On Monday, July 6, 2020, the Columbia City Council passed a mask ordinance. Under the ordinance, everyone 10 years of age and older that is within Columbia city limits will be required to wear a mask when around people who are not household members, both indoors and outdoors if closer than six feet to other people. The ordinance goes into effect on Friday, July 10 at 5 p.m. This ordinance is in place for 90 days unless otherwise rescinded or extended. For your health and safety and to keep our employees safe, it will be mandatory that patients wear a mask to your appointments when in the Columbia office. Our supplies are limited so please bring your own if possible. If we provide you with a mask, please save it to wear at future appointments. 

Additional information can be found on the City of Columbia’s website.

As of May 3, 2020, Governor Mike Parsons has lifted the state’s stay-at-home order to move Missouri into Phase One re-opening. Leading up to this re-opening, our staff has been working hard to prepare for a gradual relaxation of some of the restrictions necessitated by COVID-19. Our primary focus is to keep our patients, staff and community safe. We will remain vigilant and continue the current visitor policy (no visitors without prior approval), continue to screen the health of all staff, patients and visitors entering MCA facilities, and continue telemedicine visits when possible. We will also maintain current PPE requirements. 

Missouri Cancer Associates is open and operating. Keeping you and our staff safe is our highest priority. Please note a slight adjustment to our office and call center hours.

Missouri Cancer Center offices are open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all in-person appointments.

Our call center staff is available to answer your calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You may also reach out to us via the patient portal or Columbia@usoncology.com or Kirksville@usoncology.com.

Thank you for your understanding. We hope you are all staying safe and healthy.

If you have a scheduled appointment at MCA, we ask that you please call us if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath. For information on the precautions and preventive measures we have in place within our practice, please scroll down to see information below.

It is our goal to continue to provide excellent patient care while doing what we can to limit exposure to communicable illnesses. That is why we ask that those of you with symptoms call us prior to traveling to our clinic so we can assess your current healthcare needs.

Below are frequently asked questions related to COVID-19 as it relates to our patients and community. We are updating this page as more information becomes available.

Is it recommended that I take the COVID-19 vaccination? When will the vaccination be available?

MCA physicians recommend that all patients get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they have access. MCA does not have the vaccine, we do not know when the vaccine will be available. Any updates will be sent out on the patient portal and updated on our website.

We suggest that you monitor your county health department for updates regarding the availability of the vaccine in your area.

Boone County Public Health released an update on 1/4/2021 stating that supplies are limited but will increase over time.  It states they expect the first phase that includes front-line health care workers and long-term facility residents to take several months. They do expect to have all adults vaccinated in 2021.

Guidelines for Cancer and COVID-19 Vaccination

  • Patients with cancer (including those receiving treatment) should be prioritized for vaccination (CDC priority group 1b/c) and should be immunized when vaccination is available to them.
  • Vaccines may be given on the same day as chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy. It is important to remember that safety and efficacy data is limited in these patients, but MCA providers recommend that you proceed when the vaccine is available.
  • Patients undergoing major surgery should separate the date of surgery from vaccination by a few days or as directed by their surgeon so that symptoms such as fever can be correctly attributed to the vaccine vs surgery related infection.
  • Patients receiving treatment for Acute Leukemia should check with their physician prior to receiving the vaccination.
  • Patients referred from MCA to another facility for Bone MarrowTransplant or CAR-T cellular therapy should check with that physician before proceeding with vaccination.
  • Caregivers and household/close contacts should be immunized when possible.
  • Even after vaccination, the Center for Disease Control recommends that you continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing guidelines, and follow other guidelines for COVID-19 prevention.

Are patients screened for respiratory symptoms?

Yes, all patients are being screened for symptoms of respiratory illness during their confirmation call and at our reception desk. The following questions are asked of all patients:

Have you or someone you have had close contact with:

  • Experienced a temperature of 100.4F or greater?
  • Had a cough or shortness of breath?
  • Been treated by another provider, emergency department or urgent care for respiratory illnesses.
  • Been tested for or suspected of having COVID-19?
  • Traveled to out of state within the past 14 days? (If so, where?)

All employees are also screened upon arrival to work. Any who are unwell are mandated to stay home.

What should I do if I have cold or flu symptoms?

If you have active symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms including congestion or runny nose, please call our office. Our nurses assess your symptoms, speak with your physician and provide direction for further action.

Can I bring children and family members/caregivers to my appointment(s)?

Missouri Cancer Associates remains committed to ensuring the safety of our patients and staff by following guidelines in place by local governments and The Center for Disease Control.

We continue to screen everyone upon entry, require masks and encourage social distancing in our clinics. While our visitor policy remains unchanged, it may appear that we are allowing more visitors in our clinics. Each day brings a new group of patients with varying needs.

We are allowing one visitor — 12 years of age or older — on your first visit, first treatment day, on days when you are receiving scan or diagnostic test results or in the event you need special assistance while visiting our clinics. In the event we have multiple patients in the clinic with one or more of the above circumstances, it may appear that more visitors are being admitted. You can be assured that patient needs are assessed on a case by case basis and our staff understands the impact of cancer treatment on you and your entire family.

We encourage those with the capability to utilize cell phones and technology such as Facetime or Zoom to include additional members of your family for your physician visits. Due to HIPAA regulations, the use of Facetime and other virtual platforms outside of the physician exam room must be limited to areas that ensures you are the only patient visible during your calls. Please ask to speak with your nurse if you have questions.

Should I wear a mask in the clinic?

On Monday, July 6, 2020, the Columbia City Council passed a mask ordinance. Under the ordinance, everyone 10 years of age and older that is within Columbia city limits will be required to wear a mask when around people who are not household members, both indoors and outdoors if closer than six feet to other people.

For your health and the safety of our employees, it is mandatory that all visitors wear a mask when in the Columbia office. Our supplies are limited, please plan to have your own form of face covering when visiting the office. If we provide you with a mask, please save it to wear at future appointments. Click to view CDC recommended face coverings.

Is Missouri Cancer Associates testing patients for COVID-19?

Testing will be addressed on a case to case basis as directed by our local hospital and county health department.

What else is Missouri Cancer Associates doing to protect patients?

When you enter, you will see plastic drapes at our reception and checkout desks to protect staff and patients. We have escalated our daily cleaning protocols as recommended by the CDC and public health departments.

Is there anything I can do to keep myself, my family and friends safe?

The most important steps to take, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are the same as for every cold and flu season:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Practice good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Plan how you will take care of sick family members. Make plans for childcare if you are sick or if your child is sick. Have a thermometer at home so you can check for fever if you or a loved one feels ill.
  • Try to get a few extra months’ worth of your prescription medications, if possible.
  • Stay informed – check the CDC site regularly for new updates.

MCA recommends posting on doors a notice that a resident is undergoing cancer treatments. Feel free to download and print this sign for your use.