AMGA CAO/COO Council Meeting: Staffing Entrances

AMGA COVID-19 Resources

Discussion Summary
June 2, 2020

This summary is based on a discussion via AMGA’s Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Operating Officer listserv as of June 2, 2020. For more information on the council, please click here.

Question: Like many, we are providing screeners at the front entrances for patients, employees, physicians, etc. Is anyone running into challenges with staffing these entrances now that many employees are returning to their normal jobs?
  • Are you moving this function to the front desks (with sneeze guards and very deep check-in desks, this has not been a great alternative)?
  • Do you require this to be a medically trained person?
  • Are some of you moving the screening process to the exam rooms and just making sure the patients are masked at the entrance with signage?


  • We have started using our check-in staff, and they can register the patient as well. (Group based in Florida)
  • We are challenged with staffing, especially as we are phasing reopening and seeing more face-to-face visits in the practices. We are looking at the potential in our larger medical office buildings to create a position made up of fractionated FTE from multiple practices to be solely dedicated to this function, knowing it will be around for some time. Having staff rotate has been challenging. We have created a computer-based learning that allows other staff besides a certified medical assistant to perform this function, specifically focusing on hand hygiene and temperature taking. This has proven helpful.
  • We require universal masking at all of our locations. Our hospitals are using the infrared temperature cameras, and these have proven very useful, especially since we screen all providers and employees. As it relates to patients, the camera does not take away the need to ask screening questions, so it still requires staffing. (Group based in Massachusetts)
  • We’re working with an external partner to create a non-contact digital "kiosk" that detects body temperature, utilizes touchless technology to answer screening questions, and uses facial recognition to detect masks. We may develop additional capabilities in the future, including data storage and integration with turnstiles, door access, etc. We're also using medical assistants and receptionists to staff our entryways as screeners. (Group based in Michigan)
  • We do exactly as our peer in Michigan outlined with one exception—we do not take temperatures at the door. We also move anyone with symptoms directly into an exam room with the door closed. (Group based in New York)
  • In our physician offices, we are using a screener at the door (not required to be medical personnel), taking temperatures, and asking screening questions. We also call 24 hours ahead to ask screening questions, screen any support person coming with them, and remind them to arrive masked. (Group based in Pennsylvania)
  • We were using our medical assistants and front staff to staff the screening areas when our volume was down, but now that our volume is almost back to pre-COVID levels, it is getting harder to staff these areas. We have developed a job description for our screener position because we are not planning on discontinuing this function going forward. We are not requiring them to have a nursing certification. (Group based in Florida)

Please note that in a separate thread, virtually all members are still doing temperature checks alongside screening questions on all patients/visitors (when allowed). Mask requirements remain universal. (Only one organization was not doing temperature checks due to staffing issues.