In keeping with this mission, Tidelands Heath is engaged in a variety of population health initiatives like pre-diabetes and cancer screenings.
Since Covid-19, they’ve incorporated testing for the virus into their protocol.
“When Covid-19 began full scale in March,” Gayle says, “we began ramping up for a spike in ICU admissions and began to do a few things to be prepared to respond to a significant increase in inpatient hospitalizations.
“The timing was such that when schools closed, businesses closed, and the stay-at-home order was issued, we flattened the curve. We temporarily suspended elective surgeries and procedures both to ensure that we had sufficient workforce for emergency cases, as well as to make sure that we had sufficient personal protective equipment.
“We certainly saw some Covid-19 patients, but we didn’t see the surge we anticipated.
“When we began to work on preparations, what we called our surge program, we began processes to make sure we were actively screening and testing patients at the right time, in the right place, and with the right resources. Through the early part of Covid, we managed to not overwhelm our system, and were able to provide the services the community needed.”
By May, as the system began to be more stable, Tidelands Health began to encourage the community to get their normal health care services back on track.
Safe in Our Care is a campaign of protocols and procedures they implemented— setting in place different ways of doing business.
“We changed the way we operate,” Gayle says. “We began screening patients for fevers when they came in the door, increased sanitary procedures, and ensured adequate distance between people so that we were ready to safely take care of people.”
At the same time, the state was working on beginning to lift the stay-at-home order and getting businesses operational again, but wanted to do that with an expansion of community-wide screenings for Covid-19 on a large scale.
“DHEC asked for provider partners to help facilitate testing in the community,” Gayle says. “We were actively testing in our primary care locations, and were well positioned to step up and support their mission of testing 2% of the population. We also set up outdoor clinics where you could go and be evaluated if you had symptoms of Covid-19, instead of having to go to the emergency room.”