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Do Not Be Afraid to Seek Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While people in the community have been doing their part to stay home and save lives, it is still important to seek health care when needed. As our counties continue to open up, patients are also starting to make appointments for health screenings, annual exams, vaccinations and more.

“Your health and wellbeing are top priorities at Samaritan, as is your safety,” said Karen Niehaus, MD, internal medicine physician at Samaritan Coastal Clinic in Lincoln City. “Our hospitals and clinics have always held the highest standards of cleanliness and safety, but as with many things, the coronavirus has led to enhanced precautions even in the health care setting. If you need care, you can rest assured that we are here for all your health care needs, and that our facilities are clean and safe.”

Dr. Niehaus encourages all patients to call their health care providers with health care concerns, without further delay.

“For a while, we were holding off on some kinds of appointments, in large part to conserve personal protective equipment for possible coronavirus patients,” said Dr. Niehaus. “But health screenings, exams and other care are still very important, and we are so relieved that we’ve been able to bring back the full spectrum of care.”

Meanwhile, when it comes to life-threatening conditions like heart attacks and strokes, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible.

“Strokes and heart attacks are treatable conditions if you seek medical care immediately,” said Barry Smith, MD, senior medical director of acute care and hospitalist services for Samaritan-affiliated hospitals. “Samaritan hospitals provide award-winning stroke and heart care with treatments to help get your blood flowing normally again and minimize long-term damage.”

Smith, who treats patients at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, said this also applies to other medical conditions: The sooner you seek care, the better your chances of recovery.

“There have been understandable delays in patients seeking care due to concerns about visiting a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Smith said. “Unfortunately, some patients have become sicker with serious consequences due to waiting too long.”

Samaritan hospitals and clinics have instituted enhanced safety measures to minimize the spread of coronavirus and keep patients and staff safe.

“Everyone is required to wear masks, all employees and visitors are screened and we isolate patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections, keeping them away from other patients,” Dr. Smith said. “Our staff have been trained to take special measures to decrease the spread of this infection, which also decreases the spread of other infections. In addition, our hospitals have had low number of patients with COVID-19 infections, thanks to the social distancing measures taken by our communities.” 

The longstanding focus on patient safety shows in Samaritan’s many accomplishments.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rates hospitals on a five-star scale, with high priority given to safety and quality measures. All five Samaritan affiliated hospitals in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties have received at least three out of five stars, with the following highlights:

  • All five hospitals met or exceeded standards for patient safety.
  • All five hospitals either had average or lower-than-average readmission rates for the same condition.
  • All five hospitals met or exceeded the average scores for patient experience.

“Patients can feel safe visiting a Samaritan facility for any health need in these unprecedented times,” Dr. Niehaus said.

Patients having symptoms of a serious or life-threatening health condition, should immediately call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

Any patient needing care, either for an ongoing health condition or a new health concern, should not hesitate to contact their health care provider.

The patient’s health care team will be able to determine what type of care will be best. This may be a telehealth visit from the comfort of home, or an in-person visit depending on the symptoms.

Samaritan’s mission is Building Healthier Communities Together, and that starts  with your health.

Learn more about Samaritan’s enhanced safety measures in response to the pandemic.

Looking for a provider? Call 800-863-5241.