Scotland County Hospital & Clinics is continuing its efforts to deal with the local COVID-19 situation. Up-to-date data was released by SCH on April 14th.
TESTING – According to Elizabeth Guffey, RN, BSBA, BSN, OCN, CEN, Chief Nursing Officer, to date, the hospital has tested 54 patients in Scotland County and various surrounding communities. There are 6 test results still outstanding. 3 positives in Scotland County and no deaths in Schuyler, Scotland, Clark or Knox counties. As of print time, there are 8 isolation beds and 8 non-isolation beds available. This information changes daily. The hospital has 2 ventilators. On 4/3/2020, the hospital signed a contract with PTC Laboratories in Columbia, MO, for commercial testing. Currently, the hospital couriers tests to Columbia daily. The turnaround time on results is around 24 hours.
SERVICES -On March 20, 2020, the medical staff of Scotland County Hospital made the decision to cease all non-essential services at the hospital to mitigate the risks of the coronavirus on the facility and around the community. Each clinician determines on a patient-by-patient basis which services can be rendered based on the patient’s condition(s). Cancer patients are still receiving cancer treatments, when appropriate. Lab, Radiology, Therapy Services, Cardiac Rehabilitation and other departments are rending services based on case-by-case written orders from a clinician. Many Lab patients are opting for a curb-side lab draw. Only essential or emergency surgeries are occurring.
CLINICS & HOSPITAL OPERATIONS -There are non-COVID related illnesses that need medical attention and to care for those patients, there are Virtual Clinic Visit appointments for patients that have an electronic device and the Internet. Call Memphis (660-465-2828) or Lancaster Medical Services (660-457-3655) for an appointment. The triage nurse will determine if a patient needs a face-to-face appointment in the clinic or Virtual Visit. The ER remains open 24/7 and Urgent Care is open on Saturdays 8 am – 2 pm. Memphis & Lancaster Medical Services are open regular hours. Wyaconda Medical Services is closed. If you think you have COVID symptoms, please call the COVID Hotline at 660-986-6820. Do not enter the facility until you have been given further instructions.
FACILITIES-There are two entrances into the facility. Patients can enter at Memphis Medical Services during clinic hours or patients can enter through the Main/ER entrance of the hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ALL patients presenting to the ER must first be triaged in the tent near the Main/ER entrance before entering the building. No visitors are allowed. Laboring patients may have one support person in the Labor & Delivery Room and a minor patient, developmentally disabled or mentally disabled patient may have a guardian accompany them. End of life patients and families are given accommodations on a case-by-case basis.
SUPPLIES-The hospital’s Materials Management Supervisor, Travis Onken, reports that current supplies are decent. The supply levels that are concerning include gloves, gowns, masks and disinfectants. Early on, thermometer probes were depleted & unable to procure. Staff innovatively determined plastic wrap served the same purpose. Bulk supplies for homemade hand sanitizer were procured last week. The main concern is many supplies are unavailable due to the larger cities and ‘hot spots’ buying up all available supplies, putting the rural hospitals at an unfair disadvantage.
FINANCIAL-Hospital Controller, Michael Brandon, MBA, made application for federal monies through several programs offered to qualifying hospitals. As of Friday, April 10, 2020, a $479,000 grant had arrived from the Health & Human Services Emergency Fund and can be used at hospital official’s discretion for operations. On April 3rd, Mr. Brandon applied for $$4,134,625 through the Medicare Accelerated Payment Program. If received, Medicare will start to recoup the funds after 120 days from disbursement. Critical Access Hospitals have a year to pay back the funds. The hospital will receive little or no Medicare reimbursement until the funds are repaid. An application to the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) is being prepared for funds through the Small Hospital Improvement (SHIP) grant. These grant funds are estimated at $90,000 for operations. Hospital officials continue to explore the Small Business Administration (SBA) Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and continue to believe the hospital does not qualify. All hospital and clinic supervisors are documenting additional expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic for possible Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement.
ADVOCACY-Randy Tobler, MD, FACOG, CPE, CEO, has written letters to both US Senators and four Representatives with whom he has visited in Washington DC in the last six months. During those advocacy visits, he discussed the fragile state of rural healthcare before the COVID crisis. The main points of the recent advocacy letters addressed: 1) forgiveness of 1/6th of the Medicare Accelerated Payment Program loan (if received by SCH), minus every month’s reimbursement due, for 6 months starting in 120 days; 2) make SCH eligible as a political subdivision/governmental entity for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program; 3) make permanent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) temporary suspension of 2% sequester.
EDUCATION & INFORMATION-The COVID Response Team meets at least weekly. The Executive Leadership Team meets at least three times weekly and one of those meetings is combined with the COVID Response Team. Sub-committees of both teams meet and provide recommendations & input as needed. All team and committee updates are sent to staff in the form of a daily email update. There are several free webinars offered from state and national private and public organizations each week that staff attend. Employees are informed & educated on new procedures after they are approved. Dr. John Rickelman, Board Certified Internal Medicine-Critical Care, Blessing Healthy System, will travel to SCH, free of charge, to conduct an in-house training on “Initiation and Ventilator Management” for specific hospital staff on April 16, 2020. Dr. Tobler attends phone calls from the Blessing Health System Command Center 2 times daily, 7 days a week. A Facebook Live event occurs each week with officials from the hospital for informational purposes for viewers. Weekly information is provided to area media outlets for community notification of COVID response measures.
There are two entrances into Scotland County Hospital. Patients can enter at Memphis Medical Services during clinic hours or patients can enter through the Main/ER entrance of the hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ALL patients presenting to the ER must first be triaged in the tent near the Main/ER entrance before entering the building.