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SVPAM FAMILIES ~ Posted 12/8/2020

As Members of the Pennsylvania Pediatric Health Network, we share this important message with our patients & their families:

As we craft this letter, in support of our nurse leader colleagues who shared an earlier message with the community on November 20th, Allegheny County has seen an alarming increase in the trend of daily new cases since then – case counts ranging from several hundred to over 1,000 new cases per day – and a cumulative total of 575 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Allegheny County alone. 

 As pediatricians throughout Western Pennsylvania, we care for our region’s youngest patients and witness firsthand the impact of this pandemic on our youth. We know that pediatric patients are struggling with the challenges of virtual schooling, mental health, lack of physical activity, and other health and wellness components.

 We all want to see an end to the pandemic and for a successful return to in-person schooling for all students across our region, as well as a return to general wellness for all.  Our hope is that if we continue our mitigation efforts as a community, we can each do our part to support those goals.  For those reasons, we are asking you to continue to support us, and each other, through ongoing efforts including:

     *Wearing a mask every time you leave your home


  • Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, vigorously and frequently


  • Maintaining physical distance of at least six feet in addition to masking


  • Keeping your holiday gatherings limited to those in your household and connecting with others virtually


  • Please stay home if you are feeling at all unwell and keep your child home from school


  • Contact your pediatrician’s office to get (you and) your child vaccinated against seasonal flu


Making good choices now may allow us to celebrate the holidays in person next year as well as support a full return to in person school for our shared students and patients. 

 We sincerely thank you for continuing to support us, our fellow health care workers, and each other during this particularly challenging time of the pandemic through your ongoing actions to reduce the spread of COVID 19. 

 The Physicians of the Pennsylvania Pediatric Heath Network (PPHN)

Sewickley Valley Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

AGH Pediatrics – Pediatric Alliance

Children’s Community Pediatrics

General Academic PediatricsPrimary Care Pediatrics of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Kids Plus Pediatrics

Pediatrics South


Starting Monday 11/23 ~ Our Sewickley location will be temporarily closed again as COVID cases surge in the community & many of our staff have to be home for school & daycare shutdowns. If you have an appointment scheduled in Sewickley starting next week through the end of January, a staff member will be calling to accommodate you in Wexford or Rochester. Sewickley WILL be open on Saturdays when Wexford is closed.
We are also adding some additional appointments to increase our availability. Please be patient with us as we work through the process. We also ask for your continued kindness & understanding during this extremely stressful time ~ everyone, including you & your family, is stressed, tired, worn down & ready for a normal life again ~ please be kind to us as we are trying to stay safe so we can be available for your children.

SVPAM COVID-19 Mask Exception Statement ~ July 23, 2020

Recent scientific evidence suggests, with virtually unanimous support from our nation’s foremost public health experts, that the universal use of face masks in the United States works in controlling COVID-19 spread.  As our knowledge of COVID-19 expands & recommendations change, we will continue to update our guidance to you appropriately.

There are times when wearing a face mask or covering may need an exception.  Based on the latest CDC guidelines, the exceptions include, but are not limited to:

Children under the age of 2 years

Patients with active respiratory distress

Patients who are unable to remove their own mask

Patients with Sensory Processing Disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorders

Patients with certain facial deformities and/or airway problems



SVPAM is unable to “mandate” or “require” that schools, daycares, or businesses make exceptions for your child(ren).

If you feel your child meets any of the exceptions, we encourage you to discuss your specific situation with your schools & daycares directly and partner with them so everyone can be educated on the latest guidelines & areas of exception. 

It is our hope that we can all continue to work together to keep everyone safe and healthy.


Daniel M. Graff, M.D.               Robert Schwartz, M.D.              Amerigo N. Ceccarelli, M.D.

Rose Munroe, D.O.                   Susan Mihaljevic, CPNP            Jennifer Schaefer, CRNP

Rachel Sullivan, PA-C               Sarah Matusek, PA-C                Kristina Johnson PhD.

Pediatricians are looking out for the emotional and behavioral needs of children and adolescents during the #COVID19 pandemic. New AAP guidance is available today:

Tips  & Suggestions for Helping Your Child Wear a Mask

It is our view that parents play a significant role in helping their children navigate the COVID uncertainties and the “new normal” of mask wearing.  We have put together some helpful tips, via the links & information below, to help you help your child to make mask wearing fun!



What if my child is afraid to wear a face covering?  It is understandable that children may be afraid of cloth face coverings at first. Here are a few ideas to help make them seem less scary:

  • Look in the mirror with the face coverings on and talk about it.
  • Put a cloth face covering on a favorite stuffed animal.
  • Decorate them so they are more personalized and fun.
  • Show your child pictures of other children wearing them.
  • Draw one on their favorite book character.
  • Practice wearing the face covering at home to help your child get used to it.

For children under 3, it is best to answer their questions in simple language they understand. If they ask about why people are wearing cloth face coverings, explain that sometimes people wear them when they are sick, and when they are all better, they stop wearing them.

For children over 3, try focusing on germs. Explain that germs are special to your own body. Some germs and good and some are bad. The bad ones can make you sick. Since we cannot always tell which are good or bad, the cloth face coverings help make sure you keep those germs away from your own body.

One of the biggest challenges with having children wear cloth face coverings relates to them “feeling different” or stereotyping them as being sick. As more people wear these cloth face coverings, children will get used to them and not feel singled out or strange about wearing them.


1. Walk-in appointments will NOT be available through 2020 and into early 2021. We will let you know when we can provide that opportunity again.
2. Adjusted provider schedules, keeping well & sick patients separated, will continue through 2020. Well visits will be scheduled in the morning and early afternoons; sick patients scheduled mid-afternoon until close.
3. Masks are MANDATORY in all our locations for parents/patients ages 2 years and above. We wear masks to keep you safe ~ you must wear masks to keep us safe. We can’t help you if we get sick!
4. Depending on your child’s symptoms, we may schedule a telehealth visit, in-person visit or recommend outside facilities. Well visits will not be conducted by telehealth.
5. Flu clinic planning is still in progress; keep checking back for the most up to date information.

COVID UPDATES ~ Posted 6/15/2020

ATTENTION SVPAM FAMILIES ~ Going “green” does NOT mean that you don’t have to wear a mask any longer. In our offices, MASKS ARE REQUIRED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE so please make sure you have one when you arrive or you may be denied access.
Remember ~ Our Masks Protects YOU; YOUR mask protects US! If we get sick, we can’t help you, so please be respectful of OUR safety and the safety of other families in the office.

SVPAM COVID UPDATES ~ posted 6/4/20

Our Sewickley location reopened on 6/1/20 for Well Child Exams only.  Sick patients will continue to be triaged by our clinical staff and if appropriate will be scheduled in either the Wexford or Rochester location.  Sick patients will only be seen in the afternoon; morning appointments are reserved for well patients in accordance with our COVID policies and processes.

In accordance with the Governor’s mandate, effective 4/20/20, ALL VISITORS to the office MUST WEAR MASKS (children above 2 years of age) ~ please note that our mask supply is extremely limited, so if you arrive for your child’s appointment without masks, we may, unfortunately, have to refuse services.  Additionally, only one parent may accompany the patient to the appointment, with the exception of newborn families for their first visit.


Effective immediately, we are suspending all WALK-IN APPOINTMENTS and scheduling via our patient portal until further notice due to the national pandemic of Coronavirus. We have policies & procedures to keep staff/providers/patients and families as safe as possible.
We ask that if you feel your child needs to be seen, please call the office to speak with our staff who will guide you in scheduling an appointment for appropriate care.

In our continued efforts to keep all families/staff/providers as safe as possible, we ask you to limit the number of adults that you bring to your child’s visit. We are limiting those permitted in the weigh/exam rooms to the patients and parent/guardian only. Siblings, not being seen, who are not old enough to sit in the waiting area alone, will be permitted in the back office.
Our offices remain open & available to you with these exceptions.
It’s incredibly sad that we even need to say this, however, please be on notice that ANY patient/family found to be stealing our limited supply of hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, kleenex, paper towels or toilet paper, etc., WILL BE DISMISSED from our practice. We have no tolerance for such behavior. We are all in this Corona situation together and when you steal from us ~ you are also stealing from the 14,000 other families who call SVPAM their medical home.
Starting 3/17/20 ~ all well visits will be seen during the morning and all sick visits will be seen in the afternoon. Staff will be contacting those with existing appointments to make adjustments. We appreciate your understanding. This policy will be in effect until further notice.

Thank you for your understanding. Posted 3/12/2020; modified 3/16/2020

SVPAM COVID-19 Updates effective 4/7/2020:
We hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and practicing appropriate social distancing along with using face masks.
For established patients, SVPAM is now offering TELEHEALTH VISITS for certain sick visits in addition to our behavioral health rechecks. Please call and talk with one of our staff members to see if you meet the criteria. If so, you will be provided with a link for an audio/video visit that you may access via desktop, laptop, or mobile device. Audio & video must be enabled. Take advantage of this opportunity during the COVD crisis!
Our providers and staff continue to work hard to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.If you come to the office, you must be wearing a mask. We will continue to get through this together! Thanks for being a part of our “family”