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One important protocol that has been implemented is that all patients should arrive to the hospital or clinic with their own cloth face covering and it must be worn for the entire duration of their visit.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care Resumes Elective Procedures

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BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Health Care's outpatient surgeries and diagnostic services, like those for imaging and laboratory work, have resumed in full with enhanced safety protocols after Gov. Phil Scott announced May 4 that hospitals could resume these services.

In early March, the governor directed health systems to put on hold non-urgent appointments and procedures as Vermont prepared for, and responded to, COVID-19. 

One important protocol that has been implemented is that all patients should arrive to the hospital or clinic with their own cloth face covering and it must be worn for the entire duration of their visit.

"SVHC has always maintained the highest standards in terms of safety, quality, and cleanliness, and immediately adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for COVID-19," said Thomas A. Dee, SVMC's president and CEO. "We are now eager to resume providing care for all of our patients' health needs."

Even with suspending elective surgical procedures in early March and focusing on the COVID-19 crisis, SVHC continued to provide safe, high-quality care for patients requiring urgent and emergent surgical interventions. Additionally, the health system's emergency department, ExpressCare and most of its specialty practices consistently remained open during the pandemic. Many practices continued to see patients through enhanced telemedicine appointments. And, the hospital's Women's and Children's Department welcomed 40 babies during the month of April.

"Our utmost priority is to keep our patients, providers and staff safe. Patients whose procedures were postponed should feel comfortable to come to the hospital to receive care," said Dr. Trey Dobson, SVMC’s chief medical officer. "With all of the precautions and protocols instituted, the hospital is likely our community’s safest public space."

Patients will questions about how to resume or initiate elective care should call their primary care provider or the specialist directly. For a list of providers, visit the website. To reschedule a procedure that was canceled, call 802-447-5541.

Patients with cough or shortness of breath or any two of the following — fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell — should contact their primary care provider or the COVID-19 Informational Hotline at 802-440-8844 before arriving to either their provider’s office or the hospital. For a detailed list of safety protocols, frequently asked questions, visitor guidelines, and COVID-19 information, visit the website.

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Southwestern Vermont Health Care Launches Virtual Urgent Care

BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southwestern Vermont Health Care has launched a virtual urgent care platform called CAREqd to improve access to medical care. 

In medical terminology, "qd" is shorthand for "every day." Through CAREqd the community can receive urgent care at any time of day, every day. CAREqd can be accessed through a live, secure video connection on its website or a mobile app for smartphones.

"Our mission of exceptional care drives us to provide our community with increased access and convenience," said Dr. Trey Dobson, the medical center’s chief medical officer. "The CAREqd virtual urgent care platform is a way to extend the use of technology to make high-quality care even easier for patients."

The CAREqd platform provides patients access to urgent care around the clock every day of the year, including weekends and holidays. Patients can access urgent care from anywhere by phone or from an internet-enabled device, whether they are at home, at work or traveling. The mobile app makes it quick and easy to access a provider from a smartphone or tablet.

CAREqd is secure, confidential and easy to use. Patients create a free account online or via the mobile app and fill out their brief medical history. There is no cost to activate the account. When they need it, patients can request a video or phone visit at a time that fits their schedule or see a provider right away. 

The CAREqd providers can diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication for a wide range of conditions, including allergies, cough, diarrhea, earache, fever, flu, insect bites and stings, nausea, pink eye, rash, respiratory problems, and more.

SVMC has partnered with MDLive, a national virtual urgent care system, to develop CAREqd. Partnering with MDLive also brings a broad network of more than 1,000 providers, including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. When patients use CAREqd they can choose between an SVMC/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam provider or an MDLive provider that has particular expertise and experience in diagnosing and treating urgent care conditions over the phone and using video.

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