COVID-19 Resources for Optometrists
COVID-19 has created a crisis for all healthcare providers, including optometrists. All optometry offices must stay on top of COVID-19 regulations to ensure a COVID-safe practice for team members and patients who visit for healthcare. Optometry practices that want to manage COVID safety properly should consider relying on HR for Health.
HR for Health is a resource that keeps all users informed about COVID-19 rules and regulations and what you might need to change at your optometry practice to stay compliant and virus-free. Learn more about setting up practical COVID-19 office guidelines and how HR for Health can help you do that.
Should You Mandate Employee COVID-19 Vaccinations in Your Optometry Practice?
Many optometry practice managers wonder if they should mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees who work at the practice.The choice is up to each practice's discretion, depending on whether they want to require their team members to get immunized or not. When you're making decisions about requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, it's essential to keep in mind both the federal and state laws that apply to where you live.
It's vital to comply with those laws to keep your optometry practice open legally. Some states require all employees at healthcare practices to be vaccinated (unless there is medical proof that they shouldn't be). Others leave it up to the head or manager of the practice to decide. Ensure you follow all regulations regarding vaccinations to comply with the law. Make a decision based on what you think will keep your team and your patients as healthy, safe, and happy as possible.
If you want to draft a COVD-19 vaccination policy to share with your employees and other team members at your optometry practice, you can rely on HR for Health to help. At HR for Health, we have policy templates available no matter what route you choose to take with vaccines. Using one of HR for Health's templates can ensure compliance when having a written policy in place. Also, you can make your rules very clear to your team. That way, there's no misunderstanding regarding what they need to do about getting their COVID-19 vaccines and providing proof.
How to Support Team Members After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccination
If the employees at your optometry practice received the COVID-19 vaccination as part of your "COVID-19 return to work" policies, you could support them as they strive to remain as healthy as possible. Here are several ways to show you care about their well-being and are there to help their safety.
- Stay on top of regulatory changes: As a practice manager, you should keep up to date with regulations in your location and any provisions that may apply (e.g., supplemental leave laws, expanded sick leave provisions, etc.). Be sure you stay abreast of all legal changes to always provide your team with what they're entitled to. In turn, you ensure that you remain in compliance with laws while creating a welcoming, safe-feeling office for all.
- Communicate your needs clearly: When you set up COVID safe procedures for your practice, communicate all procedures clearly, including any expectations regarding proof of vaccination. It's important to note that these must be housed separately from your practice's personnel files because vaccine records are considered medical information.
- Consider individual differences: Some employees may recover soon after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Others may get the vaccine and not recover as quickly. Considering that each individual is unique, no two situations should be compared. Let everyone recuperate and recover at their rate.
- Use adequate technology for vaccine record storage: If your optometry practice’s COVID guidelines include keeping vaccination records for your employees, you must have adequate technology to store those records and any communication relating to those records. For suitable storage of vaccination records, consider using HR for Health. We offer optometry practices the capacity to store confidential medical information for their team members separately from other personnel files, so you can be assured all information is on hand, compliant and confidential information stays safe.
Read more about the benefits of managing healthcare records through HR for Health to understand how the program can help.
Managing Staff Shortages
Expect that some team members may need to take sick leave if they get the virus or have an adverse reaction to the vaccine. Your team may experience shortages if you have employees who must stay home. As you work to fill gaps in your optometry practice, HR for Health has you covered. You can use HR for Health's all-in-one software solution to help onboard employees, both regular and temporary, quickly and efficiently. As you fill empty roles, your new team members will have some knowledge about what they're doing, and they can start feeling like part of your practice and culture right away.
If you are making temporary staff offers, you should make sure to include a offer letter when you hire someone, even if it is only on a temporary basis. Here is an example of such a letter. Keep in mind that HR for Health has many such examples.
Ongoing COVID-19 Employee Safety
As the virus mutates and spreads, it's important to continue implementing COVID safe procedures at your optometry practice. Consider having everyone in the practice wear masks, including optometrists and patients. Offer hand sanitizer everywhere in the office, and encourage doctors, nurses, and front desk employees to wash their hands at intervals throughout the day. It’s also important to ensure you are keeping up-to-date with any updates from regulatory agencies like OSHA. As employees who've had COVID-19 return to work, have your team members regularly take rapid COVID tests to ensure they test negative for the virus. You may want to set tests at regular required intervals to catch the spread of the virus early if someone on your team picks it up somewhere outside the office.
Setting COVID Office Guidelines: A Better Optometry Experience for Everyone
Setting COVID office guidelines may feel daunting. It will likely require you to research and learn more to understand COVID safe procedures. However, as soon as you identify COVID regulations in your area—and the best ways to stop the spread of the virus—you can set up COVID-related procedures at your optometry practice to make being at the eye doctor better for everyone. Implementing COVID safe procedures keeps your team safe and healthy while providing routine and emergency eye care to trusting patients.
How HR for Health Can Help
To help create the best COVID office guidelines and make them known throughout your optometry practice, you can use HR for Health. HR for Health's digital tools for optometry practices can make everything related to COVID office guidelines easier, from documentation storage to vaccine tracking (e.g., COVID-19 leave provisions and COVID-19 return to work policies). HR for Health also notifies users of key law updates connected to COVID-19 that may impact their practice. So, you can also rely on the platform to keep you abreast of any changes you need to make to your COVID office guidelines to comply with all-important laws and regulations.