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Bartlett Hospital ready for soft opening May 4

April 28, 2020 – News

As of May 4, Bartlett Regional Hospital will begin again offering some elective surgeries and essential service lines in compliance with the Governor’s Re-Open Alaska Responsibly Plan. Procedures that can’t be deferred 8 weeks without negative impact on the patient will be resumed. According to Health Mandate 15, “Surgeries and intensive procedures are permitted to proceed if delay is deemed to cause significant impact on health, livelihood, or quality of life.”

“We will be doing this in a way that minimizes risk and maximizes protection,” says Chief Executive Officer Chuck Bill. “I want everyone to know that coming to the hospital is safe for elective procedures and for other service lines,” adds Chief Operating Officer Billy Gardner.

Opening essential services include Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Sleep Studies, and Diagnostic Imaging, including Mammography. “We detect on average eight breast cancers per month,” notes Gardner, “so we have a drive to keep these essential services flowing.” The visiting ophthalmologist will resume his monthly visit, beginning with macular degeneration injections.

Each department has safety plans to keep patients and staff safe; screening for COVID-19 as appropriate, respecting social distancing, and avoiding overlapping visits.

“If we see a spike in COVID-19 cases in the community we can drop back to our current position,” notes Bill.

Patients will register with Patient Access Services by phone prior to their appointment, then briefly stop by PAS for an ID band and sign a consent for treatment when they come to the hospital.

Another factor in complying with the state mandate is insuring healthcare institutions have enough Personal Protective Equipment. Bartlett orders PPE from local, regional, national and international sources. Staff check a spreadsheet with a PPE burn rate calculator daily. Everyone from cleaning staff to physicians are trained in how to safely put on and take off PPE to avoid waste.

According to Materials Management director Ethan Sawyer, Bartlett has a “reasonable” supply of the coveted N-95 filter masks. Bartlett is following protocols of a sterilization system that can extend the life of an N-95 mask up to ten uses. In addition, “thousands of donated supplies, gowns and masks have poured in, for which we are very thankful,” says Gardner.

The Senior Leadership team also wants to assure the public that it is safe to come to the Emergency Department if you are experiencing any health issues, especially red flags for severe conditions such as chest and abdominal pain. “If you think you are sick, please come to the hospital and deal with it now, before it gets worse,” advises Infection Preventionist Charlee Gribbon.

The hospital is set up to separate infectious and non-infectious patients as part of maximum safety measures in place due to COVID-19.

All visitors and patients are required to wear a mask or face covering at all times while on the BRH campus.

For more information, contact Community Relations Director Katie Bausler at 907-796-8567/321-2755 or Kbausler3@bartletthospital.org.