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Northern Light Health announces changes in response to COVID-19

Date: 03/16/2020

For the safety of our patients, families, caregivers, staff, and others in our communities, Northern Light Health has announced temporary changes to our normal operations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that all who need it receive medical care.

Elective and non-essential care

Effective immediately, elective surgeries, office visits, diagnostic tests, endoscopies, and other procedures that can be considered “nonessential,” will be assessed for postponement until a later date. Each case will be evaluated by the patient’s healthcare provider to determine if it should be postponed. Patients will be contacted by their healthcare provider’s office if their procedure, visit, or test can be rescheduled. This is not a decision we make lightly and do so in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the American College of Surgeons. We remain here at the ready to care for those who need it. 

Visitation policy

Northern Light Health has modified its visitation policy to restrict visitors while recognizing that in
exceptional circumstances, having a visitor or family member present is crucial. In all cases, visitors will be subject to screening at the entrance and will not be permitted to visit if they are exhibiting COVID-19 virus symptoms. Patients and families are encouraged to connect with their local Northern Light Hospital or continuing care facility for specific information about the visitation policy in their community.

Additionally, Northern Light Health is establishing appointment-only, drive-up testing in many communities. This approach helps us keep patients and staff safe, expedites care for all patients, including those visiting for routine care, and reduces the use of and potential infection risk associated with putting on and taking off personal protective gear. Initially, drive-up testing will be available by referral only for patients who meet the clinical criteria – patients must call their primary care provider’s office for a phone screening and referral.

“Northern Light Health has been preparing for COVID-19 for several weeks, and these changes to our operations will ensure that we’re able to focus on responding to our patients’ needs, both those who may be affected, and those who require other types of care,” says James Jarvis, MD, medical specialist, Northern Light Health Incident Command. “The community can join us in flattening the curve by following the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s guidance for preventing the spread of the disease. As the situation evolves, Northern Light Health will be here to meet the community’s needs and is committed to keeping patients and families up-to-date.”