Dear patients, staff and community partners,
I want to provide an update on the steps that Sterling Health Care is taking to deal with the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The health and safety of our patients and staff is a top priority. As a result, we have implemented the following action plans:
· CLINICAL READINESS – We are working with our providers and laboratory testing vendors on proper protocols that should be followed to accurately screen, diagnose and report possible cases of the disease.
· ENVIRONMENT OF CARE – We are working to ensure we have adequate Personal Protection Equipment, or PPE, (masks, gloves, etc.). The illness has caused a surge in demand for these items and we are working diligently to ensure we do not run out of these basic supplies. We are also working to secure additional cleaning supplies.
· PATIENT FLOW & TRIAGE – We are putting best practices in place to ensure patients with possible symptoms are not waiting in our waiting rooms. We have implemented screening stations outside all of our clinics. Staff members are assigned to these stations to take the temperature of every individual seeking entry. In addition to this, we have provided our call center and front office teams with phone triage instructions for patients calling and requesting appointments due to symptoms related to COVID-19.
· TELEHEALTH (STERLING HEALTH ONDEMAND) – We are encouraging telehealth visits for patients who have routine and follow-up appointments, especially for our elderly, immunocompromised and behavioral health patients. The goal is to keep healthy individuals at home while continuing to provide the care they need. I have heard multiple stories of elderly or medically complex patients canceling routine visits because they are afraid of becoming infected. Telehealth is an excellent tool to ensure these patients still get the care they need safely.
· BUSINESS OPERATIONS – We are preparing laptops in the event we need to have non-essential staff work from home. This is a measure we are ready to take if our area becomes heavily impacted by the illness. We are also assisting our staff with daycare needs during school cancellations.
· COMMUNITY OUTREACH – We are working with our communications team to provide public education on the illness and best practices for the general population.
As a community health center, we have a responsibility to educate, care for and prevent the spread of this illness. We will continue to evaluate the situation and work diligently to do what we can to fulfill this responsibility and keep our patients, staff and visitors safe.