Updated April 2, 2020
We understand that many of you in our ALS community may have questions and concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19. We are closely monitoring national government health agency guidance and consulting with our local and state health agencies on dealing with the coronavirus.
With the developing news regarding COVID-19, we wanted to take a moment to share how The ALS Association of Texas is addressing the concern about our programs and events. Our first priority is the safety and well-being of people with ALS, their families and caregivers, and our staff.
- Through the first week of April, we will temporarily cease any in-person interactions and instead work with our community virtually to safeguard our ALS community. We will assess this timeline as the situation progresses to determine if it should be extended.
- Utilizing video conferencing, we will continue to serve the ALS community through consultations, meetings, and support groups.
- We are closely monitoring the situation and are committed to following the recommendations of local, state and federal authorities.
- We are evaluating each of our programs and events on a case-by-case basis and will notify you directly of any changes.
- We will provide further details as-needed.
For the most recent information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), The ALS Association recommends that you reference the websites for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health authorities.
For specific information about symptoms you may be experiencing or questions about personal exposure as someone living with ALS or as a caregiver, please contact your physician directly. If you have questions about an upcoming clinic appointment, please contact your physician’s office directly.
Thank you for your patience as we manage this rapidly shifting situation.
Virtual Connection Groups & Workshops
We are still connecting! It just looks a little different. We have set up virtual Connection Groups, Caregiver Groups, Workshops and more. Take a look at our upcoming virtual events and join us!
Please contact your local Care Services Manager for further information.
ALS Multidisciplinary Clinics
Our ALS clinics across the state are determining their operations on a case-by-case basis. Below are changes that we know are impacting future clinic dates. Please contact your clinic if you have any questions.
Austin/Temple VA clinics
• Cancelled until further notice
Baylor in Houston
• Cancelled clinic scheduled for April 3; telehealth visits available
Central Texas Neurology
• Cancelled clinic scheduled for April 3; Dr. Horvit will be teleconferencing with all patients
DHR in Valley
• Continuing to see patients at the clinic; giving patients option for telehealth visit
Emory Bellard in RR
• Having clinic on April 16 but cancelling the pre-clinic support group
• Cancelled clinic scheduled for April 3
• Calling patients to assess needs; if necessary patients can go to the work-up unit (private rooms) to see the Team. Otherwise, patients will be rescheduled for the July or August group clinic.
UT Health San Antonio
• No clinic on April 1, but Dr. Jackson will see patients through telehealth
• No one except UT Health employees can be in the MARC building
South Texas VA in San Antonio
• Seeing only new patients and postponing follow-up patients
• Cancelled clinics scheduled for April 3 and April 17
Texas Tech in El Paso
• Normal operations for now
We utilize community partners to help deliver and pick-up our loaner medical equipment. Specifically, we work with Travis Medical, National Seating & Mobility and Numotion in different parts of the state. Due to the current situation with COVID-19, there are some limitations on what we can deliver and where we can deliver.
What this means:
- We ARE able to meet needs for smaller items such as loaner rollators, transport wheelchairs, shower chairs/benches, etc. as we can have them shipped directly to a patient’s home. *Please note that shipping of equipment is dependent upon current inventory and supply chains.
- We may encounter limitations when it comes to larger items such as loaner power wheelchairs, patient lifts, hospital beds, etc.
- We will not be able to pick-up any loaner or donated items right now in most areas of the state, excluding El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.
- Regardless of the type of equipment that is needed, please let us know what you need. In addition to the typical medical equipment needs, consider any items to help with activities of daily living (ADL’s) or any other household needs. We will do our best to fulfill these needs within the parameters in which we are operating currently.
NOTE: If you have a prescription for equipment and it is being billed through your insurance, you should still be able to get the equipment through your local medical equipment company.
If you have any equipment needs, concerns, or questions, please contact Marshall Nelson at 210-468-8281 or email@example.com.
Respiratory Quality Services (RQS)
RQS manages the in-home respiratory care for the majority of our patients across Texas.
Statement from RQS: “Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, RQS is having to put some measures in place to ensure the safety of our patients, caregivers and respiratory therapists. Temporarily, we will no longer be making routine home visits unless absolutely necessary. If a home trip is warranted, we will take necessary precautions including being symptom free for the previous two weeks before entering the home. We will continue to reach out to patients via phone, text, face time, etc. on a monthly basis. Our 24/7 on-call service will also be available. Hopefully, this outbreak will be contained very soon.”
RQS has put together Cleaning Guidelines for respiratory equipment that we wanted to share with you. You can download the Respiratory Care Supply Hygiene PDF here.
Avoid Coronavirus Scams
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received reports of scam and hoax text message campaigns and scam robocalls offering free home testing kits, promoting bogus cures, selling health insurance, and preying on virus-related fears. Do NOT click on links in texts related to the virus, and check cdc.gov/coronavirus for the most current information.
Helpful Resources and Information
- Medicare Coverage for Telehealth Visits Expanded During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Questions and Answers about COVID-19 and Its Impact on People with ALS
Questions and Additional Support
If you have any questions or additional needs, please contact your local Care Services Manager.