your care with a telemedicine visit. Your health care provider will help you determine if this is appropriate for you. 

The following safety procedures are in place at all Main Line Health facilities:

  • Screening of all patients, visitors and staff for COVID-19 symptoms every day. For patients with COVID-19 symptoms, Main Line Health will first schedule a telemedicine visit and determine if the patient should have a COVID test. If an in-person physical exam or test is needed, a patient may be sent to our testing center or directed to an urgent care location.
  • Main Line Health staff with symptoms are tested and those who test positive must abide by Main Line Health guidelines for appropriate return to work.
  • Masking policy requires all staff, patients, and visitors to wear masks or face coverings (cloth masks are acceptable) at all times. Masks with valves are prohibited. For those who arrive without a mask, one will be provided and must be worn to enter the building. Please note the mask must cover your nose and mouth.
  • Before surgery each patient is required to have a COVID-19 test prior to admission. If a patient has a positive test, a decision will be made between the patient and surgeon regarding the safety of delaying the procedure.
  • Social distancing measures have been taken. Public spaces within all Main Line Health facilities, including lobbies, waiting areas, as well as pre- and postoperative areas are arranged to promote social distancing.
  •  Sanitization standards meet infection-control protocol. All of our clinical environments including each operating room continue to be thoroughly cleaned in accordance with infection control guidelines between cases.Waiting areas are also cleaned regularly in accordance with infection control guidelines.
  • Literature that can transmit virus has been removed. In addition, reading material and brochures have been removed from our waiting areas and public spaces to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.
  • Telemedicine further prevents contact with virus. Most of our providers offer telemedicine visits to patients for select conditions or services. If you would like to see your care provider from the comfort of your home, please call your provider’s office for more information.

What is Main Line Health doing to make sure I don’t come in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

Those arriving at any Main Line Health facility, are screened for COVID-19 symptoms, including a temperature check for fever. This reduces the chance of a COVID-symptomatic person entering the facility. We are also regularly testing symptomatic patients and employees for COVID-19. Additionally, the following measures are in place:

  • We test all patients for COVID-19 prior to surgery.
  • Public spaces are cleaned regularly and are arranged to promote social distancing.
  • In most cases, we are caring for patients with coronavirus in a specific COVID unit in our hospitals that are separate from other patient care areas, in order to optimize our infection control practices and protect patients and staff.

Are there different processes and precautions at the various Main Line Health facilities?

All Main Line Health hospitals, health centers and ambulatory practices are taking the same precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19.

Is it safe for patients and staff to be at Main Line Health facilities at this time?

Yes. Main Line Health has instituted a number of precautionary measures to reduce the likelihood of infection and community spread, including visitor restrictions and screening, cancellation of community events, groups and classes, suspension of volunteer duties, and restriction of deliveries and on-site visits from third-party vendors. We have also canceled all elective surgeries and non-urgent appointments in order to reduce the number of people sharing space in our facilities at the same time.

If Main Line Health is treating COVID-19 patients, isn’t it putting others at risk?

The safety of our patients, employees and community is always paramount, and even more so at this critical time. All employees and visitors are masked and practicing social distancing. Employees wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for a COVID patient and also follow strict guidelines for appropriate removal or disposal when outside of the patient’s room.

Before entering a Main Line Health facility, patients are screened for COVID-19 and needs are addressed accordingly. Visitors, although limited at this time, are also screened before entry.

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SURGICAL AND MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS

What will it be like in the waiting room? Will you limit the number of people? Will people be required to wear masks? Will we have to wait six feet apart?

For optimal safety and peace of mind in the waiting room:

  • Everyone is required to wear a mask or face covering at the time of their visit. Masks with valves are prohibited. For those who arrive without a mask, one will be provided.
  • We enforce social distancing with at least six feet of separation from the nearest person and our waiting rooms have been reconfigured to allow a limited number of people in them at one time.
  • We are expanding contactless check-in and check-out registration procedures.
  • Our waiting areas are cleaned regularly, and exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each patient visit.
  • Reading material and brochures have been removed from our waiting areas and other public spaces to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.There are also opportunities to request a virtual check-in and wait in your vehicle until your appointment. Upon scheduling and appointment, ask your provider if virtual check-in is an option for your visit.

How are the facilities cleaned between patients? Exam rooms, equipment, other? How frequently is the waiting room cleaned?

All of our clinical environments including operating rooms and exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned in accordance with infection control guidelines between each case. Waiting areas are also cleaned regularly, in accordance with infection control guidelines.

What precautions should I take when I come in for an appointment or surgery?

You will be contacted prior to your appointment by a Main Line Health representative to review screening questions and additional information about your surgery. If you have any symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 (these include fevers, chills, cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, muscle pain, headache, or sore throat), you will receive a call back from a Main Line Health representative. They will review your symptoms with you and determine if you need a COVID-19 test, a telemedicine visit, or if you should reschedule your appointment or surgery. We require that a mask or face covering be worn to your visit, procedure or surgery. If you do not have a face covering, one will be provided.

Is my Main Line Health doctor’s office open?

Some of our physician offices may be operating with limited schedules and service availability. Please refer to individual location pages to check if your provider’s location has updated operating hours. Main Line HealthCare providers are open or available via telemedicine for non-urgent issues. Emergency departments and urgent care centers continue to remain open.

Can I be seen by a doctor via teleconference? (telemedicine services)

Yes, all of our Main Line HealthCare providers are seeing patients via video conference. Find out more about our telemedicine services. Our physicians are also available for in-person appointments, if needed.

How will I know when my elective surgery is going to be rescheduled?

Your surgeon’s office will reach out to you to reschedule. Because of the uncertainty of COVID-19, we are unable to reschedule elective surgery appointments at the moment. Thank you for your patience as we all get through this crisis together.

PROCEDURE PRIORITIZATION

How is Main Line Health prioritizing which types of patients should be seen or procedures performed first?

Our physicians will prioritize patients based on medical condition, risk for disease progression, a patient’s decision to have surgery or a procedure, and resource availability, including inpatient beds, anesthesia, testing, blood products, PPE and other necessary supplies.

Can I postpone my surgery? And if I do, what are the risks of putting it off?

It is important that you discuss this with your doctor so you can make an informed decision based on your medical condition.

What is an elective surgery?

When a surgery is considered “elective” it does not mean it is optional. An elective surgery is most often a medically necessary procedure that you and your surgeon decide when to schedule, together. Urgent, or emergency surgeries, on the other hand, may be life-threatening and cannot be scheduled in advance.

POST-DISCHARGE CARE

Will I need to come in for a follow-up visit, or can that be done with telemedicine?

Your doctor will let you know if you need an in-person visit or if you can have a follow-up visit by telephone or video. Learn more about telemedicine.

Do I need to self-quarantine after surgery? Does my family need to self-quarantine because I’ve been exposed?

No. Quarantine is only necessary if you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or if you’ve tested positive. To reduce your risk of exposure prior to surgery, we recommend you stay at home, practice social distancing, wear a face covering or mask when going outside of your home, and wash your hands frequently.

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TESTING GUIDELINES

Do I need to test negative for COVID-19 before I have my surgery or procedure? How does that process work? What happens if I test positive?

All patients are being tested for COVID-19 before coming to the hospital for a surgery and for select invasive procedures. If you test negative, your surgery will proceed as planned. If you test positive, a decision will be made between you and your surgeon regarding the safety of delaying your procedure. In most cases if your surgery is non-urgent, it will be delayed for a short period of time to make sure that you are healthy. We do have protocols in place to perform urgent or emergency surgeries safely on patients with COVID-19.

At the time of your procedure scheduling, you will be notified if a COVID-19 test will be needed and how to obtain the testing.  As noted above, if you test positive for COVID-19 a determination will be made with your physician if the procedure should proceed or be re-scheduled.

Will I be tested when I come in for an office appointment? Are there screening procedures?

No—we will not test a patient before routine office visits. We screen patients for symptoms before their visit to our practices and on the day of surgery. We will ask you questions and take your temperature to determine if you have any symptoms.

I have a lab order from my physician—what is the process for testing?

If you are using a Main Line Health laboratory, we are prioritizing orders for patients who require urgent laboratory testing. Please speak with your provider to find out if your lab testing is non-urgent and can be delayed safely or postponed.

TESTING AT MAIN LINE HEALTH

Can I get tested for COVID-19?

If you feel you are at risk for coronavirus, please call your primary care provider to determine if you are a candidate for testing. If you require testing, your primary care provider will tell you where to go for testing. Please be advised: Testing for COVID-19 is not available at all sites across Main Line Health. 

  • The CDC has developed criteria for identifying a “person under investigation” (PUI) for the coronavirus based on what is known about the previous coronavirus cases. Testing criteria is changing daily. Currently, the CDC only recommends diagnostic testing of patients who have a fever or are symptomatic and have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • If you have recently returned from travel, particularly international travel or from the New York metropolitan area, please self-monitor for respiratory symptoms. If you become sick, please call the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1.877.PA.HEALTH (724.3258) and your doctor's office or emergency room before going.

How do I get my results and how long does it take after being tested for COVID-19?

You will be notified of your results. In most cases, results of outpatient COVID testing are available within the week.

Can I be tested for antibodies?

Main Line Health is currently offering coronavirus testing for antibodies utilizing an FDA-approved Abbott procedure. If you have questions about whether antibody testing is right for you, please contact your primary care provider. Find out more about COVID-19 antibody testing.

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BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

Is there someone I can talk to if I feel anxious or scared to come in for care?

Patients feeling anxious or who have concerns about coming in for care should call their provider’s office or our Main Line Health COVID Communications Center at 484.580.1919 to speak with one of our clinicians.

We also understand this is a difficult time for patients and the community we serve. Main Line Health Behavioral Health services provide a full array of programs to meet the needs of adolescents, adults and seniors struggling with mental and emotional health issues. Learn more about our Behavioral Health services.

What should I do if I need help with drug and alcohol recovery?

Mirmont Treatment Center continues to offer support and is still accepting new patients. Specific screening processes and safety measures are in place to ensure patients and staff are safe. Mirmont staff members are working tirelessly to ensure patients are able to focus on their health and well-being while receiving the best possible care.

Mirmont offers virtual 12-step meetings three days a week in addition to a first-responder 12-step meeting to support their needs during this crucial time. For Mirmont drug and alcohol rehab and dual-diagnosis treatment, call 1.888.CARE.898 (227.3898).

What if I need mental health support services?

It is especially important to stay connected and have a safe space to process anxiety and triggering emotions during this time of uncertainty and stress. We are offering all of our behavioral health outpatient services virtually (by videoconference) so you can still get the support you need through group or individual therapy. If you need support, please call our behavioral health specialists at 1.888.CARE.898 (227.3898).

Is it safe to go to the emergency department (ED)?

Yes. We’re keeping ED patients whose symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 separate, isolating them from everyone else and thoroughly cleaning treatment spaces in accordance with infection control guidelines between cases. Public spaces, including waiting areas, are cleaned regularly and are arranged to promote social distancing.

In an emergency, every minute matters.  Call 9-1-1 or visit the ER.

Should I go to urgent care instead of the emergency department (ED) because of the risk of coronavirus in the hospital?

Rest assured that we have taken every precaution to keep our patients and staff safe at our hospitals and facilities. If you are experiencing a true medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department at one of our four acute care hospitals in the western suburbs of Philadelphia:

If you’re not sure whether to go to urgent care or the ED, please call your primary care provider and follow their instructions.

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INPATIENT AND OUTPATIENT VISITATION DURING COVID-19

In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, it is recommended that you wear a homemade cloth or fabric mask any time you leave home. We ask that you also bring this heightened safety measure to any Main Line Health visit or appointment. 

Can I visit someone who is staying overnight in the hospital?

Unfortunately, there is no inpatient visitation at this time. This is for the safety of your loved ones in our care as well as for the staff that care for them. The only exception is for end-of-life visitation, in which case three visitors are permitted. Approved visitors must pass a brief COVID-19 screening, which includes a series of questions regarding respiratory symptoms.

Are there any visitation exceptions for maternity patients?

Yes. In outpatient areas and in our maternity units, patients are permitted to have one support person with them with the following exceptions:

  • The support person exhibits COVID symptoms and/or does not pass the entrance and/or unit screening questions.
  • The mom tests positive during their admission swab test.
  • The mom refuses their admission swab test.
  • If support person is permitted, they cannot be changed or substituted for someone else during the stay. 

The support person is restricted to the patient room for the duration of the stay. Complimentary meals will be provided.

Can I attend an outpatient appointment with someone? 

For the safety of our patients and staff, support persons are not permitted in outpatient areas unless clinically necessary.

Can I come inside to pick someone up from an outpatient appointment?

We ask that you please wait outside. If the person you are picking up needs assistance getting into or out of the building, please call the staff. They can advise you whether or not to come into the building or they will come out to assist you.

What if I need to go to the ED or assist someone who is in need of emergency care?

Emergency departments across Main Line Health remain open and ready to serve our community. If you are coming to the ED, we ask that you call ahead if you are coming in for COVID symptoms. If you are accompanying someone to the ED, we ask that you not accompany them into the building—unless they need support, physical or otherwise. We do allow one support person, when necessary.

What if I have a loved one in the ICU?

Visitation is not permitted to the ICU at this time. However, your loved one's care team can advise you on whether or not visitation may be permitted, based on the situation.

Where do I park? Is there valet parking?

Garage and outdoor parking, drop-offs, shuttle service and patient escorts are still available. Valet service is suspended at all Main Line Health facilities to limit COVID-19 exposure.

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FINANCIAL SUPPORT DURING COVID-19

Since I scheduled my surgery, I lost my job and no longer have health insurance (or my insurance changed). What should I do? 

Patients with limited or no health insurance, or those on a fixed or limited income, are encouraged to speak directly with their surgeon’s office and to talk to our financial counselors about payment arrangements. Call 484.337.1970 or find out more about payment options.

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WAYS TO DONATE DURING COVID-19

Are you accepting mask donations?

Yes. If you are donating handmade cloth masks, here is some important guidance:

  • Please use a cotton-poly mixed fabric. If not available, heavy cotton will work. Many have gone to fabric stores, but household items such as pillowcases will work as well.
  • Please follow a template similar to this one.
  • Put masks in a Ziploc or grocery bag.

Thank you so much for your generosity and help with this cause. The support we have received from our community has truly been incredible! And be sure to take a picture with your masks and tag us on social media with @mainlinehealth!

Are you accepting PPE donations?

Yes, thank you. If you have items to donate, please email covidsupplydonations@mlhs.org and a member of the team will respond. We have received a tremendous outpouring of support from our community wanting to help the Main Line Health team on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. As there is a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) across the country, we would greatly appreciate any donations of the following:

  • Gowns
  • Masks
  • N95 masks
  • Goggles
  • Face shields
  • Tyvek coveralls
  • Surgical gowns
  • Isolation gowns
  • Gloves

If I want to donate or contribute in some way, how should I do that?

One way you can make a difference is by contributing to the COVID-19 Employee Emergency Fund to support Main Line Health staff who continue to help us meet patient care needs during this time and need additional support with childcare, housing, commuting and other costs. You may also be interested in the COVID-19 Research Fund and the work our biomedical scientists are doing to understand this disease. Here's how you can help.

Can I donate plasma?

There has been a lot in the news about using plasma from recovered patients to help sick COVID-19 patients. Although at this time this is an unproven therapy, it may be a treatment option for some patients, and you can help. If you are a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 and want to help others, visit the American Red Cross donation site for more information.

 

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GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19

Here are some additional questions and answers you might find useful.

What should I do if I’m having COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., dry cough, fever)?

If you have mild symptoms, you may be able to rest and recover at home without needing medical care. Follow the CDC recommendation for what to do when you are sick.

You should also get in touch with your primary care provider to let them know what’s going on and to help monitor whether your fever is going up or down and whether other symptoms are improving or worsening. If you have severe symptoms like chest pain or difficulty breathing, go to the ED or call for an ambulance. If possible, call ahead to the ED to notify them you’re coming.

Are you doing clinical research about coronavirus?

Yes. Scientists at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR)  have pivoted their research toward battling the coronavirus and are conducting a clinical research study of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection. Find out more about the COVID-19 Research Fund.

Find out more about our response to COVID-19