COVID-19 Updates for Providers

Page Last Updated: 3/27/20
Recent Updates: Pre-screening criteria

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is offering several services to support efforts against the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19, including a COVID-19 24/7 Patient Information and Testing Hotline, a COVID-19 Provider Information Line and a drive-up testing site.

These services will be available to patients of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and community pediatric providers who meet the criteria for testing and have a lab order issued by the hotline.

If You Are... Then...
A community health care provider who pre-screened a patient (see criteria below) and the patient had a positive COVID-19 pre-screen Refer the patient to the Nationwide Children’s COVID-19 Patient Information and Testing Line at (614) 722-2787. The line is staffed by nurses 24/7.
A community health care provider seeking information on testing criteria and process or general clinical information related to COVID-19 Call our COVID-19 Provider Information Line at (614) 722-2009. This line is staffed by APNs 7 days a week between 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. After hours this line will be answered by Physician Direct Connect.
A Nationwide Children’s Hospital employee with a COVID-19 question Refer to COVID-19 information on ANCHOR.

Pre-screening Criteria: Referring Patients for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outpatient Testing

Nationwide Children’s COVID-19 24/7 Patient Information and Testing Hotline has been established to be a source of information for pre-screened families and to help arrange for drive-up testing IF a child meets the appropriate criteria.

These criteria identify which patients are eligible for testing. Current testing criteria target patients who are at the highest risk of illness or at a higher risk for complications. These restrictions are in place due to limited quantities of testing materials. The decision on whether to see a child in the primary care setting or to seek care elsewhere should be made on clinical decision-making and the ability of the facility to receive these patients.

Procedure for Pre-Screening

If you think a child may need testing, please pre-screen using the following criteria and only direct families to call who meet them. These same questions can be used to pre-screen patients prior to appointments. 

IF PATIENT HAS SYMPTOMS of fever or persistent cough PLUS either A or B:

A. A significant underlying medical condition (specifically immunocompromising condition related to illness itself of its therapy or chronic pulmonary or chronic, higher-risk cardiac disease* NOT including asthma)
B. A high risk exposure factor: In-person exposure to a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 within previous 14 days. 

*Children who still need major heart surgery, are blue, have only 1 pumping chamber or have problems with heart failure

Only patients with a positive pre-screen should be referred to Nationwide Children’s COVID-19 Patient Information and Testing Line at (614) 722-2787.

Download Pre-Screening Criteria

Testing Procedure

  • Providers should refer all patients for test screening to Nationwide Children’s 24/7 Patient Information and Testing Hotline at (614) 722-2787.
  • To help manage call volume, community-based providers should PRE-screen patients and discourage calls regarding children who do not meet testing criteria. Providers can also call the line with questions regarding the testing criteria.
  • Providers may swab a non-criteria patient in their office and send the sample for testing, however this is discouraged due to risk of exposure to office staff.
  • Patients who call the Information and Testing Hotline and meet testing criteria will be directed to the testing location. Testing will be provided ONLY to patients who meet testing criteria and have a lab order issued by nurses at the Nationwide Children’s COVID-19 24/7 Patient Hotline.
  • Patients who are tested will receive post-test instructions at the testing site. Families will be provided with home isolation instructions to follow until they receive test results and additional information.
  • Test processing will take 2-4 days. Results will be provided directly to the patient and also to the referring provider.

For Regional Providers

Regional health care providers should contact their local or state public health authority to obtain guidance on managing patients who may have COVID-19, and about how to access testing for those patients.

For Providers who use LabCorp or Nationwide Children’s Hospital Laboratory Services

Out of consideration for other patients and employees, we respectfully ask that individuals who meet criteria for risk of having COVID-19 not enter LabCorp or Nationwide Children’s Hospital Laboratory locations for outpatient collections, as we do not currently collect the sample types required for COVID-19 testing.

For outpatients, physicians can order the LabCorp 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), NAA test. The test detects the presence of the underlying virus that causes COVID-19 and is for use with patients who meet current guidance for evaluation of infection with COVID-19, which is available here.

COVID-19 testing requires specimens be collected by the health care provider from the patient’s nose, throat or lungs. The preferred sample types as nasopharyngeal (NP) or oropharyngeal (OP) swabs. Other appropriate sample types are NP or OP aspirates or washes, and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). More detailed information is available at LabCorp’s website (Q&A and test menu.) These samples should be collected in the physician office, and can be sent to Nationwide Children’s for further processing and submission to LabCorp.

Important Information

Please review the CDC website for the most current information about COVID-19, including home isolation instructions for those with suspected COVID-19.

To Request a Patient Transfer to Nationwide Children’s

In the event that a physician has a patient with suspected COVID-19 who requires transfer to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for further care, the physician should contact the Physician Direct Connect Hotline at (614) 355-0221 so appropriate measures can be taken prior to sending the patient to a Nationwide Children’s location.

Important Information

  • Only patients triaged through Nationwide Children’s 24/7 Patient Testing Hotline will have samples collected and tested. All other patients will be referred back to their primary care physician.
  • This is a sample collection site only — not an evaluation or care site.
  • If patients have symptoms of significant respiratory compromise requiring urgent medical treatment (oxygen, etc.) they should be directed to the Emergency Department with prior notification also given by the provider via the Physician Direct Connect line at (614) 355-0221.
  • Families will be asked to provide standard demographic and insurance information in order for us to register their child into our system.
  • All sample collections will be performed while patients and families remain inside their vehicles, and samples will be collected by nasopharyngeal (NP) swab.
  • Hospital staff collecting samples will wear personal protective equipment for their safety and for the safety of our patients and their families.
  • The child’s primary care physician will be notified that the child underwent testing via fax. Results will be faxed once available.
  • Families will be called with test results and provided further guidance if testing is positive.

For More Information Regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus:

  • Health care providers can consult their local or state public health authority to obtain guidance on managing patients who may have COVID-19.
  • The CDC website has the most-current information about COVID-19, including home isolation instructions for those with suspected COVID-19.
  • Nationwide Children’s has created a dedicated hotline just for health care providers to answer questions about COVID-19. The COVID-19 Provider Hotline is (614) 722-2009. This line is staffed by APNs 7 days a week between 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. After hours this line will be answered by Physician Direct Connect. Please Note: This number is for providers only. For information on the patient testing hotline, please refer to the pre-screening criteria.

This is an unusually fluid situation, and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital team will continue to provide updates as we optimize these testing procedures.

Postponement of Non-Urgent Procedures Requiring PPE

Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Nationwide Children’s will be postponing all non-urgent surgical, dental and invasive/interventional procedures scheduled for the next 60 days.

This change is in line with new guidelines from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and other societies, in order to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and minimize social interactions to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are currently communicating this message to affected patient families.

Regional Outreach Clinic Closures

March 25, 2020 - Nationwide Children’s will be suspending patient visits at all regional outreach clinics starting this week until May 1, after which we will reassess the situation. Regional Outreach Clinics include Athens, Chillicothe, Dayton, Findlay, Lima, Mansfield, Marietta, Marion, Nelsonville, Portsmouth, Springfield, Waverly and Zanesville. Acutely ill clinic patients will be served on the hospital’s main campus to ensure they receive necessary care. The hospital will also use telehealth options for less acute patients whenever possible to serve patients without requiring travel.