Pikeville Medical Center issued a statement April 3 to update the region on efforts underway at the hospital which have resulted in changes for patients and the way the hospital delivers its services at this time.
"PMC's priority is to ensure that patients, visitors and staff remain healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement said. "PMC is following all guidelines set by the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Gov. (Andy Beshear), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kentucky Department for Public Health. PMC will remain open during regular business hours and offer 24 hours, seven days a week, emergency services."
Processes to ensure safety and make appointments convenient are in place for those who are seeking non-essential and elective appointments, the statement said. According to the statement, PMC staff is calling patients notifying them of the various appointment options. Efforts are being made for those attending appointments to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and make their visit to PMC a smooth one. "While adhering to these recommendations, the lobby areas have been modified to meet social distancing guidelines," the statement said. "If patients do not want to wait in the lobby after registering, they may wait in their vehicle and receive a text when their appointment is ready to begin. Patients will then be taken directly to an exam room. In addition, PMC will also have employees designated to come to your vehicle to notify you when you are ready to be seen." In January, the statement said, PMC announced it was the recipient of a USDA Rural Health grant to implement a telehealth system in Pike County and Pikeville Independent elementary schools. The intent was to take several months to get the new system up and running. However, there was an urgent need to use the telehealth platform during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"PMC's Information Technology department put telehealth on the fast-track by working day and night to do in weeks what had previously been planned to do in months," the statement said. "Qualified patients now can use a smartphone, tablet or computer equipped with a camera to see and talk with a PMC health care provider. Not every type of appointment will be applicable, but those that are will be encouraged to take place via the telehealth platform."
The statement said the hospital began using the new service in its Family Practice and Primary Care facilities. The telehealth platform is expanded to Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and other specialty services. PMC will be scheduling morning appointments for patients who need to see a physician in person, and afternoons will be reserved for physicians to conduct telehealth visits.
"Being the region's largest regional hospital, using telehealth is key to granting our patients access to quality health care," the statement said.