Breckenridge Texan

Stephens Memorial Hospital announces changes to lab services

Stephens Memorial Hospital announces changes to lab services
March 25
19:24 2020

Stephens Memorial Hospital announced today, Wednesday, March 25, that they are making some temporary changes to their lab testing process. Beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 26, patients will be able to have lab work done without entering the hospital.

The hospital will have an ambulance parked in front of the hospital to collect samples and register patients without them having to enter the hospital.

“We are taking this measure to try and ensure our patients’ safety while also meeting the medical needs of our community,” hospital administrators said in a written statement.

Anyone who goes to the Stephens Memorial for lab testing is asked to call 254-559-2241 and let them know that you’re there. A staff member will come out to greet you and help you with the process. The process will limit patients’ exposure to anyone in the hospital.

Although there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in Stephens County, hospital and other local officials are taking actions to try and prevent the spread, in case someone here does get the disease. According to the World Health Association, more than 416,000 people have contracted the disease worldwide, and more than 18,000 have died. On Wednesday afternoon, the Texas Tribune reported that there have been 995 cases of the disease  and 12 deaths in Texas.

Stephens Memorial Hospital reports that there have been 12 local residents tested. Five results have come back as “negative.”  Three of those tests were from Resource Care and two were from Stephens Memorial Hospital. Seven are still pending.

Routine lab tests, such as blood work, can be handled in the ambulance.

The ambulance they will use for the lab tests is one that is owned by the hospital and is no longer used for emergency services, so they are not taking an ambulance out of emergency service, said Chris Curtis, Practice Administrator for the hospital. He said the ambulance provides a smaller place where they can take the tests, which makes it a smaller area they have to sanitize.

Curtis said at the clinic they are seeing wellness patients in the morning and sick patients in the afternoon. He said they are trying to keep the patients from being exposed to each other.

The change to the hospital’s lab process is the latest in a series of changes enacted during the ongoing novel (new) coronavirus threat.

Earlier this month, the hospital announced the following changes to their normal procedures:

  • Anyone presenting to the Emergency Department will be subject to screening before entering the facility. A nurse will meet the patient at the door and triage the patient for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone accompanying the patient will also be screened. The hospital asks anyone planning to visit the emergency room to call ahead (254-559-2241), if possible, and talk to a nurse so that they can better prepare to treat you.
  • Urgent Care and Outpatient services will continue to be open. All patients and visitors will be screened.
  • Hospital visiting hours will be limited to 4 to 7 p.m., with a maximum of two visitors per room. All visitors will be subject to screening for any signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Any patients suspected of having COVID-19 will be isolated and tested.
  • Breckenridge Medical Center will continue to operate as normal, with additional screening questions added when patients call to make an appointment or present to the clinic. If you think you need an appointment, call 254-559-3363.
  • If you need a prescription refilled, call the pharmacy and ask them to send a refill request to the doctor.
  • Anyone experiencing mild symptoms of a respiratory-type illness  is advised to contact their primary care provider or to call the hospital to speak with a healthcare worker. Mild respiratory symptoms can be treated at home. If you experience symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, then seek medical treatment immediately.
  • SMH Physical Therapy is operating and seeing scheduled patients. Patients are being screened before treatment. The Wellness portion of the facility is closed at this time.


Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

(Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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