Managing The Surge In Missoula: How Hospitals Are Handling COVID-19

Missoula is breaking its records every week with new COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions. According to a news report on KPAX, the average daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people is 89. Joyce Dombrouski, the CEO at St. Patrick Hospital, told MTN News that the best way to manage the latest COVID-19 surge is by getting vaccinated. Dombrouski adds, “What the data is revealing is that the symptoms you’re likely to get are mild. And that you won’t end up in hospital or die, so it’s the mortality and hospitalization rate the COVID is designed to diminish.”

On the bright side of the ever-changing situation, the National Guard continues to assist healthcare facilities by handling paperwork, providing meals, cleaning and transportation. Last year, health workers were overwhelmed with infected patients. This situation resulted in the Montana healthcare industry shedding jobs amid COVID-19 to prepare for increased loads of coronavirus patients while offsetting their losses. While the crisis hasn’t ended, hospitals are handling the crisis effectively by using various tactics.

Virtual Care

Currently, meetings that don’t involve physical examinations are held over the phone and online. That’s because telehealth has proven effective in reducing the risk of people contracting the virus. Ideally, online appointments limit the number of patients meeting in person, meaning individuals are less likely to contract the virus from those already infected. Another notable advantage of telehealth is that it’s covered under Medicare. However, it’s important to know the telehealth services covered by Medicare beforehand.

It’s worth noting that Medicare Part A and B cover telehealth services, such as consultations, office visits, and psychotherapy. But if you’re enrolled for Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage, you’re likely to enjoy more telehealth benefits than original Medicare based on your plan. So make sure you evaluate how certain Medicare plans differ, especially if you’re considering getting Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement. Typically, Medicare Advantage requires you to spend higher out-of-pocket costs, and it’s difficult to predict your medical expenses. Not to mention, it comes with a limited network of doctors. Medicare Supplement does the opposite by allowing you to predict costs, access an extensive network of physicians, and you don’t have to pay copays.

Hospital Refurbishments

Many hospitals have made alterations to their interiors to curb the spread of COVID-19. Examples of refurbishments in healthcare facilities during the pandemic include the installation of plastic screens between open wards and seats and one-way walking systems. Hospitals have also added separate waiting rooms for visitors over patients being attended to. For example, during appointments in maternity wards, family members or visitors are required to wait in a separate room while the patient being seen waits in another.

Improved Levels Of Cleanliness

For decades, hospital staff has been disinfecting communal areas to reduce the risk of infections and contaminations. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, levels of cleanliness in healthcare facilities have increased. Hospitals are now cleaning in line with public health standards, which entail cleaning surfaces with highly concentrated chlorine and installing handwashing points throughout the facility.

The coronavirus crisis has had a significant impact on every aspect of life, and the healthcare sector has been hit the worst throughout 2020. Fortunately, healthcare professionals are using new ways to combat the surge of new cases. These tactics include leveraging telehealth, refurbishing facilities to accommodate social distancing and increasing levels of cleanliness.