We are growing for our community

100,000 sq. ft. hospital expansion coming soon

An open letter to our communities from OMC CEO & President Tom Keller:

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 communities safe.

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 of stress.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Non-essential business travel: Restricting non-essential business travel for all coworkers. Meetings will be virtual.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. At-risk Volunteers: Our volunteers that are categorized as high-risk individuals, most notably those over age 60, have been released from their service.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  • Dr. Samantha Wallace serves as the Medical Director of OMC Hospitalists. Hospitalists are physicians practicing inpatient care in the hospital setting. They are board certified internal medicine physicians with extensive critical care experience.

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 care provider.

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.


Tom Keller

President & CEO

Ozarks Medical Center

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