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COVID-19: A Letter to Our Patients

This week, the American College of Surgeons provided the recommendation that both healthcare facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks. Specifically, they recommend delaying inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases, as well as all elective in-person clinic visits to preserve staff, personal protective equipment, and patient care supplies; ensure staff and patient safety; and expand available hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is echoed by a recent statement from the Academy of Otolaryngology strongly recommending that all ENT’s provide only time-sensitive or emergent care. This includes both office-based and surgical care.

Considering these recommendations, our office will begin transitioning to virtual visits as much as we can, while still doing everything we can to take the best care possible of our patients. This was a very difficult decision to make. However, we feel this is the best decision to protect the health and safety of our patients and our staff during this difficult time.

Effective immediately, our office will begin offering telemedicine visits to our patients. If you are already scheduled for a visit during this time, you will receive a phone call 1-2 days prior to your appointment to arrange for your telemedicine visit. If you do not have an existing appointment but would like one to be scheduled, please call our office or send a message to our office Manager, Michelle Densmore, at You may also message us through the patient portal.

We will be using the VSEE platform, which is HIPAA compliant. You will receive a call from the office within 30 minutes of your appointment time to review your medications. You can then indicate if you would like to receive a text or email notification when your physician is ready to meet with you via the secured video chat (can be used with a computer with web camera or smartphone). You do not need to download any additional software to your computer or smartphone. Most visits will only need a face to face visit, however if you feel there is a need for a more thorough exam, you can order a USB endoscope such as this one, and I can perform a complete physical exam.

Both the Texas medical board and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services agree that virtual visits are the best way to care for non-emergent patients and have quickly made changes to their reimbursement policies regarding telemedicine and private insurers have followed in this direction. As a result, due to insurance contracts, you will still be responsible for any office co-pay.

For patients that are having more urgent issues or need to be seen in person in the clinic, we will have limited in office hours depending on the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Please remember that going to the ER or calling 911 is still the safest option for life threatening emergencies, including shortness of breath.

We ask for patience as we all adapt to the significant changes emerging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and look forward to seeing you virtually. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the office if there are any questions or concerns.


Marc Dean, MD

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Call Us to Schedule an Appointment: (817) 332-4060
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