Source: The LaRue County Herald
Baptist Health Hardin (Baptist Health Hardin) is rolling out a restart plan to gradually resume full operations, focusing on the well-being and safety of its patients and employees. Baptist Health Hardin suspended elective surgeries on March 18 on the recommendation of Governor Andy Beshear, and certain diagnostic services a week later.
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Beshear announced in late April that he will be reopening the state’s economy starting with healthcare services. Baptist Health Hardin is working thoughtfully and diligently with its medical experts – and in collaboration with local and state government plus other healthcare providers – to determine the safest and best methods to phase in services.
“We will closely follow all local, state and national guidelines in regard to checking everyone in advance for COVID-19 symptoms, in maintaining proper physical distancing and by requiring masks for everyone,” said Dennis Johnson, Baptist Health Hardin President and CEO. “Our region collaborated early on and took this virus seriously and as a result, we successfully flattened the curve. Now, we must continue to use these critical safety measures to incrementally bring services back while minimizing COVID-19 spread.
“We appreciate the patience of those who previously had procedures scheduled,” said Johnson. “We will work closely with all of our healthcare providers to systematically work through that backlog based on patients’ needs.”
This week, outpatient diagnostic radiology and laboratory services will resume on a limited scale basis at Baptist Health Hardin’s main campus and offsite locations including Bardstown Diagnostic Center and Elizabethtown Diagnostic Imaging (EDI).
Baptist Health Hardin Medical Group physician practices and clinics will resume in-person visits as determined by the physician or advanced practice clinician. There will be added precautions at all clinic locations to ensure physical distancing in waiting rooms, including limiting visitors and requiring masks for all patients, visitors and staff.
“The Baptist Health Hardin Medical Group team recognizes not all individuals feel comfortable leaving their homes to receive care, so we’ll continue to offer video and telehealth options, where possible,” said Thomas Hustead, M.D., Medical Director,Baptist Health Hardin Medical Group. “These visits allow you and your loved ones to meet with your provider, securely and confidentially.”
Beginning May 6, select outpatient surgeries including elective surgeries will restart, along with some other invasive procedures such as pulmonary function tests, cardiopulmonary and vascular and imaging procedures.
Starting May 13, Baptist Health Hardin will phase in inpatient surgeries with a goal to return to normal patient volumes by late May or early June.
“Anyone who has postponed surgery or a procedure needs to discuss timing with their doctor as to when they should reschedule,” said Rita Pardee, R.N. and Baptist Health Hardin AVP Surgical Services. “We want to be sure they meet all pre-surgery requirements so they can have the best outcome. We want to remind the community as well, that they should not hesitate to seek medical care for urgent and emergency needs. We are here to care for you and your safety comes first as always.”
Patient safety measures
For the safety of patients, caregivers and the community, both patients and staff need to wear a mask at all times. Patients and visitors are encouraged to bring their own masks, as recommended by CDC guidelines, to preserve supplies for our healthcare workers.
Suspected or presumptive COVID-19 patients will be treated in isolated areas away from those seeking care for other ailments. Healthcare staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms as they report for work, while patients will be screened as they enter the building/facility/hospital. Screening could include taking temperatures.
Restrictions on bringing a companion to appointments will continue. Patients should come alone, unless they are under age 18, or are incapacitated and need assistance. Visitation is allowed in end-of-life cases.
Video visits or email connection with healthcare providers are highly recommended for non-emergency care. These can be conducted from home or office using a smartphone or computer with video capability. For information about video visits, visit https://www.hmh.net/videovisit/.
Those who also want to help during the COVID-19 pandemic can donate to the Baptist Health Foundation Hardin’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund at ourhmh.org/online-donations. All gifts directly benefit Baptist Health Hardin caregivers.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, please seek reliable, up-to-date, information. Recommended sources are:
Baptist Health Hardin – hmh.net or Patient Symptom Hotline: 270-979-7777
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services – kycovid19.ky.gov or Public Hotline: 1-800-722-5725
Lincoln Trail District Health Department – ltdhd.org