COVID-19: Our Local Response

Encouraging displays show community support for HaysMed’s front-line associates.

The rise of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global, national, and local concern. We want to assure our patients and the community that HaysMed, part of The University of Kansas Health System, is working closely with local, state, and federal health offcials to stay in front of this challenge. At HaysMed, our top priority has always been caring for the health of our patients, visitors, and staff.

Once COVD-19 entered the healthcare scene in January, HaysMed immediately convened the crisis response team, a group already established at HaysMed for such occasions. The team has members from administration, medical staff, risk management, inpatient services, clinics, lab, human resources, marketing, and supply. They began meeting twice a day to plan and implement safeguards for an illness that was evolving, sometimes by the hour, and having frequent conversations with the University of Kansas Health System and the Ellis County Health Department. Because of the experienced team, they were able to quickly outline plans, assign appropriate people to carry out the plans, and communicate with both our internal staff and the public.

Our associates treat patients with respiratory illnesses every day. We have the training, tools, and techniques in place to isolate and care for patients who are at risk for COVID-19 following the guidelines identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A hotline has been established to answer any questions specifically related to COVID-19. Visitor restrictions snd screening of everyone entering HaysMed provides protection for our associates and patients. A separate infectious disease unit at HaysMed protects any inpatients who have tested positive or who are suspected of having COVID-19 as well as the staff caring for them.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us and has changed the way we are practicing healthcare, the COVID-19 team remains committed to ensuring that seeking healthcare at HaysMed is safer than it has ever been. We have instituted additional safety precautions along with the ones that were already in place so visitors to HaysMed can rest assured they are safe when they come to HaysMed for an appointment or procedure.

“We want to make sure that everyone is still getting the care that they need and not avoiding other health concerns that may be coming at this time. So we’re really encouraging all patients to reach out to their providers, and we’ll sort out what’s the best way for them to be seen,” said Dr. Heather Harris, family practice physician and medical director at HaysMed.

HaysMed providers continue to see patients in the clinics but are
expanding their use of technology through telehealth appointments as well. “We have lots of avenues for access for folks to get care if they need it. technology has been on our side, so we’re able to get people seen,” Harris explained.