With the Governor's announcement earlier this week that phase one of reopening of healthcare services can begin on Monday, T.J. Regional Health is planning and preparing to resume services using a phased, gradual approach. To ensure everyone's safety, many precautions will continue to be in place, including screening everyone who enters any T.J. facility and restricted visitor policies.
In order to strictly limit the number of people in the facility at one time, fewer appointments than normal will be scheduled throughout the day in physician offices and for scheduled tests at the T.J. Health Pavilion. With that in mind, it will take longer than usual to schedule appointments for certain services. Many patients who had non-urgent issues are on a waiting list to be scheduled for tests ordered by their provider. The patient access team will be calling patients as quickly as possible to get them on the schedule.
"We are working hard today and over the weekend to re-arrange waiting areas, alter patient schedules, and put additional safety measures in place," according to Jenny Cerwinske, Executive Vice President for Practice Management. "Patients can expect things to look a little different at the T.J. Health Pavilion when they come to see their doctor or for services such as radiology and lab work."
Everyone who enters the building, including patients and staff, will continue to be screened, and everyone will be required to wear a mask. Patients are encouraged to wear masks from home in order to conserve personal protective equipment, but if they do not have one, a mask will be provided. Visitors will continue to be restricted to only essential caregivers, such as parents of minors.
Non-traditional waiting areas have been set up in the main corridor of the T.J. Health Pavilion, with a limited number of chairs in each area that are placed six feet apart. Patient holding areas will be strategically adjusted to ensure proper social distancing, and schedules have been modified in certain areas to ensure no overlap of patients. This will allow staff sufficient time to disinfect rooms and equipment between patients. Other precautionary steps include cleaning and sanitizing waiting areas, chairs, door knobs, and other high-touch surfaces hourly.
The use of T.J. Telehealth services for physician visits is strongly encouraged, but in-person visits will be allowed on a limited basis, primarily in specialty clinics such as cardiology and surgery. Waiting areas in physician clinics will allow a very limited number of people and social distancing will be monitored. Floor decals have been placed in multiple areas through the Pavilion so that patients are reminded to maintain distance from others.
Pharmacy customers will continue to use the drive-thru and curbside services, and the Pavilion Pharmacy also offers a free delivery service.
"When we resume some operations next week, it certainly won't be business as usual, but we are happy to be making progress in this fight against the coronavirus," said Neil Thornbury, CEO of T.J. Regional Health. "Although we are ecstatic to start the process of reopening our community, we all need to be extra cautious to protect ourselves along with our team members, patients, and families."
T.J. Regional Health, the parent system of multiple healthcare clinics, is anchored by T.J. Samson Community Hospital, a 196-bed acute-care facility with 16 skilled-care beds, based in Glasgow that is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, and the T.J. Health Pavilion, which provides outpatient care and physician offices. T.J. Regional Health also operates numerous Rural Health Clinics in the South Central Kentucky region.