BY KRISTI WILLETT AND JENNY WELLS-HOSLEY AND STEVE SHAFFER
UK HealthCare is offering drive-thru testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus for its frontline employees and patient care providers.
The drive-thru testing is at UK HealthCare Turfland and by appointment only for UKHC employees who are symptomatic but do not need inpatient care. Plans to expand testing to broader groups at UK HealthCare and the public will be considered once access to tests increases.
“We want to make sure we take care of our employees so they can take care of our community,” said Dr. Mark Newman, University of Kentucky executive vice president for health affairs. “With the availability of tests and supplies, we are prioritizing testing for inpatients and health care employees who are symptomatic at this time.”
Employees are being asked to fill out a survey and provide information if they are symptomatic with cough and fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, or sore throat. Employees who have just returned from a level-three destination also can fill out a survey if they’re symptomatic. The information will be reviewed by a clinical team which will identify employees for the drive-thru testing.
Those employees will then be given an appointment for their test. About 100 health care employee appointments will be scheduled per day. However, the number of appointments scheduled will be closely linked with the availability of supplies.
“This drive-thru screening is focused on our health care employees because they are at the most risk because they have the most contact with patients who have COVID-19 and we need to be able to get them back to work so that they can care for our patients,” said Dr. Sarah Schuetz, internal medicine physician at UK HealthCare and co-physician lead for drive-thru testing for COVID-19. “We do not want any of our health care workers feeling like they have to work when they are sick, and we want to be able to get them a diagnosis as quickly as possible.”
Employees were undergoing training on Wednesday to care for those being tested in the drive-thru setting utilizing the appropriate protective equipment and supplies for employee and patient safety. Appointments for those being screened begin later this week.
“We have provided each of the members of our clinical team with appropriate training, both in how to use our patient care systems as well as how to approach patients coming through a drive-thru line,” said Dr. Kelli Trent, internal medicine and pediatric physician at UK HealthCare and co-physician lead for drive-thru testing for COVID-19. “Our staff have been excited to serve our colleagues that may become symptomatic in this time.”
Testing will be done by appointment only for employees who have been pre-screened.
To maintain the privacy of patients and employees, members of the public and news media are asked to not come to the drive-thru testing site and respect the privacy of patients just as they would in regular patient care facilities.
“I would like to acknowledge our ambulatory team of clinicians and staff who have worked diligently to find creative and efficient solutions to provide testing as well as other patient cares services,” said John Phillips, UK HealthCare vice president for ambulatory services. “Our core focus during this unprecedented time is to keep our employees safe and healthy so we can continue to provide outstanding health care to all Kentuckians.”
This article also appears on page 17 of the April 2020 print edition of Hamburg Journal.
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