Updates from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation
Four T-38A aircraft from Beale Air Force Base will fly over cities and landmarks within northern California today, as a way to lift spirits and provide an Air Force salute to everyone working on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. The flight demonstration over Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital will begin at approximately noon.
Tune in to KNCO from 1 to 2 p.m. on Monday for the “Your Health” radio show featuring Dr. Greg Vixie of Spring Hill Manor Rehabilitation & Convalescent Hospital; Pepsi Helmuth of Cascades of Grass Valley, and Shaun Clinkinbeard of Partners In Care. Care facilities and professional caregivers have been laser focused on ensuring the health and safety of their resident’s physical, mental and social well-being. Health workers will share how they have been managing and lessons they have learned as they’ve gone through this experience.
Prior to COVID-19, most people really hadn’t considered telemedicine as an option of care. However, there is a lot of discussion on how healthcare may change going forward. Close to half of doctors nationally are now using telehealth to treat patients as COVID-19 changes practice patterns and how physicians deliver care. That is an increase of 18% of physicians using telemedicine two years ago, based on The Physicians Foundation’s “2018 Survey of America’s Physicians.”
Last month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed to pay for virtual visits at the same rate of pay as face to face visits while the COVID-19 emergency remains in place.
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The impact on physician offices may ultimately be transformative as a way for patients to access care. As physicians are becoming more comfortable with telemedicine and as patients whose care can be handled virtually are more at ease with the process, telemedicine may offer an alternative solution post COVID-19 that would enable the physician workforce to have greater capacity for seeing patients.
Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital is a nonprofit community hospital affiliated with Dignity Health. In 2019, Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives (a health system back east and in the Midwest) joined at the national level to become CommonSpirit Health. As a system, there are currently 10,000 virtual telemedicine visits per day, which accounts for 40 percent of all visits nationally.
Being part of a system has advantages. While SNMH operates locally as the community hospital the community has always known, they also now have access to a broad spectrum of knowledge from hospitals across the county, which is especially important during COVID-19. The system’s commitment to serve the common good is delivered through the dedicated work of thousands of physicians, advanced practice clinicians, nurses, and staff; through clinical excellence delivered across a system of hospitals and other care centers covering 21 states, and accessible to nearly one in four U.S. residents.
The hospital is proud to announce it is nearing completion of its Emergency Department project. In addition to adding patient rooms, two “Rapid Medical Exam” rooms, and a quiet and safe environment for our mental health “high risk” patients, new inpatient diagnostic equipment including CT (computerized tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and Nuclear Medicine equipment will complement other hospital equipment.
The MRI, which uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of organs and tissue within the body, began service on May 4. The new Nuclear Medicine area should be open by the end of June.
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