May 26, 2020
Dear Patients, Colleagues, and Friends:
Beginning June 1st I will be resuming a modified schedule of in-person visits – both in my office and via house calls. While I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find telemedicine an effective venue for many situations and plan on continuing to provide this service, many of my patients still need services that can only be offered in person.
In addition to NYC, I will also be available to see patients periodically in Vermont.
Everybody’s safety and health is my priority, and my office is not set up to allow for me to see patients that have active COVID-19 like symptoms. Therefore, I will continue to address these via telemedicine only.
The “new normal” necessitates introducing protocols that were previously unfamiliar to my practice. They are at the bottom of this letter; please make sure you review and understand them completely prior to scheduling an appointment.
One of the more significant changes I have implemented is that for the time being I plan to work without administrative support (though on occasion you may see another practitioner or one of my immediate family members in the office). This will limit contact exposures as well as allow me to streamline my services and patient communication. You may need to leave messages, and I will try to return all calls placed before 5:00 pm Monday thru Friday on the same business day.
This extraordinary time has also offered me new ways to recognize our interconnectedness and our ability to utilize our individual strengths in support of one another. Please do not allow the current climate of financial uncertainty to prevent you from reaching out. I will do my best to work with you without creating additional burden or concern.
I look forward to re-opening my office.
Benjamin Asher, MD
Please review these carefully and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Also note: While I am taking the precautions within my capacity to limit each of us from possible exposure to COVID-19, and I will continue to update them as new information becomes available, I cannot offer any guarantees. Each person will have to weigh the risks and benefits of an office visit or house call for themselves.
In person visits are limited to IV therapies, wellness / prevention protocols, chronic conditions, and acute Non-Covid-19 related symptoms. Please schedule a telemedicine appointment if you have cold, flu, or other possible COVID-19 symptoms (i.e. loss of smell or taste) even if you don’t believe you have COVID-19.
I will be scheduling all of my own appointments and I will be screening people myself as to the appropriateness of an in-person visit.
If you have known exposure to COVID-19 between the time I schedule your appointment and the actual appointment itself, please reschedule your visit.
Only one patient will be allowed into the office at a time; I will be spacing out appointments to allow me to sanitize the office (including the elevator) and the equipment between each patient visit. I’m aiming for no overlap, but it’s possible you may have to wait outside or in the lobby, especially if you arrive early.
Please take into account your mode of transportation to the office and allow for extra time so that you are on time. And, please leave the office afterward as promptly as possible to allow me enough time to prepare the office for the next visit.
Do not bring anyone to the office with you unless you require extra assistance or you are a parent accompanying a minor child.
I will be taking everyone’s temperature upon arrival; if you have a fever, you will be required to leave and reschedule your visit.
I will require everyone entering the office (patients and vendors) to wear disposable shoe coverings/booties.
I will be wearing a mask during your visit.
You will be required to arrive wearing a mask as well. Some of my services may require yours to be removed during your visit.
Hand sanitizer will be available upon arrival and at several locations in the office.
I will wash my hands frequently and thoroughly, and will wear gloves at some times, but not always — as they hinder my ability to work in certain circumstances.
Gloves will be available to you in the office should you desire them, but I will not require patients or other visitors to wear them.
I will be running an IQAir purifier in the office at all times while the office is open.
I will suspend providing the health bars in my waiting room, but tea and water will be served to you upon request.
My building’s elevators are rarely used and I will clean them after each patient. However, there is a stairway if you prefer; just let me know in advance so I can meet you at the usually locked back stairway door. You should also feel free to wait for another elevator ride if someone else is using it.
Please notify me if you do get sick and test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of our contact so that I can follow appropriate protocols.
April 8, 2020
Dear Patients and Colleagues,
As you are aware, the COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving and the recommendations for best practices are changing almost daily. I also know everyone’s email inboxes are inundated, so while I intend to send out periodic eblasts if something seems vital, the best way to stay current on my most up-to-date research regarding testing information, treatments, and basic wellness support is to check my website or like me on facebook. Additionally, at the bottom of this letter you will find links to resources and information I have found particularly useful.
While I had hoped to be back seeing patients in person by now, it has not seemed prudent to do so since I last held office hours on March 12. I will resume office and house call visits as soon as it seems appropriate to do so.
In the meantime, I am offering telemedicine services – via both video and phone – for existing and new patients. I have found these appointments to be very productive and suitable in most situations. This applies to COVID-19 issues as well as to the other conditions that I routinely treat. As always, it is important to me to remain accessible regardless of financial circumstances; please reach out if this is inhibiting you from making an appointment.
Regarding the Coronavirus: the official health guidelines suggest avoiding the hospital or calling 9-1-1 unless you are critically ill. I am available to support individuals who are having symptoms whether or not they have tested positive, including helping you assess if you need to seek additional care.
I’ve received several calls inquiring about the new FDA approved antibody test. The antibody test confirms if an individual has had the virus even if the infection was asymptomatic. Experts are working to confirm whether or not previous infection confers immunity. As of today the test is not yet readily available; I will post more information when I know how and where the test can be obtained.
In my own process of working with my fears, especially while supporting several COVID-19 positive patients, it’s been valuable to recognize the vulnerability of being human and the preciousness and fragility of life. Though it may initially feel counter-intuitive, I have found it helpful to lean into whatever emotions arise without trying to reason myself out of them or shut them out.
Meditation, guided imagery, relaxation, physical movement and creative expression all offer excellent support in working with the various feelings or the physical stress and anxiety responses incited by this unique time. There are numerous resources available online and I’ve included links to some COVID-19 specific meditations below. In addition, both Kamyn and I have been offering video TFT/EFT tapping sessions to support patients who would like further personalized assistance. Kamyn also offers consultations integrating Human Design with other modalities.
While there is no question that this is a very challenging and defining global event, I also believe in our infinite human potential to respond in creative, transformative ways that expand how we perceive and experience the world. I am uplifted to witness so many taking this opportunity to pause and reflect on what it means to be alive.
Links to Resources
My colleague Dr. Leo Galland has provided an excellent review about the virus and natural ways to support your health at this time: https://drgalland.com/
CDC guidelines about what to do if you are sick including a checklist regarding when to seek further care: https://www.cdc.gov/
(the UCLA one is free, the other has a nominal charge and can be downloaded as an app):
March 18, 2020
Dear Patients and Colleagues:
It’s clear to us that we are all in the midst of an unprecedented world event. While COVID-19 has been at the forefront of our minds these past few weeks, our office is also aware that our patients have other important on-going medical needs that existed before and may continue beyond this pandemic. I’ve been gathering the best information available in considering how my practice can support our community both in staying as healthy as possible and in continuing to serve those who are struggling with chronic issues.
We are offering three different services to try and accommodate the needs of our patients:
- House Calls
- In-Office visits
Please note that in-person appointments are offered ONLY to patients who are not acutely ill (see specific stipulations below)
Telemedicine laws have very recently been updated to allow for all patients to be seen virtually – whether they are returning or new patients – and for us to code these visits for your insurance company reimbursements with the same codes as we would an in-office visit. We are quickly working to launch a HIPAA compliant video appointment system that will also allow me to make a distance diagnosis and to order new prescriptions even if you are a new patient or have not been in to see me within the last year.
Starting the week of 3/23/20 I will expand my house calls availability on select days. I will be traveling only via my personal car, which has been and will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and wiped down. I plan to travel with a table for hands-on therapies, as well as have with me the ability to administer IV therapies, conduct a basic exam, and review and adjust any important protocols.
If you are coming into the office, we will be taking thorough measures to provide the safest possible environment for our patients and staff. These include:
Only seeing patients with a chronic issue or for preventive IV therapies.
PLEASE DO NOT come to the office if you have ANY acute cold or flu symptoms, even if you are certain they are not due to COVID-19.
We will be calling each patient the day prior to their appointment to remind them of this new policy and to help assess their current condition.
To maintain appropriate social distancing practices, we will be spacing out appointments with the goal of having no patients overlap.
Please be on time and plan to leave immediately after your appointment; do not bring anyone to the office with you unless you are someone who requires extra assistance.
Between each patient we will thoroughly clean and sanitize all surfaces.
We will be running an IQ Air medical grade air purifier in the reception area that filters viruses and bacteria
Tiffany, our receptionist, will be working from home to reduce the amount of people in the office at one time.
Please note: No one in my office will be using a mask; nor will I increase my use of gloves. If this concerns you, please make a telemedicine appointment.
House calls will be subject to the same symptom criteria as in-office visits (no acute illness). This service will be available in Manhattan below 125th Street and select areas in Brooklyn; surcharges will be assessed by zones. Please call the office for details.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and will notify you if further adjustments need to be made. We appreciate your flexibility in this time of uncertainty. In addition, we will not be charging for any late cancelled in-office appointments.
In this time of fear and chaos we would like to be a pillar of support for our patients. We will be posting some tips for staying healthy, reducing stress, increasing joy – as well offering guided meditations and recipes on our website and Facebook page throughout the coming weeks. For now, I would like to share with you my talk from the GFIM World Congress of Integrative Medicines in the hopes that it helps illuminate a new perspective on this pandemic – “Evolving from Fear into Love.”
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please call our office at: 212-223-4225.
Benjamin F. Asher, MD