Berkshire Health Systems Further Reduces Call Line Hours as Usage Falls

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Citing the continuing drop in the number of calls received on a daily basis, Berkshire Health Systems is further reducing the hours for its COVID-19 Nurse Triage Line. For the past month, the hours have been 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Effective Sunday, May 17, the hours will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

During the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Berkshires, the toll-free call line recorded, on average, between 200 and 300 calls per day. That number has dropped to an average of 100 calls per day, with very few calls after 4:30 p.m. 

The call line was developed during the very first days of the pandemic in the Berkshires as a way to provide immediate access to nurses who could field and answer questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, from symptoms to whether an individual should be tested, speak with their physician, or be transported to the Emergency Department. A physician staffs the telehealth component in the event that the caller's questions require a higher level of diagnostic discussion and recommendations.

"We are committed to staffing this important community resource throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to review the utilization to determine whether additional adjustments, whether to further reduce the hours or to revert to expanded hours is necessary, based on need," said Darlene Rodowicz, BHS executive vice president. "We also want to stress to the community that if they need care, our providers, from the Emergency Department to our physician practices, are open and ready to see anyone in need of care, whether in-person or by telehealth. While we battle COVID-19, we want to stress that those who need care for chronic or other conditions should continue to see or speak with their providers and we have taken extra precautions to ensure that all of our facilities are clean and safe."

Tags: BHS,   COVID-19,   

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