A common concern I have heard from physicians is frustration with employers requiring a doctor’s note “clearing” a patient to return to work after recovering from COVID-19.

TCMS reached out to Austin Public Health (APH) and they responded, issuing Guidance for Employers with Employees Returning to Work. This guidance specifies when an employee is ready to return to work and states that during the pandemic, if employees meet APH’s symptom-based criteria for returning to work after COVID-19 illness, they should NOT be required by employers to provide a healthcare provider’s note.

This new guidance is posted on the City of Austin’s website. Please feel free to share this with patients, colleagues, and employers.

Under Dr. Mark Glover’s PPE Task Force leadership, TCMS has been collecting and distributing PPE since mid-March. To date, almost 17,000 N95s have been provided to Central Texas physicians. We’ve also supplied over 1300 boxes of gloves, 40000 ear loop masks, 3000 face shields and 700 bottles of hand sanitizer.

Early on, this was a grass-roots effort. TCMS and local physicians went to social media and asked friends and neighbors to donate whatever supplies they might have to the TCMS PPE Drive. TCMS also works closely with the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council (CAT-RAC) to procure PPE from the national stockpile. In addition, The Texas Medical Association (TMA) is coordinating with the State Operations Center (SOC) which supplies the RACs, further augmenting the supply of PPE available to TCMS.

PPE Request

TCMS staff and volunteers continue to work diligently to fill as many physician requests as possible. If you need PPE, please complete this form.

Fit Test by Appointment

TCMS now provides fit-testing of N-95 masks on Thursday afternoons. You can sign up for fit testing here or, if Thursday afternoons are not convenient, call (512) 206-1249 to arrange a special appointment.

Filtration Testing

TCMS has also purchased a particle counter and is offering mask filtration testing. If you have a mask that you would like to have filter tested, you can drop off or mail your mask to TCMS at 4300 N Lamar, Austin, TX 78756. You must include at least one mask and the original outer packaging which includes the name, manufacturer, and model number. Please note that the mask will not be returned, but will be redistributed to providers if deemed acceptable. The data obtained by this testing are made public and accessible on physicianselfdefense.org.

Pay it Forward

Finally, donations to the TCMS PPE Drive GoFundMe campaign are critical if we are to sustain this project. To date, TCMS has raised nearly $30,000 which has been used this to purchase gowns and other PPE as well as the equipment for fit-testing and filter testing masks.

We need you to pay it forward! If you or any of your colleagues have been helped by this project, or if you are just feeling altruistic, please sustain it by donating generously to the TCMS PPE GoFundMe campaign.


Thank you for supporting your Travis County Medical Society!