May 7 Update
Testing Makes Good Dollars and Sense for Your Company
Companies across America are asking if they should test their workforce for COVID-19 and, if so, which test is appropriate. The following information will help you make an informed decision.
What tests are available from Physicians Quality Care OCCMed, and what does each test for?
- The molecular test – nasal/oral swab – tests for active infection. This test should be performed on symptomatic individuals or on those suspected of recent exposure. It is also used to determine whether an asymptomatic employee could potentially be infecting others.
- The IgG antibody test – blood test – looks to see if an individual has had significant exposure to COVID-19 for his/her body to mount an immune response. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, COVID-19 antibody testing may indicate that "the person has been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity to the coronavirus."
Why is it important to test?
An individual with a positive molecular/swab test should be quarantined and carefully observed for worsening symptoms. This person obviously should not be allowed into the workplace.
If an individual shows significant antibody to COVID-19, according to the FDA, this person “may be able to resume work.”
I can understand why an individual with positive antibodies can return to work, but why are negative results just as important in the corporate setting?
If, for instance, a high percentage of your workforce tests negative for specific antibodies against COVID-19, it is further evidence that the protocols your company has put in place are effective. You have dramatically demonstrated successful due diligence against this pandemic.
Do my employees need to come to a Physicians Quality Care location?
No. For a minimum number of individuals to be tested, Physicians Quality Care will come to you.
Billing for the tests
There are several ways your company can handle the cost.
- Physicians Quality Care will come onsite and perform either test for a flat fee per employee tested. This includes all tech fees, travel costs, supplies, specimen processing and reporting of results.
- If each employee is insured, Physicians Quality Care can bill insurance. Note, however, since insurance only reimburses PQC for the actual cost of the test, there will be a per person fee charged for each person tested. This fee is significantly lower than the “no insurance” fee and is to cover the above costs plus the additional cost of processing the insurance claim and establishing the employee in our EMR.
Testing at Physicians Quality Care:
- Your employees may come to our Jackson location for testing. When done in-house, we will bill insurance and waive the co-pay. There will be no additional charge to the company. Results will be reported only to the individual, and it will be his or her responsibility to report results to the company. Employees may come to PQC individually without appointment or a block of time may be scheduled in order to test your employees more efficiently.
Interested companies should contact Jennifer, OCCMed Director, at 731-984-8400 or by email.
April 20 Update
Physicians Quality Care OCCMed launches free program today to help employers keep the coronavirus out of their workplaces
We are offering two free, two-minute videos – one for your employees and one for vendors and visitors – that identify your company’s guidelines to keep COVID-19 out of your worksite. The videos are available in an mp4 format and can be used on your website, breakrooms, entrance monitors and other places where you need them.
Companies interested in signing up for the program should contact Carmack at 731-984-8400 or by email.
Special COVID-19 Newsletter
March 26 Update
Protecting your workforce from COVID-19
Now that we have our COVID-19 facility up and running for those COVID-19 patients already showing symptoms, we can turn our attention to the task of protecting your workforce at large.
West Tennessee Healthcare’s guidelines prevent them from testing anyone unless they meet strict CDC guidelines; unfortunately, this does nothing to identify patients who are asymptomatic yet contagious for seven days or longer.
But we can.
If you have an employee at high risk – someone with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or pulmonary disease including COPD and asthma, for example – our medical staff can evaluate, test, treat and reassure. We can also help employees who are simply overly concerned – perhaps they have an elderly family member at home or are just unable to function because of anxiety about the pandemic.
We cannot perform “drive through” screenings or test entire populations (such as all of your employees) because it would unnecessarily strain a health care system that is already operating at near 100 percent capacity. But, we are able to test anyone who is symptomatic, at high risk, has a family member at high risk, or has had a known exposure. We can also test any asymptomatic individuals who are particularly anxious and concerned about their health.
Call us at 731-984-8400, either in advance or when your employee pulls into our parking lot, and our nurse will meet them at their car, mask them, and then escort them into our secure COVID-19 facility. There, a complete history will be taken, concerns will be addressed, and an appropriate physical exam will be performed.
We will test for other more common treatable illnesses that can mimic COVID-19, such as influenza, strep and RSV, and we will obtain those results before the patient leaves. We will also obtain a specimen for submission to a CDC-approved national reference lab to perform a specific test for the COVID-19 coronavirus. We will instruct the patient/employee to return home and self-quarantine while awaiting test results, which is usually a minimum of five days. By doing this, we hope to help prevent this potentially serious illness from crippling your workforce.
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Give me a call at our office, (731) 984-8400 or on my cell, (731) 217-7711, or email me.
March 20 Update
Important information concerning your company and COVID-19 Coronavirus
We take the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic very seriously, but even during this stressful time business must go on.
Beginning Monday, all OCCMed clients and workers’ comp patients will be seen in our newly opened OCCMed facility on the north side of our building and will have no contact with presumed COVID-19 patients or with any other patients who might be contagious. No patients with any infectious illness will be seen in our OCCMed facility to safeguard your workforce and still allow business to continue as usual.
We know your business doesn’t stop during these troubling times and we are here, not only to help you press through, but to ensure the health and safety of your employees. If you have any questions whatsoever, please give me a call at our office, (731) 984-8400 or on my cell, (731) 217-7711, or email me.