September 8, 2020
In a world where inhaling and exhaling is more difficult for those with conditions like asthma and allergies, Southern Maine Allergy Associates has kept their doors open for their patients.
“We have been fortunate to be able to remain open,” said Mary Mihailoff, “and that our practice is small. We have also been so thankful to have a community bank during these times.”
Throughout the pandemic, the doors never closed. Once the Governor restricted movement to essential services, the practice offered office visits via telehealth as many regulatory barriers to its use were removed. SMAA felt it was important to continue treatment for their patients as allergy symptoms mimic covid-19. They’ve continually reinvented how they open their doors.
SMAA has been able to keep the number of in-office appointments down since telehealth has become available. Their patients have been grateful they’ve remained open because listening to the chest and lungs is one of the most valuable pieces of the treatment puzzle. While they’ve been able to rise above some challenges, the biggest hurdle at first was paying the bills. The PPP loan was invaluable. Secondly, working with insurance companies and processing claims with telehealth coding guidelines.
Administering breathing tests at times, are part of prescription approval. Since COVID-19 is an airborne virus, SMAA has not been providing breathing tests to mitigate risk for both patients and providers. Their goal has been to keep everyone healthy and safe. They were nervous about how they’d be able to provide a course of treatment that would be covered through insurance without a breathing test. Despite their fears, they celebrated the small victory of prescription approvals without breathing test results and Mary said, “in the world we’re living in, it's all about the little wins”
SMAA staff, albeit tight-knight, pulled together with a can-do attitude, to be there for their patients. Mary said, “the patients have expressed fear, and we have continued to be a listening ear when they need to talk to someone. At times, patients were simply yearning for assurance they would be alright. We took every cautious measure to continue to be there for them safely.”
They’ve been tireless, determined and courageous. They’ve chosen service over self and have been it for only one reason: their patients and their community. Thank you to SMAA for being the #HeartAndSoulOfTheCommunity