Making adjustments and being flexible have become the new norm as communities worldwide face the dangers and inconveniences presented by COVID-19. Examples include public and private school students navigating assignments with parents in an interim role as teachers and visiting several stores just to acquire basic household needs such as milk, eggs, toilet paper and disinfectants. Due to changes in most aspects of everyday life, AccelHealth is doing its part to ensure medical care continues on a direct path while protecting the health of its patients.
Patients are being seen by providers without leaving their vehicles. In an effort to minimize patient and staff exposure to COVID-19, patients arriving for scheduled appointments are being greeted by a medical team for screening and pre visit services--in the parking lot. A medical tent has been set up at each location (Brownwood, Stephenville and DeLeon) with directions being given to visitors as they arrive. Exam rooms are provided for patients requiring additional services and procedures.
Esther Taylor, AccelHealth Chief Executive Officer, said patient care and safety have remained the top priorities during this pandemic. “Due to legitimate patient concerns, AccelHealth decided to establish an outside clinic reducing our patients’ exposure to COVID-19. Instead of canceling patient visits, we asked our patients if they would be willing to come to the clinic and be seen in the parking lot as an alternative. Whether it’s through outside visits, where our patients are triaged and/or treated in their vehicles, or through telemedicine, where our patients can connect to our providers, AccelHealth is stepping up to meet our patients’ healthcare needs. Our patients’ health matters greatly to all of us and we want to be there for them during this stressful time.”
Michael Cloy, PA, said adjustments were necessary as to not change the quality of care. “We recognize the need to care for patients who may be experiencing any symptoms that are of concern to them. We also realize the need to provide continuing high-quality health care to those with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease etc. As such, through inter-organizational collaboration and analysis of available data regarding the current situation regarding COVID-19, we have adjusted our usual model of health care delivery.”
Cloy also discussed the logistics of the operation. “At AccelHealth, we have designated our morning appointments, 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., to be scheduled for those with chronic conditions, either via mobile, outside of the clinic building visits, or if deemed appropriate, inside the building. We will close the building for an hour to clean between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., then resume operations from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., with that time designated for the acutely ill patients.” Cloy said conventional inside visits will be available when necessary and that seeing personal protective equipment is not a cause for worry. “Patients coming to our clinic will notice all staff wearing masks and protective equipment so please don’t be alarmed.” Cloy stated it is crucial to call in advance so visits can be appropriately coordinated.
Cloy also suggested avoiding retrieving information from social media. “It is best to avoid getting your information from non-medical or government resources.” Cloy said some “great” sources regarding COVID-19 are the Center for Disease Control, Texas Department of State Health Services, World Health Organization, Brownwood/Brown County Health Department and various medical school Web sites.
The clinics in Brownwood (two locations), DeLeon and Stephenville provide medical, dental, behavioral health and other services in Brown, Comanche, Erath, Eastland, Mills and surrounding counties. For more information, visit Accelhealthcare.org.