Gateway Family Health Clinic has been a part of your communities for nearly 50 years and our doctors have delivered countless babies, and cared for many of you in health and illness. We are all certainly facing some previously unheard of challenges with the global pandemic. We wanted to assure you that we are here for you throughout this. As many of you know, in keeping with the social distancing recommendations, we are trying to do as many visits as possible via telephone. Many insurances will pay for these visits just like an in-person visit. Regardless of the reimbursement, we feel it is the safest route for our patients and staff. We are still able to see patients in person if the situation warrants. In particular we encourage parents of children up to 18 months or those who are older but behind on immunizations, to schedule their well child visits as per usual recommendations. Annual Wellness or routine physicals should be postponed for the time being. Patients who need to schedule appointments or phone visits should call our office as usual and our front desk staff will help guide them to make the appropriate appointment.
Our walk-in care continues at both our Moose Lake and Sandstone clinics. However, if anyone is concerned about COVID-19 symptoms, they should call first and our nursing staff along with medical staff backup will help them decide what the most appropriate action is. We have made the decision to close our Hinckley Clinic for the month of April to limit the amount of staff needed in the clinics. We feel we can still serve those patients from Hinckley in our Sandstone office. In addition we have put in place screening each day for our employees. We will also be screening patients for any concerning symptoms. In Sandstone, this means that all patients must come in through the ER entrance. The usual entrance to the clinic will be closed, although patients are able to access the pharmacy area. Once patients go through the ER screening, they will go to our front desk and be roomed as quickly as possible. In Moose Lake, we will be doing some screening at the front door before patients present to the front desk.
We are working closely with both Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake and Essentia Health Sandstone to assure we are prepared for whatever situations may arise. We have adjusted our physician assignments so each week physicians are assigned either to the hospital or clinic for the entire week. This means that if you need an appointment on a week your regular doctor is assigned to the hospital, you will be offered a visit with one of our other doctors or nurse practitioners.
We encourage you all to keep your families and communities safe by following the recommendations put out by our governor and Minnesota Department of Health https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/prevention.html . Find ways to keep active as a family and take advantage of the time to come closer as a family. Check on older adults in your neighborhood or family and see if there are ways you can be helpful. Things change on a daily basis so we will continue to monitor and adjust our policies as needed. Together we will get through this!
Bridget Dewey, M.D.
Gateway Clinic Physician