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Avera Resumes Services On Hold Due to COVID-19

May 12, 2020 10:27AM ● By MED Magazine

Avera is beginning to resume services that were put on hold due to COVID-19. This includes in-person clinic visits for primary and specialty care as well as planned surgeries, imaging screening tests such as mammography, and procedures such colonoscopy.

The timeline for resuming services at each Avera location will depend on the readiness of that location.

“The health and safety of our patients and our employees is our highest priority. Plans to phase in services in our states and communities do not mark the end of the COVID pandemic. Until there is a vaccine, we will be continuing to care for COVID patients in some facilities. At the same time, care is needed for everything from illnesses and injuries to cancer screenings and prevention. That is why we are putting a great deal of effort toward ensuring the safety of our facilities,” said Kevin Post, DO, Chief Medical Officer for Avera Medical Group.

Some Avera services were put on hold for a few weeks to allow for surge planning and to preserve valuable personal protective equipment (PPE). Now that these plans are in place and adequate PPE is in stock, Avera can move forward with phasing in its full range of services. Avera sports and fitness centers are also reopening.

Avera facilities have developed criteria based on guidance from national best practices for resuming services such as planned surgeries.

“Safety and cleanliness within Avera locations have always been very important. Avera’s already high standard of cleaning and hygiene will be expanded, utilizing industrial-grade cleaning practices. Extra cleaning measures are being taken, especially in the case of high-touch areas such as doorknobs, chair arms and switches,” Post said. 

Customers and patients will see these extra measures of safety when they visit:

  • There will be spacing stickers on the floors at registration areas. 

  • Waiting room chairs will be distanced to create a safe space. 

  • Streamlined processes will be in place at registration to result in shorter visits to a facility.

  • Clinic staff will be wearing face masks and other protective equipment as needed.

  • All patients will be screened before entering a facility. This includes taking your temperature and asking if you have experienced possible symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. All employees are also screened.

  • Hand sanitizer will be available in waiting rooms. 

  • Visitor restrictions remain in place for clinics, hospitals and long-term care centers.

Patients are urged to wear a cloth face mask when arriving for appointments. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided. Wearing your own cloth face mask helps to preserve valuable protective equipment. Mask guidelines are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect yourself and others.

Clinic staff are contacting patients whose previous planned surgeries, procedures or clinic appointments were postponed. Or, you can call your provider’s office to schedule or reschedule an appointment, wellness visit, screening or procedure. 

Testing has been cited as a major component of reopening and expanding services within a health care system. Your provider will look at your medical history, personal needs and the type of procedure you may be having to determine what testing will be needed. 

Avera has made virtual visits available during the COVID-19 crisis, and these visits are still available. If you are interested in a virtual visit, please ask your scheduler when you call.

To learn more about what services are now available at your nearest Avera location, call your local clinic or hospital. General information about Avera services is available at Avera.org or by calling 1-877-AT-AVERA.





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