COVID-19 leads to changes at Western Sierra Medical Clinic
Western Sierra Medical Clinic is continuing to serve all the communities in the region and has been fighting to slow and ultimately stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Western Sierra’s efforts include assessing patients before entering its health clinics, conducting coronavirus tests when necessary, and determining the next steps for those with symptoms. Ultimately, the goal is to help protect all patients and give everyone the most appropriate level of care as possible.
“In these challenging times, it is important to be agile and flexible,” said Scott McFarland, chief executive officer of Western Sierra Medical Clinic. “As the situation unfolds, we are adapting our care to maximize the benefit to the communities we serve.”
Western Sierra executives are in frequent communication with public health and local hospital officials and other medical providers to determine the best way to provide services to all the communities in the region. All of Western Clinic’s health care services help lift the burden off local hospital emergency rooms and local practices.
Western Sierra is also playing a major role in preventing the spread of the virus. Western Sierra, the largest outpatient provider in Nevada and Sierra counties, has been assessing patients for COVID-19 before entering the health centers and testing individuals according to the established criteria. Screening patients at the door greatly reduces the health risk to other patients and the medical staff.
Also, Western Sierra is expanding its tele-health efforts — where patients can connect with providers utilizing tele-medicine technology. This expansion will help to eliminate the need for patients to do in-person appointments and continue to “shelter in place” which reduces exposure risks for all.
“We want to provide as much access as possible to patients,” said Dr. Christina Lasich, chief medical officer of Western Sierra. “But we’re also minimizing exposure and utilizing staff to provide as much remote patient care as possible. We’re having to make some very hard choices during this difficult time.”
In order to best meet the needs of the community and residents, Western Sierra has temporarily consolidated some of its operations to Auburn, on Professional Drive, and Grass Valley locations. Dental services will remain open to emergencies and phone consultations only due to exposure risks to the patients and staff.
Other services — including urgent care, behavioral health, primary care and the on-site pharmacy — are available and ready to serve patients either in-person or by phone. Because of these shifts in services, Western Sierra will also temporarily reduce its workforce.
“We know this a very stressful time for a lot of people,” McFarland said, “But these changes are necessary to help minimize the spread of the disease and maintain the health of the community and the organization.”
About Western Sierra Medical Clinic
Western Sierra Medical Clinic provides comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health care in Nevada, Sierra and Placer counties. Founded in 1975, Western Sierra emphasizes preventive care, education and empowering patients to make informed decisions. You can learn more about Western Sierra Medical Clinic at http://www.wsmcmed.org and on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/WesternSierraMedicalClinic.
Source: Western Sierra Medical Clinic
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