COVID-19 has changed how we grocery shop, attend church services and celebrate major life events—at least for now. But, since Arizona’s stay-at-home order has ended, how will COVID-19 affect how you interact with your healthcare provider? Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) shares five ways that COVID-19 has changed – or not changed – healthcare in our community.

  1. COVID-19 or no COVID-19, YRMC is here to provide the healthcare you need.

No one should delay seeking healthcare because they’re concerned about COVID-19.

“As healthcare providers, our goal is to get patients the right care at the right time in the right place,” said William Lockwood, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist at YRMC PhysicianCare Pulmonology and Infectious Disease in Prescott. “That has not changed with COVID-19. If you’re having chest pains or experiencing the symptoms of a stroke, the right time to get medical attention is immediately and the right place is the Emergency Department.”

Dr. Lockwood notes that YRMC safely conducted emergency surgeries and cared for individuals with non-coronavirus illnesses during the Executive Order halting elective and non-emergent surgeries.

“You should never delay medical attention for a suspicious lump, persistent pain or other symptoms that concern you,” Dr. Lockwood emphasized. “YRMC is here for all of your healthcare needs.”

  1. YRMC’s COVID-19 plan will continue to use the latest science and technology.

YRMC West in Prescott and YRMC East in Prescott Valley have dedicated units for people being treated for COVID-19. These negative-pressure units ensure any germs remain inside of the isolation area to prevent disease from spreading.

Throughout both campuses, germ-eliminating Tru-D robots are part of YRMC’s strict disinfection procedures. These robots figure the amount of UVC energy needed to disinfect an entire hospital room. They then unleash a lethal dose of ultraviolet light to destroy the microorganisms that cause infection.

“YRMC has taken science and operationalized it,” said Dr. Lockwood. “This level of safety is accomplished thanks to many experts including YRMC’s Infection Control, Information Services and Environmental Services teams.”

  1. YRMC is response-ready if there is a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Experts have warned of a COVID-19 resurgence in the summer or fall. That’s why even as YRMC has re-opened outpatient and other services that were classified as “non-emergent” during the lockdown, the organization is also ready to respond to a COVID-19 resurgence.

“We’re returning to a ‘new normal,’” explained Keith Nichols, MHA, Chief Patient Experience Officer at YRMC. “Caring for our community in this era means fighting COVID-19 while also providing advanced healthcare services to treat all medical conditions.”

A multi-disciplinary team of YRMC decision makers – medical experts, administrative leaders, nurse executives and more – gathers daily to discuss COVID-19 and determine how YRMC will prepare for and respond to the pandemic.

“This is our war room,” Nichols said. “It’s where we have in-depth conversations about every aspect of our COVID-19 plan of action. These daily discussions focus on staffing levels, PPE availability, testing protocols, re-engineering the hospital for COVID-19 and more. Because of the expertise in that room – and our frontline team – we can pivot immediately if the circumstances merit.”

  1. YRMC is continuing to restrict visitors at our medical centers and for good reason.

“This policy is designed to protect our patients and staff from COVID-19,” explained  Ken Boush, Director of Marketing and Communications at YRMC. “By limiting access to YRMC West in Prescott and YRMC East in Prescott Valley, we limit the possibility of our patients and caregivers being exposed to COVID-19.”

At the same time, YRMC understands that families want to spend time with their loved ones who are hospitalized.

Boush encourages families to contact the appropriate unit to discuss safe visitation options. Video chats can also be arranged or, in some circumstances, one family member may be designated to visit a hospitalized patient.

Anyone entering YRMC – and any YRMC outpatient center or PhysicianCare clinic – will have a temperature check and be asked a series of screening questions. Face masks are required at YRMC to protect others from any possible transmission. If you don’t have one, YRMC will provide one for you. Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout all YRMC facilities.

  1. YRMC wants you be ready for an elective surgery or outpatient procedure.

Are you scheduled for an elective or non-emergency surgery at YRMC West or YRMC East? Your pre-operative testing –  lab work, imaging studies and echocardiogram (EKG), for example – will now include a COVID-19 test.

If you need a family member or friend to accompany you to your procedure, please make sure you understand YRMC’s visitation restrictions before you arrive. “We understand there are special circumstances and these are addressed on a case-by-case basis,” Boush said. “We’re encouraging people to be proactive. Call before the surgery or procedure to ask questions and gather information.”

This Does Not Change

Even as COVID-19 has required many changes, what remains consistent is YRMC’s commitment to the community.

“The people of YRMC are part of our community,” said Nichols. “They have been called to serve in a heightened way during COVID-19. I am proud to be associated with each and every member of this impressive team.”