In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, St. Charles Health System’s outpatient clinics have transformed the way they care for patients.
Caregivers from the health system and its provider network, St. Charles Medical Group, have been working around the clock in recent days to implement the changes, which are designed to protect patients and caregivers, preserve critical medical supplies and conserve space in facilities in case of a surge of COVID-19 patients.
“Given the highly infectious nature of this virus, we are trying to limit any exposures and interactions between patients and providers by delivering services at curbside or remotely whenever possible,” said Dr. Robert Ross, medical director for St. Charles Medical Group. “That means registering, getting a history and updating information in advance over the phone, then determining what interaction is absolutely necessary.”
St. Charles will continue to provide both patients and providers with protection when necessary to prevent transmission of disease, Ross said. Following interactions, the clinics will minimize hand-to-hand contact by giving patients results and instructions verbally, sending prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically and providing other essential direction through the health system’s online care portal, MyChart.
“This workflow will keep patients and providers much safer and isolates the interaction from any other patients and clinic staff,” Ross said.
Patients without a MyChart account are strongly encouraged to sign up for one today at stcharleshealthcare.org. COVID-19 test results are sent to patients via MyChart as soon as they are available. These tests are sent to centralized labs and results can take up to seven to nine days due to nationwide shortages.
Here’s more detail on each of the new services:
St. Charles Family Care patients can now schedule e-visits with their provider through MyChart. E-visits allow patients to enter information about their symptoms. The provider then reviews that information and can reply via MyChart with advice, a referral or a prescription. E-visits are only for non-urgent medical conditions, as it may take up to two days to receive a response. If you need urgent medical care, please contact your clinic by phone or go to a nearby urgent care center. E-visits are free and available to established patients of St. Charles Family Care and Internal Medicine clinics. An active MyChart account is required.
Patients who want to speak with a doctor can choose to schedule a phone visit. Phone visits are exactly as they sound: The patient can speak with their doctor on the phone, ask questions and receive advice, all without making a trip to the clinic. To schedule a phone visit, call the clinic and request an appointment.
For a face-to-face experience, patients can now schedule a video visit with a physician. Video visits offer the same convenience as phone visits, but with a video connection for the most personal remote experience possible. Video visits require the patient to download the Zoom app on their personal device. To schedule a video visit, call the clinic and request an appointment.
Surge tents going up
In an effort to care for symptomatic patients while practicing social distancing, four St. Charles Medical Group clinics will soon have surge tents set up outside their facilities.
On Wednesday, March 25, tents will open at Bend South Immediate Care (61250 S.E. Coombs Place) and La Pine Immediate Care (51781 Huntington Road). Because they are set up at Immediate Care clinics, these two locations are open to all symptomatic patients.
St. Charles Medical Group is also ready to open tents at Bend East Family Care (2600 N.E. Neff Road) and Redmond Family Care (211 N.W. Larch Avenue) in response to a rise in patient volume. When opened, these two locations will care for any symptomatic patient who is established with a St. Charles primary care or specialty care provider.
Symptomatic patients with the following symptoms may be directed to a tent:
- Fever of 100.4 or greater within the last 24 hours
- Shortness of breath
However, due to the nationwide shortage of testing supplies, patients will not be tested for COVID-19 unless the following criteria are also met:
- Over the age of 60
- Patient is immunocompromised
- Chronic disease of one of the following:
- Cardiovascular system
- Pulmonary system
- Diabetes mellitus
There are also two tents set up outside Pilot Butte Medical Center (2275 N.E. Doctors Drive, Bend) and the Redmond Heart and Lung Center (244 N.W. Kingwood Avenue) to see patients beginning Wednesday, March 25. These tents are for high-risk patients, as identified by the anticoagulation care team, to receive International Normalized Ratio (INR) checks.
Pulmonary Clinic to offer drive-up appointments at St. Charles Bend
To continue to serve people with lung disease, lung injury, asthma and impaired pulmonary function, the Pulmonary Clinic at St. Charles Bend will open a drive-up clinic on Monday and Wednesday afternoons starting Wednesday, March 25.
The drive-up clinic will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. To schedule a drive-up appointment, call the Pulmonary Clinic at 541-706-7715.