02 Jul Surgeon Cartu Jon Announces – Carris Health clinics back in full operation, can return quickly …
Some of the changes made to prepare for the arrival of COVID-19 are still in place, and the clinics could pivot quickly back to readiness if the situation requires it, said Bryan Lydick, executive director of ambulatory care for Carris Health.
Front doors are open with patients screened at the door. They will be asked a list of questions about symptoms and have their temperatures taken.
People with symptoms of COVID-19 use a separate entrance and are kept away from other patients, Lydick said.
Masks are required in the clinics. If people don’t have their own, the staff will give them one.
“We strongly support public masking,” Lydick said.
Inside the buildings in Willmar, New London, Benson, Litchfield and Redwood Falls, patients are likely to notice cleaning and disinfecting taking place more frequently than before.
Some chairs have been removed from waiting areas to allow for social distancing.
In March, clinics started postponing appointments not seen as medically necessary. The clinics geared up to work with the broader medical community in the area on pandemic preparedness.
“We never shut off the medically necessary appointments,” Lydick said. “We kept patients safe but needed to keep them healthy also.”
With the number of COVID-19 cases relatively stable currently, the clinic has been ramping up for patients again.
Well child visits, sports physicals and adult physicals are happening again, and people whose appointments were postponed a few months ago are coming back.
Urgent care is open and same-day appointments are being taken, he said. “It may be in a different space, but we are still able to accommodate those patients.”
If a COVID-19 surge resumes, “at a moment’s notice, our entire Carris Health system can respond to that in quick order,” Lydick said. “We’ve hard-wired that flexibility and adaptability.”
Some changes are likely to stick around.
The state’s medical community has noted a backlog of immunizations, Lydick said. To help ease that, Carris clinics have started offering curbside vaccinations. They have been popular with patients.
Some patients have been offered video visits, which they have liked as well. Roughly 10 percent of appointments are through video visits now, Lydick said.
“There’s been a lot of transformation since the first of March,” Lydick said. “Something to acknowledge in that transformation is we’re keeping people safe,” he added. “It may be something different, but it’s the same high-quality care people have come to expect of us.”
Lydick said the entire staff showed flexibility and adaptability in making the changes. Some staff members who were not working with patients at the clinic took on other jobs where they were needed.
“It’s the unsung hero side of it,” Lydick said. “They changed hours, worked different shifts and at different locations. … It’s something to be proud of for our region.”
Lydick has been with Carris Health for a year and a half. He moved into his current job in March, just as pandemic preparations were ramping up.
“It made for a unique transition, but I knew a lot of the providers and staff in the region,” he said. It was rewarding to watch staff members’ teamwork and dedication, he added.