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HRMC Reduces Restrictions on Outpatient Tests and Treatments

May 21, 2020 09:28AM ● By MED Magazine

Pictured Above: A staff member demonstrates a temperature check after providing a cloth mask as part of the screening process for all patients and staff.

Huron Regional Medical Center has begun lifting temporary restrictions on elective surgical procedures, screening tests and outpatient treatments for non-high-risk patients.

“We are excited and ready to begin the gradual process of returning to our normal pre-pandemic patient care operations,” said Pam Shoultz, infection control nurse and surgery director for HRMC. “We will begin slowly and prioritize patients who have placed their care on hold due to COVID-19.”

Services resuming include inpatient and same day surgical procedures, screening radiology exams, respiratory and cardiac testing, physical, occupational and speech therapies, and phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation.

Teams have worked with HRMC medical providers to develop plans and implement safeguards to protect patients and staff. Safety measures include:

    • Patients will be screened over the phone when scheduling the appointment and asked to contact HRMC if they have any changes in health status before the day of the appointment.
    • All individuals will be screened for temperature and symptoms and be asked to put on a mask when entering the hospital. Patients may bring their own mask or opt to wear a cloth mask supplied by HRMC.
    • Six-foot social distances are established in public areas, such as waiting rooms. Where possible, patients will report directly to the service area.
    • The number of patients in a service area will be limited to provide for safe distancing.
    • Staff will perform extra cleaning and disinfection between patients.
    • Infectious patients will continue to be cared for in an isolation area, away from non-infectious patients.

“Our staff is trained to keep all patients safe and prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including the coronavirus. Patients can feel secure in returning to HRMC and receiving safe care,” said Shoultz. “It’s important to realize this is a new normal, and we remain prepared to cease non-essential procedures in the event of a surge of patients or resurgence of COVID-19 positive cases in the county.”

In addition to these safety protocols, HRMC is working with the South Dakota Department of Health and suppliers to maintain a sufficient supply of PPE (personal protective equipment), testing and cleaning supplies in the event of a surge.

Patients who were scheduled but had to delay a test or procedure will be contacted by their physician’s team with schedule details. Area physicians are taking proactive steps to protect the most vulnerable community members; at the same time, it is important not to ignore any significant health condition changes.

“Emergency services, diagnostic tests and treatments, as well as urgent and emergency surgical procedures have continued the last couple months in order to provide the care our community needs, when it is needed,” explained Shoultz. “It’s so important to always reach out to your physician for treatment of illness or changes in health; or seek care immediately in the event of an emergency, including heart attack, stroke, accident or other urgent concern.”

HRMC’s emergency room remains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to safely care for such emergencies. It is helpful to call before you arrive so staff can best prepare. Huron’s Ambulance Service is also available to get care to patients quickly by calling 911.Telehealth services and in-person appointments are available at the HRMC Physicians Clinic and the Women’s Wellness Center, HRMC’s obstetrics and gynecology clinic.