Author: Lake Forest Pediatric Associates

Patient Portal Billing Update

Some patients who have received an invoice from us recently have reported that they were unable to pay their bill on the Patient Portal. Instead of showing a balance due, their account shows a $0 balance. We apologize for the inconvenience! This issue is not affecting all accounts.

We notified Intergy, our practice’s Electronic Medical Record system provider, and they are working on a solution.

If you receive an invoice from our office, log in to the portal and see a $0 balance on the Portal, you are still able to make a payment, and it will still be properly credited to your account.

Thank you.

COVID-19 Resource Center

 

Latest CDC News and Guidance:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

 

Pre-appointment Screening Questions

  1. Do you or your child have any of these symptoms?
    • Cough
    • Fever greater than 100 degrees (Fahrenheit)
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of smell or taste
    • Diarrhea
    • Headache
    • Newly developed fatigue
  2. Does anyone in your household have COVID-19, or have you or your child been in contact with someone who you know has COVID-19?
  3. Is anyone in your household in quarantine due to a possible COVID-19 exposure?
  4. Has anyone in your household recently been tested for or is anyone in your household awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test?

If you answer “yes” to any of the above, please contact our office for next steps.

All patients and family members or guardians accompanying a patient to his/her appointment must wear masks in the office.

 

COVID-19 Test Results

Quest Diagnostics handles the PCR tests administered in our practice. Please understand that laboratories like Quest have seen significant increases in tests volume and while results had normally taken 2-3 days, they may take up to 5 days during this current Omicron wave. Please know that we will contact you when results come in. If you are registered for our patient portal, results will also be posted there. You may also use the following options:

COVID-19 Vaccine

We’re now taking appointments for the COVID vaccine, ages 6 months and older! Please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

We have been asked which vaccine we recommend for children. We only recommend that children receive a COVID vaccine, but we do not have a preference for which one they get. We will, however, only have the Pfizer vaccine in our office.

COVID-19 Information

The disease in children is generally mild and not unlike the other cold and flu infections you may have helped your children through in the past. Serious complications including the possibility of a post Covid-19 multisystem inflammatory response remain rare.

Symptoms

Any one of the following symptoms in a child can be consistent with Covid-19: runny nose or congestion, headache, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea or vomiting, poor appetite or poor feeding, diarrhea, loss of smell or taste. These symptoms are the same as seen in multiple other infections making it impossible to distinguish who has Covid-19 vs another viral or bacterial infection. Children can also be asymptomatic yet shed the virus and infect others.

Multisystem inflammatory disease is a severe illness marked by high fever and often intense abdominal pain. Patients are often very weak and appear very ill. It is felt to be a complication that arises from an immune reaction several weeks after a Covid -19 infection as patients usually test positive for antibodies to the virus and not the virus itself.

Testing

ASYMPTOMATIC CHILDREN

We are NOW able to do asymptomatic screening in our office. The current Waukegan testing site, as well as few others, will also do these tests. Testing sites are available at https://www.lakecountyil.gov/4435/COVID-19-Testing That page includes the testing criteria for each site.

ILL CHILDREN

Testing has become more available over the past months and is available at our office (as long as our supplies are available) as well as various sites across the county. While having a positive test will not alter any treatment, it has become important as daycare and schools reopen to guide them when an ill child may return. Testing will also become important for contact tracing as that ability increases in the coming months. Our testing supplies are limited by national shortages and we cannot guarantee this ability on any given day but so far, we have been able to obtain them. Supply issues may worsen as the need for testing increases with the reopening of schools and daycares.

A NEGATIVE COVID TEST IS REQUIRED FOR ANY ONE OF THE ABOVE LISTED SYMPTOMS IN ORDER TO RETURN TO SCHOOL OR DAYCARE PER THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH as even very mildly ill children can be positive and can shed virus for up to 10 days even if they have recovered from very brief symptoms. The child and family members should quarantine pending the test results which can take several days. A diagnosis of an ear infection or a positive test for flu or strep throat does NOT rule out Covid-19 as many patients have been found to have both infections at the same time. Covid-19 testing and quarantine are still needed even with these diagnoses. There will be VERY few children that can be sent back to school or daycare with an alternative diagnosis and no Covid-19 test. We understand this will be frustrating for families but the public health department feels this if the best way to keep our schools and daycares safe and open.

QUICK TESTS

We offer in-office same day test for Covid-19. The test we offer is the BD Veritor rapid antigen test (as long as our supplies continue). This gives a result in about 30 minutes and can be used for most symptomatic children. It is less accurate for asymptomatic screening or when symptoms have been present for more than 5 days. Some schools and exposure situations require the PCR test, which we send to Quest Diagnostics, which has a turnaround time of 3-8 days, depending on their backlog at the time.

While the rapid test is not as accurate as the PCR test, the ID specialists at Lurie Children’s feel it is a reliable test in children as they have higher viral loads than adults. In certain, higher-risk situations, a backup PCR test may be recommended if the antigen test is negative.

IMMUNITY TESTS

If we knew contracting Covid-19 would give you lifelong immunity to this virus, an accurate verified test to see if you are immune would be extremely useful to us all. Unfortunately, all the tests have some false negative and false positive rates and may cross-react with other strains of coronaviruses. We also do not know if these antibodies we are testing for are the ones that give you immunity and even if they are, we do not know how long that immunity will last. Immunity to some of the other strains of coronavirus shows immunity starting to decrease after about 4 months with no immunity remaining after several years. We also do not know what level of antibodies will give you protection-you may test positive for a low level that will not protect you.

As we learn more and verify some of these tests, they will at first be helpful when testing large numbers of people to have a rough idea of how many people have been infected in a given area. Until we know a lot more, they will not be helpful for a given individual and we are not recommending them.

Office Information

In order to keep staff and patients safe we have instituted separate procedures for sick children and have them wait in their cars until their room is ready. They then enter the building through a separate entrance than well children do. These hours are currently at the end of each morning and the end of each afternoon in Lake Bluff and Lindenhurst. Vernon Hills currently is well visits only but will offer late morning ill appointments and early evening well visits. Illness hours will be expanded as needed once we are into cold/flu season. Testing is available at our office but is not guaranteed due to national shortages of supplies.

We are taking numerous precautions to protect your well child while visiting the office. We are contacting each patient shortly before their appointment to assure no one is ill in any way nor been exposed to anyone with Covid-19. We are asking that only one parent and no siblings come in with the child if possible. Our waiting areas have adequate spacing for social distancing.

Sick patients will wait in their cars until their rooms are ready and enter the office through a separate entrance. Rooms are being thoroughly wiped down between all patients. Providers will be wearing gloves, masks, gowns and goggles where appropriate with ill children to prevent any spread of the virus.

Well visits are considered essential care and we especially do not want anyone to fall behind on their immunizations. We are seeing all ages in all of our offices. Well visits will be either at a separate time of day or in a separate area of the office than ill children. Weekend appointments are available and we will also begin to have some early evening well appointments starting in October at our Vernon Hills office Monday through Thursday.

A Message to Patients, Parents, and Guardians

Dear patients, parents, and guardians,

Since the summer, we have experienced a dramatic increase in calls to our office, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. Your time is valuable and we are working very hard to reduce hold times.

We have been revamping our internal workflows and have also rolled out more self-service options for you in the hope that these changes will reduce the number of calls we’re receiving and also reduce the time you spend on the phone with our staff.

We have general appointment requests (link), morning sick call requests (link), COVID vaccination appointment requests (link), symptom checker (link), a COVID vaccine FAQ (link), and more.

Using our Patient Portal (link) will also help you save time if you’re looking for medical records, lab results, or if you want to make a prescription refill request.

We’re not done with making changes, and will continue to retool our workflows in order to better serve you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Lake Forest Pediatrics wins eHealthcare Leadership Awards’ “Best Site Design” for 2021

We are proud to announce that Lake Forest Pediatric Associates has won eHealthcare Awards’ “Best Site Design” for 2021! According to eHealthcare Leadership Awards, entrants are judged based on the following questions:

  • Is the web design unusual, attractive, and engaging?
  • Does the design facilitate access to key site information?
  • Does it provide strong branding and excellent usability?

We take pride in our ability to provide accurate information to our patients in the most convenient way possible, and we thank eHealthcare for their recognition of our website. Check out all of the 2021 winners here.

eHealthcare Leadership Awards Winner 2021

2021 Holiday Hours and Open Offices

Our Vernon Hills office will be closed 12/20 through 12/31, and will reopen with standard office hours on Monday 1/3/22.

Please see below for the schedule changes related to our Lake Bluff and Lindenhurst offices during these next two weeks:

 

CHRISTMAS EVE, Friday, 12/24/21

Lake Bluff Only. 8:00am – Noon.

By appointment only for urgent care until Noon.

Vernon Hills & Lindenhurst offices are Closed.

 

CHRISTMAS DAY, Saturday, 12/25/21

All offices are closed.

On-call provider is available for urgent matters.

 

Sunday, 12/26/21

Lake Bluff Only. 8:00am – Noon.

By appointment only for urgent care until Noon.

Vernon Hills & Lindenhurst offices are Closed.

 

 

NEW YEARS EVE, Friday, 12/31/21

Lake Bluff Only. 8:00am – Noon.

By appointment only for urgent care until Noon.

Vernon Hills & Lindenhurst offices are Closed.

 

NEW YEARS DAY, Saturday, 1/1/22

Lake Bluff Only. 8:00am – Noon.

By appointment only for urgent care until Noon.

Vernon Hills & Lindenhurst offices are Closed.

 

Sunday, 1/2/22

Lake Bluff Only. 8:00am – Noon.

By appointment only for urgent care until Noon.

Vernon Hills & Lindenhurst offices are Closed.

ACIP Approves COVID Vaccine for Children Aged 5-11

Today, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved the use of a COVID Vaccine for Children aged 5-11. This follows the recently announced approval by the FDA. Read about it here.

Now vaccine manufacturers and state agencies may begin to ship the vaccines to medical offices. Governor Pritzker has recommended patients get the vaccine from their pediatrician, and we are doing all we can to be able to provide that to our patients. We are working closely with the State of Illinois and the Lake County Health Department on securing vaccine supplies.

We’re hoping it will be quick, but at this time, we do not have a timeframe….for either how quickly the state can send out vaccines or how long shipping will take. We also do not know how many doses we will receive in the first few shipments and we ask your patience in the coming weeks. According to a recent NBC article, the State of Illinois has initially secured “306,000 doses for kids 5-11, with an additional 73,000 doses for the city of Chicago and more than 100,000 headed to federal government pharmacy partners”.

 

The process at Lake Forest Pediatric Associates will work as follows:

1. Parents/guardians will submit a short form to request 1 appointment online (and will make their 2nd dose appointment while in the office at their 1st vaccination) here: https://lakeforestpediatrics.com/covid-vaccine-appointments/.

2. Parents/guardians will be allowed to input multiple sibling names in the same appointment request (no need to make multiple appointment requests for each individual child).

3. Once the request has been submitted, it will be time-stamped in our system for a return call from our Front Desk personnel.

 

* PLEASE NOTE:

When you submit the request form and see the following message,

“Thank You for your form submission. We will contact you as soon as we are able in order to schedule your vaccine appointment”,

your vaccine appointment request has been received by our system. This is your confirmation that your appointment request has been received.

Please be patient and wait for a team member to give you a call to set up your child’s/children’s appointment. Please do not call the office – we have received your appointment request and we will call you when an appointment is available.

 

4. Our Front Desk personnel will call you. Appointments will be made in the order in which the appointment request was received and based on our expected vaccine supply.

For more answers to your Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID vaccine for kids under 12, see this article from Lurie Children’s.

FDA and ACIP Have Approved COVID Vaccine for Kids under 12 Years

The FDA and ACIP have approved the COVID vaccine for children aged 5-11 years.

The most common questions asked by parents/guardians so far are:

  1. Can my child receive the COVID vaccine if he/she has received another vaccine recently?
    1. Currently, the CDC states that “COVID-19 vaccines may be administered without regard to timing of other vaccines. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day.” Link
  2. Can my child receive the COVID vaccine if he/she has has COVID recently?
    1. The CDC states that “COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone aged 5 years and older, regardless of a history of symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection; this includes people with prolonged post-COVID-19 symptoms and applies to primary series doses, additional primary doses, and booster doses.” Link
    2. Further, the CDC also states that “people with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should defer vaccination at least until recovery from the acute illness (if symptoms were present) has been achieved and criteria to discontinue isolation have been met.” Link
  3. What if my child is 11 and almost 12? What dose should he/she receive?
    1. The CDC states that “children should receive the vaccine dosage and formulation based on their age on the day of vaccination with each dose. If a child turns 12 years old between their first and second dose, they should receive the age-appropriate 30 µg Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (purple cap) formulation or COMIRNATY for their second dose to complete their series. However, the FDA authorization allows children who will turn from 11 years to 12 years of age between their first and second dose in the primary regimen to receive, for either dose, either: (1) the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine formulation for children aged 5–11 years (each 0.2 ml dose containing 10 µg in an orange cap vial); or (2) COMIRNATY or the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine formulation authorized for use in individuals 12 years of age and older (each 0.3 mL dose containing 30 mcg in a purple cap vial). If such dosing occurred, the child is considered fully vaccinated. This is not considered an error and VAERS reporting is not indicated.” Link

Please use the following link to submit an appointment request. Once a request has been submitted, it will be time-stamped in our system for a return call from our Front Desk staff. When you see the following message: “Thank you for your form submission…” your vaccine appointment request has been received by our system. Please be patient and wait for our team members to give you a call to set up the appointment.

We are so proud to serve our community, thank you for your patience during this process. And while we want to be able to provide the vaccine to all our patients, our supply and clinic schedules may push appointments out several weeks. And at this time, due to incredibly high demand, if you are able to receive the vaccine from your school or local pharmacy, we recommend that as an alternative site for your child.

Skip the Wait: Login Online, to our Website or to our Patient Portal

With the unprecedented number of #pediatric illnesses we’re seeing this fall, calls to the offices have increased dramatically. And phone wait times are increasing too.

Skip The Wait by reaching out to us online, on the website or on the Patient Portal for non-emergent issues. You can make an appointment: https://lakeforestpediatrics.com/appointments/ or a sick call appointment: https://lakeforestpediatrics.com/morning-sick-calls/ on the website.  Request lab results and prescription refills on our Patient Portal: https://myhealthrecord.com/Portal/SSO. If you need to speak with a team member, you can request that on the Patient Portal too and we’ll call you back.

We are doing our best to address everyone’s concerns and appreciate your understanding. If you call the offices and find yourself on hold, please DO NOT hang up as you will lose your place in line. When you call back again later, you will be at the end of the line.

Dr. Chou’s Retirement

We wish to share the news that Dr. Cynthia Chou is retiring. Her last day at the office will be November 4th.

Joining Lake Forest Pediatrics in September of 1999, Dr. Chou has provided great care to her patients. We wish her well and hope she enjoys more time with her family.

Dr. Chou may have already spoken with you, or you may have received a letter from us in the mail, but please know that we wish to avoid any possible interruptions in your child’s care. On our “Meet Our Providers” page, you may find brief bios of other members of our practice. Each are Board Certified in Pediatrics and are on-staff at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and Lurie Children’s Hospital, and all are dedicated to delivering the best care that every person deserves.

Please feel free to let our front office staff know which physician you would like to see at your next visit. Should your insurance plan require you to select a primary care physician, you may inform them of which physician you have chosen, effective 11/5/21.

If you have any questions or if you need anything, please contact our office at 847-295-1220.

Thank you for the continued privilege of providing care for your child.

 

 

Flu Clinics Scheduled

The influenza (flu) season starts in the fall and usually ends in the spring. The illness is most frequently seen in preschool or school-aged children and usually lasts a week or two. Because the flu is caused by a respiratory virus, it can spread rapidly, causing symptoms such as a sudden fever, chills and body shakes, headache, body aches, tiredness, sore throat, dry hacking cough, stuffy runny nose, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, the virus can spread when children touch a contaminated hard surface and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. There can be serious complications, even death, from the flu. However, because of the flu vaccine, these complications are less common.

Lake Forest Pediatric Associates and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an annual influenza vaccination for children 6 months and older, with rare exceptions. Call us for an appointment at 847-295-1220. Children 6 months – 8 years will need two vaccine doses given at least four weeks apart while older children will only need one dose. Got questions? Call us at 847-295-1220 and read about it from Healthy Children here: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/The-Flu.aspx.

Lake Forest Pediatric Associates October Flu Clinic Schedule

Saturday, 10/9/21, Lindenhurst – 8:00-12:00pm

Thursday, 10/14/21, Lake Bluff – 1:30-4:45pm

Friday, 10/15/21, Lindenhurst – 1:30-4:45pm

Tuesday, 10/19/21, Lindenhurst – 3:30-6:30pm

Thursday, 10/28/21, Vernon Hills – 1:30-4:45pm

Saturday, 10/30/21, Lindenhurst – 8:00-12:00pm

Additional Flu Clinics will be added to the schedule at a later date. Call our team at 847-295-1220 to make your child’s Flu Clinic appointment.