/ Coronavirus Updates

Updated Thursday, April 2:

All of Pennsylvania is under a “Stay Home” order from Governor Wolf during the COVID-19 health emergency.  That means you should not leave your home unless it is for certain permitted travel or errands for health or safety purposes, or going to a job that is at a life-sustaining employer.

As an essential healthcare provider, Berks Community Health Center is adapting so that we can care for you in ways that are safe for patients and staff. To do this, we are using “Telehealth” to evaluate patients’ needs and provide many services.  Telehealth is communicating with your Provider over the phone or your computer.  During this emergency, it is the first way you should communicate with BCHC.

Our staff is reaching out to patients who have regular appointments scheduled to arrange for you to talk with your Provider using Telehealth first.  If you have not received a call yet, you can call BCHC at (610)988-4838 to set this up.  If you are feeling sick, you should also call BCHC first for screening and advice.

Remember, we are here for you.  But in this crisis, we want you to stay safe so please call us before you come to the health center.  The number is (610)988-4838.  

See the information below if you have questions about specific services.

For Patients For The Public

 

 

For Patients

Are your offices open?

We have staff at all four health center locations. But because of the stay home order and to lower the risk of anyone being exposed to the coronavirus, we want you to call us at (610)988-4838 instead of walking in to the office.  During the COVID-19 emergency we are using "telehealth" appointments - using phone or computer to see the provider - for routine and sick appointments.  This is a way to keep you and your health team safer.  

If you come to the health center in person, you will be instructed to call our number to talk with staff before you can come in.  If you can come in, you will be screened for symptoms and your temperature will be taken at the door.   There are no exceptions.  Our staff will explain our current policies and determine the best way to help you with what you need.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with our staff as we work together to care for you at this stressful time.

 

Are Dental services open?

BCHC Dental services are open only for dental emergencies, for all of our patients and our community. We are using tele-dentistry to screen all emergency patients on the phone prior to providing direct care. If you are experiencing pain, swelling or trauma, please call BCHC Dental Department at (484)772-1200. Our hours of operation  are Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 pm.

What about Pediatrics?

During this crisis, our entire Pediatrics team has moved to the Oakbrook location at 1040 Liggett Avenue.  Only children will be seen at this office for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, and the Pediatrics team will see all of our patients under 18 at that location, no matter who your regular provider is and what location you usually go to.

We are doing this to minimize the risk for our patients - children and adults - of exposure to COVID-19. 

Call first!  Children will be seen by telehealth or in-person by appointment only. The Pediatrics team will take care of newborns and healthy well-child checks in the morning, to ensure that they stay on track with vaccinations and checkups.  Afternoons will be reserved for acute sick visits for children and telehealth.

For Pediatric care, call (610)988-4838. 

 

Can I keep my scheduled appointment?

Call first! You should call the health center before you come for your regular routine appointment.  Call 610-988-4838.

Our staff will talk with you over the phone and will schedule a "telehealth" visit - over the phone or computer - with your Provider.   During the COVID-19 emergency, this is a way to have your visit without having to leave your home and risk exposure to the virus.  If your Provider decides you need to be seen in person, they will give you instructions on what to do.

What if I think I am sick?

Call first!  If you are feeling sick you should call BCHC before walking in.  Call 610-988-4838 and ask to speak with the nurse at your location.  She will ask you about your symptoms and tell you what you should do.  If you have to leave a voice message, please include your name and date of birth and a phone number you can be called at.  The nurse will call you as soon as possible.  

Can you test me for COVID-19?

BCHC is not a COVID-19 testing site. But you can call us and we can set up a screening Telehealth visit if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, trouble breathing, rash, vomiting or diarrhea.  If you are feeling sick, a BCHC Provider can see you via Telehealth and can advise you if you need to go for COVID-19 testing.  If you need to be tested they will send a prescription for the test to a testing site.  

What is the policy on Visitors coming to my visit with me?

To do our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19, this is the policy on Visitors coming to an in-person appointment with you:

  • Each patient may only be accompanied by one Visitor.
    • The Visitor must remain in the waiting area or outside the facility unless they are a support person because:
      • the patient is a minor (under 18);
      • the patient has a disability;
      • the Visitor is the patient\'s communicator.
  • No switching of support persons back and forth between the waiting room and exam rooms will be allowed.
  • For pediatric patients, a parent or a legal guardian may accompany the child.  
  • We are asking that you do not bring other children or siblings along to the visit.
What else is BCHC doing for protection from COVID-19?

First and most important - we are instructing everyone to CALL FIRST before you come to the health center.  If you are instructed to come to the office, everyone will be screened for temperature and symptoms before entering a BCHC location, in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  Screening will occur at the entry point for each BCHC practice location. 

We are also taking the following precautionary measures:

  • Limiting visitors coming with patients to one person.  That person must wait in the waiting room or outside unless they are needed for a support activity during the visit.
  • All activities that invite community members to a BCHC facility for events or educational programs are cancelled until further notice.
  • Vendor visitation to BCHC practices will be restricted.
  • Any delivery of food or other items from outside sources must be dropped off at the front desk ONLY.

Your health, safety and comfort are our top priorities. These restrictions will be continuously evaluated as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

 

 

 

For The Public

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The most common symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are fever, cough and shortness of breath.    BCHC patients please click on the button above which says, "What if I think I am sick?" to find out what to do if you have symptoms before you come to the health center.  If you are not a BCHC patient, please check the CDC website for the steps to follow: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

What should I do if I feel sick?

The most current information and guidance is on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

Where can I get good information?

The most up-to-date information and guidance about COVID-19 can be found at the websites of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PADOH).  The Pennsylvania Department of Health also has a phone number for questions: 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

Should I call 9-1-1 to ask about testing?

No! Only call 9-1-1 if you are having a true medical emergency. Please do NOT call 9-1-1 to ask about testing locations or advice on seeking medical attention.

What will happen when I call my doctor?

In order to protect patients and staff, and obey the Pennsylvania Stay Home Order, BCHC and many other outpatient healthcare providers are instructing all patients to call first before walking in to the office, even if you have an appointment scheduled.  Staff will talk with you about your needs, and most of the time, if you need an appointment, they will first schedule what's called a "telehealth" visit. This is a visit with your provider which is over the telephone or a computer.  Medicare, Medicaid and all insurances are authorizing visits to be conducted this way, especially during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Providers know that not every problem can be taken care of over the phone or with computer video.  That's why you should call the office before coming in.  If your provider feels you need to be seen in the office in person, they will arrange for that appointment. 

 

Should I get tested for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.  At BCHC, our providers can have a telehealth visit with a patient to screen for symptoms, travel and any exposure to another person with COVID-19.  If the provider determines you should be tested for COVID-19, they can write the prescription for the test that a screening site will require.