Hospital Corner – March, 2020

Hospital Corner – March, 2020

First and foremost in case you have not heard: the hospital and nursing home are not allowing visitors or family members until further notice—patients only.  Access into the hospital is through the ER entrance only. Clinic patients are asked to call your provider’s office before arriving so staff can meet you in the parking lot before your appointment. Call me if you have questions at 945-2461. 

Ah, the good old days! Remember when we used to talk about sports, politics, or world affairs?  Sadly, the only topic of interest now seems to be Coronavirus (COVID-19); 24/7 coverage on TV and radio has resulted in information overload—who knows what to believe?  The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has distributed a simple screening tool that may be useful to you (easy Google search).  As it notes, only a doctor can diagnosis COVID-19 and conditions may vary from person to person; that said, answering a few questions will help you narrow down the cause of your illness:  Do you have a fever? Difficulty breathing? Painful cough? Fatigue? You get the idea.  Remember: it is highly unlikely you will catch the disease.  Far more likely a cold or flu bug got you; with spring upon us, allergies are another possible suspect. 

If you are having any of the symptoms mentioned above, please call the hospital at 341-6114 to talk to one of our medical providers before entering the building.  You can also call the Nurse Health Line day or night at 341-6161 for answers to your COVID-19 questions.

 Sadly, Lefa L. Seran residents are suffering indirectly from the effects of this disease.  Since early March, visitors have not been allowed to our skilled nursing facility—too bad, as visitors are often the highlight of the day for our residents.  To compound this situation, residents won’t be traveling anytime soon to Care & Share on Wednesdays for their weekly bingo and lunch outing (a favorite for many). 

Another casualty: many Physical Therapy appointment cancellations of late—no doubt because of fears of catching “it”.  Nearly all outpatient PT appointments take place at the Annex building (across from Dr. Dow’s office), far from the hospital and clinic.  We appreciate PT patients calling to let us know their concerns, and we will schedule as many appointments as possible at the Annex. Lastly, our public coffee cart has been removed temporarily to help minimize the spread of germs.  Keep washing your hands, don’t touch your face, and be diligent about social distancing.  Finally, all persons (staff included) who enter the hospital or clinic will get a quick health screening—the new normal.  Remember, this too shall pass!

Let’s change the subject.  If you have been to the Mt. Grant Clinic lately, no doubt saw notices reminding patients to bring all medications with you to appointments.  You’re probably thinking: don’t they already know what we are taking?  Sure, each provider knows what prescriptions he/she has written for you but has no way of knowing what other doctors and out-of-town providers have.  This is critical to patient care and safety, so please bring everything with you to ensure your healthcare provider has a complete understanding of all medications prescribed. 

A patient recently complained that his doctor told him “Medicare will pay for procedure” and was thus surprised when a bill arrived in the mail.  Remember, Medicare copays and deductibles are the patient’s responsibility.  Check the fine print on your Advantage Plan to make sure you don’t receive a surprise in the mail.

Don’t forget our 50% off program ends April 15.  By the time this column is in print next month, the deadline will have come and gone.  Call the Business Office at ext 221 to make payment arrangements.

Hugh Qualls, Administrator