Wednesday, 29 April 2020 15:32

LETTER: Safety a priority with Scotland Health Care System

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To the editor:

I am extremely proud of how hard our staff has worked over the past two months to begin treating and preparing for an expected surge of COVID patients. Our preparation started by stopping all but critical services to focus on this as well as minimize the spread of the virus. This reduction of services has resulted in many patients postponing needed care for serious health conditions.

Thankfully, the number and severity of COVID patients we are treating is significantly lower than we had initially feared, and a surge that will overwhelm us will not occur. We are confident that our extensive efforts have resulted in sufficient supplies, treatment space, testing, and increased infection control practices to treat the expected amount of COVID patients needing care. We are grateful that our community is heeding the call for social distancing and our curve is flattening. Other similar rural communities have not been as fortunate.    

As a result, after much planning, we have begun carefully expanding the services provided in our hospital and practices to those that have delayed needed care. I want you to know that we can do this very safely. Within the hospital, we can quickly test patients being admitted or scheduled for surgery and we screen all staff and patients coming into the building. In our physician practices, we are treating patients in the most appropriate setting including treating sick patients virtually or in our parking lots. Universal masking protocol is occurring in all locations. A gradual expansion will allow us to closely monitor key indicators to ensure new guidelines are adhered to and pause if there is a sharp increase in COVID cases.  

If you have been postponing necessary care, know that all our facilities are now safer than they have ever been, and you do not need to wait any longer. Please be assured that the safety of our patients and staff remains our top priority as we increase our ability to care for our community.

Thank you for your trust and support of us through this challenge and the faith you have in your community’s health care system.

Gregory C. Wood

President and Chief Executive Officer, Scotland Health Care System