COVID-19: Stay Home, Save a Life
(April 23, 2020 – Palm Springs, CA) “ Almost as quickly as Coronavirus became a part of our daily lives, Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC) put together its COVID-19 Task Force. Working closely with its hospital partners Eisenhower Health and Desert Care Network, DOHC began to get the word out with a public service announcement produced by NBC. That was just the beginning of the ongoing work for all of the partners.
Testing and Treatment
DOHC set up its own triage and treatment tent in the northeast corner of the parking lot at its main campus in Palm Springs at 275 N. El Cielo, directly across the street from the Palm Springs International Airport.
Hours of operation are 8:30am to 5:00pm and there is space for up to five DOHC members at a time. Those who feel they have possible COVID-19 symptoms remain in their cars until a staff member comes to escort them to the waiting area. Symptoms consistent with possible COVID-19 infection include fever, cough, sore throat and increased phlegm. While Riverside County has recently expanded testing availability for all residents, they have not ordered or even recommended that people without symptoms be tested, according to Brooke Federico, Riverside County representative.
The tent ensures a private environment where clinical staff can screen and monitor DOHC members, while limiting potential cross exposure to other patients visiting the DOHC Immediate Care right around the corner from the tent. Screening areas have been set up outside all DOHC clinical areas, so that staff members can direct anyone presenting with signs of possible infection to the tent.
Spreading the word: Stay Home, Save a Life
Dr. Brian Hodgkins, PharmD and SVP of Clinical Operations at DOHC is the COVID-19 Task Force Leader. Hodgkins who shot a series of commercials now running on local TV stations said, “While it’s important to let everyone know that there is no need to panic, what we all do in our daily lives can be critical to how effectively we contain the spread of Coronavirus here in eastern Riverside County,” Dr. Hodgkins said. “We provide regular updates on our website for how to keep themselves and others safe during this pandemic.” Hodgkins has also been providing a weekly radio update on The Joey English Show while DOHC is also running COVID-19 digital display ads on local health and news websites.
In addition to a letter to DOHC members from the Coronavirus Task Force, the website’s COVID-19 page, provides broader community information from the White House and CDC, Johns Hopkins University’s Global Case Map, as well as the latest alerts, tips, videos and community resources with updates from local organizations. Visitors also find useful information about emergency food distributions from CalFresh and FIND Food Bank.
“Our strongest collective obligation is to protect our most vulnerable segments of the population, which is why we are asking people who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection to call us first for instructions at 760-969-6555. Do not come to Immediate Care or your primary care physician if you are experiencing only mild symptoms. Call us first, so we can assess a safe plan of care and if you need testing. Most patients will be managed under home quarantine and should only visit the emergency room if experiencing severe respiratory problems and having trouble breathing.”
Dr. Brian Hodgkins, PharmD and SVP of Clinical Operations at DOHC
Recognizing that it’s not enough to caution its members to #StayHome #StaySafe, DOHC is using telehealth more than ever. Postcards mailed to all member households invite them to have a "virtual visit” in order to keep important healthcare appointments. Those visits can be with doctors but might also be pharmacist consultations, health classes, and even Senior Wellness Exams. Hodgkins adds, “No one needs to be a tech genius because some of these virtual visits can be as simple as a phone call between our members and their care team.”
Protecting DOHC Staff As Well As Members
Some DOHC employees are also making calls to patients, to make sure they don’t need food, medicine or other important items while they are being asked to stay home. Other DOHC employees are making “socially distanced deliveries” of food and items like toilet paper and sanitizing wipes.
“We often reach out to express gratitude to our DOHC staff, especially on special occasions like Doctors’ Day on March 30 and Nurses’ Week May 6-12. But more than ever, we want our care teams – doctors, nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, social workers, case managers, and so many more – to know how much we appreciate their hard work and dedication during this especially challenging time.”
Dr. Marc Hoffing, Medical Director for DOHC
DOHC has created its own COVID-19 Morale Committee that checks up on its staff multiple times each day, not only via email reminders, educational tips and contests, but also with snacks, lunches, and small gifts – delivered by masked staff members, of course.
Director of Marketing
Desert Oasis Healthcare
About Desert Oasis Healthcare
Formed in 1981 as one of the first medical groups in the desert communities of southern California, Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC) continues to advance with changes in the healthcare market. DOHC provides primary and immediate care, home health, palliative care, clinical research studies and other services to more than 60,000 members/patients living in the greater Coachella Valley and the Morongo Basin of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The multidisciplinary and comprehensive care programs of DOHC are committed to educating individuals on preventive health care in their daily lives, reflected in the DOHC motto, "Your Health. Your Life. Our Passion." For more information, visit www.mydohc.com.