As a result of the uniqueness of this public health situation, and its
ever-evolving status, I am writing to inform you as to the activities
and efforts underway at Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) related to the current
novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The safety and security of our patients, residents, visitors, and co-workers
are at all times, our highest priority. We take great pride in maintaining
a safe environment for patients and co-workers and in helping keep our
OMC is committed to keeping our patients, visitors, co-workers, and communities
informed and frequently updated about the steps we are taking concerning
the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We also will continue to share information
as it becomes available.
OMC has been and will continue to closely monitor the on-going situation
and following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Missouri Department of
Health (MDOH) and working in close partnership with Howell County Health
Department, our medical staff and other community partners.
Over the past 30 days, OMC has enacted many additional steps to help keep
our patients, co-workers, and facilities safe. Here are just some of the
measures OMC is currently taking:
Cleaning and Sanitizing: We have heightened and increased the frequency of cleaning our public
areas using only hospital-grade disinfectants - paying particular attention
to any high touch point areas. We are substantially increasing the quantity
of hand sanitizer devices throughout all sites. We are continually adding
additional cleaning staff to accomplish this goal.
Visitor Restrictions: All patients and visitors are required to enter the hospital through
a single entrance located through the doors beside the emergency department.
There will be coworkers there to greet you and help direct you as well
as assist with a shuttle ride or parking.
Extra shuttles are patrolling the parking lots and can also be reached by calling
417-293-4731. No one under the age of 18, who are not seeking treatment, are allowed
in the hospital. Each patient is limited to one visitor per patient, per day.
Negative pressure ventilation: Certain contained areas of the hospital are being converted to negative
pressure ventilation to isolate potential cases preventing cross-contamination
to other areas.
Cafeteria. The Cafeteria is closed and meals are being delivered to patients as
usual. Also, meals are being delivered to our coworkers during this time
OMC Pharmacy: The lobby is closed, but we have recently opened a Drive-thru window
that will be the only location open for pharmacy services. Patients in
the hospital can have their medications delivered bedside before discharge.
Coworker preparedness: Our provider and clinical teams are receiving on-going briefings and
enhanced operating protocols. Expanded training including up-to-the-minute
information and guidance about this rapidly changing pandemic.
Non-essential gatherings: We are effective immediately, canceling or moving larger group meetings
to a virtual format if needed. All OMC events are canceled for the immediate future.
Employee illness: We are also reinforcing existing OMC policy encouraging employees who
exhibit flu-like symptoms to stay home and self-quarantine. This includes
those who may not be ill themselves, but that have family members not
feeling well. They are encouraged to follow the same protocols that we
are encouraging the public to.
Non-essential business travel: Restricting non-essential business travel for all coworkers. Meetings
will be virtual.
Elective Surgeries: Reducing elective surgeries that are not time-sensitive to continue prudent
management of medical supplies. Patients with elective procedures schedule
need to call those clinics to check the current provider schedules.
Virtual visits: Quickly reviewing and implementing the logistics required to provide
virtual visits through an OMC platform. In the meantime, the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid has given permission to allow providers to see patients
by available means including video-conferencing including Facetime, Skype, etc.
At-risk Volunteers: Our volunteers that are categorized as high-risk individuals, most notably
those over age 60, have been released from their service.
Increased personnel: We are implementing additional pools of coworkers to be utilized as our
requirements increase. We are reaching out to our nursing schools to quickly
onboard nursing students and instructors into support roles. The physicians
and nurses in our community not currently working as clinicians are answering
the call to serve.
Medical supplies: We are working closely with our vendors and suppliers to ensure appropriate
inventory levels of all clinical supplies are maintained and emergency
supplies are available.
Medical Expertise: Our medical staff is highly trained and experienced in emergent situations
and the implementation of elevated levels of infection precautions.
Several OMC medical experts that are currently providing leadership to
our medical staff are Dr. Ritu Kathuria, Dr. Biplab Saha, and Dr. Samantha Wallace.
Dr. Ritu Kathuria is an OMC Hospitalist board certified in internal medicine
as well as completing a Fellowship in infectious diseases.
Dr. Biplab Saha is an OMC pulmonologist with board certifications in internal
medicine, pulmonology, and critical care.
Both bring multi-faceted skill sets and experience in this particular
area of medicine.
16. Leadership: We have activated our incident command system to be ready if needed and
leadership is available around-the-clock to provide assistance and guidance
as well as address any issues.
So what you can do:
Protect yourself and others: The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to the
virus by maintaining the social distance of 6 foot and avoiding gatherings
of over 10 people. We encourage everyone to be vigilant about handwashing
with soap and water or the use of hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your
eyes, nose, and mouth. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects
in your home and workspace.
If you are sick: Please stay home except if you need to seek medical care. When you are
around other people wear a face mask, especially if you will be entering
a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not sick, please have
the face masks for those that are. And of course, the continuing of frequent
cleaning and disinfecting is crucial.
If you are seeking medical treatment at Ozarks Medical Center Emergency
Department, Urgent Care or any of the Family Medicine Clinic, please call
ahead. OMC coworkers will come to your vehicle with gloves and masks ready
to care for you. Your safety along with others in the waiting room is
our top priority.
How we overcome this is through unified community efforts. We must rely
on the compassion and assistance of everyone to please follow the guidelines
set in place to help contain this epidemic and take this situation seriously.
We would implore you to remain consistent in your efforts in protecting
yourself, your loved ones, and especially those most susceptible in our
communities. To always keep them in mind as we continue with the new normal
for the foreseeable future.
OMC continues to operate to meet the needs of the communities we have the
honor of serving. The proactive steps we put in place are to limit the
possible transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses and we will continue
to review and update them as warranted and at the direction of state and
federal authorities. Please be assured, despite new restrictions OMC will
continue to provide care to all who seek treatment at our facilities.
If you have questions about exposure or symptoms, please call 877-435-8411
to be screened before going to the emergency department or your primary
The events that have occurred in our community and around the world are
unprecedented, and for many, it is a time of uncertainty. We hope that
you can lean on us at OMC for the prudent advice and reassurance that
will help you and your loved ones weather this storm. OMC is committed
to keeping our patients, employees, and communities safe.
Thank you for your support.
President & CEO
Ozarks Medical Center