As the United States is in the sixth week of widespread sheltering in place, many people are yearning for a return to normalcy. But what we knew as normal less than two months ago is not returning any time soon. It’s going to be quite some time before people are comfortable doing many of the things they did without a care before this crisis. A vaccine for COVID-19 is likely more than a year away, and perhaps significantly farther than that, so medical spa owners and operators will need to consider many things they may not previously have needed to when their businesses re-open.
To that end, the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa) is introducing its Re-opening Toolkit, which features the AmSpa Checklist for Re-opening of Medical Spas During COVID-19. This checklist provides guidance dealing with various aspects of your business upon re-opening, including employees, patients, your physical office, re-opening logistics, communication policies and marketing, and is provided at this end of this statement. Along with the checklist, the toolkit contains seven policies and plans that will help provide detailed guidance on re-opening, including the following.
- Staff Health and Safety Plan
- Patient Health and Safety Plan
- Medical Office Cleaning and Disinfecting Plan
- Telecommuting Best Practices
- Patient Consent to Telemedicine Services
- Patient Consent – COVID-19 Pandemic
The Re-opening Toolkit is available for free to AmSpa Basic and Plus Members, and for $99 to non-members here. To learn more about the benefits of becoming an AmSpa member, click here.
Remember, as tempting as it is to try to re-open your medical spa as soon as possible, it is important to follow the recommendations of state and local health experts. If they recommend that your medical spa remain closed, you should heed their advice. The health and safety of your patients and employees should be your primary priority. However, you need to be prepared for when that day comes, and the AmSpa Re-opening Toolkit is designed to help you do just that. To access the Toolkit’s forms, click here.
AmSpa Checklist for Re-opening of Medical Spas During COVID-19
The following checklist provides basic guidance for medical spas on issues and considerations for re-opening during the COVID-19 crisis. This is only guidance. A customized plan needs to be developed by each medical spa and should address the topics that affect that specific business. The topics that should be addressed should include many of the following. (NOTE: AmSpa has provided in-depth policies and procedures for many of these topics. These are available to AmSpa Plus members and in the AmSpa Store for purchase here)
- Determine which employees are essential to your business and will return to work.
- Determine when and how employees will return to work.
- Will they be part-time, full-time, contract? Will they work in-person or remotely? How many employees should be working at one time in your physical business? Allow employees who can feasibly work from home to do so.
- Develop a process to determine if individual employees are healthy and it is safe for them to return to work.
- Consider implementing a temperature check and other screenings for employees each day and requiring employee certification that they are not experiencing any symptoms.
- Develop a protocol for returning employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have been exposed.
- Establish PPE and personal cleaning/sanitation requirements for staff, including any products or shipments coming in and out of the building.
- Make sure all spaces that staff are expected to occupy will allow for 6 ft. of clearance from another staff member or patient.
- Make all treatment/consultation scheduling digital (telemedical) to reduce face-to-face interactions with patients.
- Establish protocols and re-organize your waiting room/office space with the goal of keeping staff and patients at least 6 feet apart when possible.
- Provide or require PPE for patients entering your medical spa. Require patients to either use hand sanitizer at check in or wash their hands thoroughly.
- Limit the number of patients being seen during a given time to enable proper social distancing requirements.
- Be as efficient as possible when scheduling and seeing patients in order to limit the amount of time patients are waiting for appointments.
- Establish forms of digital communication with patients to avoid face-to-face interactions. This includes making all appointments that can be done via telemedicine completed in this manner.
- Establish protocols to screen patients for coronavirus, including temperature checks and other screenings.
- Be sure you are communicating all new protocols and requirements to patients before they are on-site for their appointment.
The Physical Office
- Before re-opening, have the office deep cleaned by a professional cleaning service. Have deep cleaning performed regularly after you have opened. Have your staff clean and sanitize surfaces and implements that patients and employees encounter after each use.
- Have the cleaning supplies, PPE and other sanitization tools needed to ensure the ability to keep your workplace sanitary.
- Train employees on cleaning and sanitization procedures. These procedures should be informed by OSHA and CDC guidelines.
- Make sure all OSHA guidelines are being followed in your office.
- When face-to-face interaction is necessary, such as at the reception desk, place clear plastic Plexiglass in front of the front desk staff to ensure a safe, sanitary encounter for both staff and patients.
- Consider only offering services that allow for no physical contact for the first month of your re-open.
- Only allow essential employees to be on-site at your medical spa. Keep on-site staff at a minimum and allow employees who can complete their jobs at home to work from home.
- Limit your hours of operation to limit the amount of possible exposure to the virus.
Employee Communication Plan
- Reach out to each employee and communicate whether or not they will be returning to work and what their work schedule and expectations will be.
- Be prepared to address employee “return-to-work” challenges and accommodations, including lack of child/senior care, unemployment pay concerns, and fear in returning to work.
- Communicate that it is mandatory that employees stay home if they are feeling ill and be tested if their symptoms relate to coronavirus. Be prepared to share whether the normal PTO policy is in place or if a special policy is place during the time of pandemic.
- Consider whether you will require employees to take part in the Google/Apple contact tracing program to attempt to identify whether an employee has had contact with anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days.
- Implement and update COVID-19 related policies, including social distancing and safety-related policies, as well as travel policies.
- Clearly communicate and promote all of the new procedures, temporary changes, and safety precautions you and your staff are implementing for all patient appointments. This includes:
- Hours of operation
- Menu of products/services offered
- How you are protecting your patients and staff, including appointment-staggering, sanitization protocols, employee policies, etc.