Hospital Corner – January, 2018
Flu season is upon us! Anyone watching the evening news the past few weeks likely saw numerous reports on flu outbreaks in Nevada and around the country. Mineral County has not escaped the suffering. Visits to Mt. Grant for flu and flu-like symptoms have spiked significantly since the week before Christmas, most complaining of one or more of the usual symptoms: fever, aching muscles (typically back, arms and legs), chills and sweats, headache, dry & persistent cough, fatigue/weakness, nasal congestion, and sore throat. Several cases have been confirmed so far. The 2017-18 flu vaccine has been determined to be about 30% effective (because the dominant strain of flu we are seeing now was not anticipated when vaccine was developed months ago). Still, getting vaccinated is better than no protection at all: most are not aware that even if you come down with the flu, its severity and duration may be less for those vaccinated. Of course the best prevention is what your mom always told you: cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and most of all wash your hands—as often as you can every day.
Also in the news daily is AB474; in effect for a few weeks now, the transition has not been easy for some. Doctors are being closely monitored by state agencies to ensure patients are aware of the numerous negative side effects of long-term opioid use. Whether you are taking Codeine, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Hycodan, Morphine, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percoset or other opiate variation, strict state guidelines must be followed by all Nevada doctors, PAs, and Nurse Practitioners. As you can imagine, some providers are reluctant to continue refilling prescriptions for such pain killers. At least one medical office in Reno has even posted warning signs on its entrance door stating they will no longer write new or refill prescriptions for opioids. Every provider has to decide what is in the best interest of his or her patient—though patients may not always agree with decision. We are here to help, so call your provider or my office if you have questions or concerns during this transition.
Telehealth is up and running. Several local outpatients have saved time and money by making the short drive to the Mt. Grant Clinic, instead of spending hours getting to Renown. Stop by and talk to Amanda K, our Telehealth M.A., to learn about the convenience and ease of having exams done in Hawthorne via Telehealth.
In my six months at Mt. Grant General, I have heard from numerous patients, visitors and community members about how clean and well maintained our buildings and grounds are. Considering the age of the hospital, that is quite an accomplishment; when state inspectors make similar comments, it is especially notable. The dedication of our Maintenance and Housekeeping Crews make this possible. Andy Stinson and his team (Randy Canady & John Black) perform minor miracles daily with electrical, plumbing, HVAC and other challenges—in addition to removing leaves, trash and the like from parking and lawn areas. Likewise, Laurie Trusty and her housekeeping team clean and sanitize patient and resident rooms, employee & visitor spaces, and offices seven days a week; in their spare time, they also wash, dry and fold several hundred pounds of laundry each day. Proud to work with these two teams and all Mt. Grant staff so dedicated to a higher level of patient care!
Hugh Qualls, Administrator