Contact: Carey Guhlke-Falk
DAVENPORT – About a month ago, administration at Lincoln Hospital and Clinics asked for employee volunteers for standby employment. They worked closely with the 25 employees who volunteered to get them set up for unemployment and other resources, and provided them with fully covered health insurance during their furlough time. Starting Monday, May 11th, the local hospital district was able to bring back all standby employees.
“We did everything we could to keep these employees whole during that time and worked hard to ensure we could bring them back as quickly as possible,” said Tyson Lacy, CEO for Lincoln Hospital and Clinics. “I’m thankful we didn’t have to move into any mandatory furloughs.”
Financial uncertainty, limited personal protective equipment, and restrictions on services were the cause of the temporary and voluntary furloughs. Since then, the healthcare district has received federal assistance through the CARES Act. That, along with some loosening on service restrictions has allowed for most of the hospital’s operations to return to normal.
On Monday, May 18, Governor Inslee announced a proclamation to reduce restriction on non-urgent medical procedures. Prior to this, surgeries and procedures were only allowed if they were considered emergent or if harm would be caused to the patient if it was postponed for more than 90 days – at the discretion of the healthcare provider. Providers had the risk of criminal penalties if they violated the guidelines of the proclamation. The new proclamation means Lincoln Hospital’s orthopedic and general surgeries, as well as colonoscopy procedures, are unrestricted and they can resume care at full capacity as long as they are following the required safety guidelines.
“We have patients who have been waiting for their surgeries with pain and discomfort,” said Jennifer Larmer, Chief Clinical Officer for Lincoln Hospital and Clinics. “We’re happy to be providing this care for our patients again with safety precautions in place for our staff and patients.” The hospital district will still be hosting a curbside screening clinic away from normal operations of their three clinics for patients who are experiencing respiratory illness as well as screening every person who arrives at their facilities in Davenport, Reardan, and Wilbur for COVID symptoms. Extensive cleaning standards, masking, and social distancing measures are also being taken to protect patients and employees. “The way we operate has had to change to accommodate prevention of this virus, but the care and services we provide are back in full force,” Larmer said.
Lincoln Hospital continues to encourage patients to seek care when they have the need and wants to reassure members of the community that it is safe to do so.