AGMC wants people to seek care

Despite the Adena Health System announcing hundreds of furloughs Thursday, system officials said they want local residents to know to the Adena Greenfield Medical Center is still there to serve their needs.

“One of my fears is that someone is going to stay home when they’re having chest pains,” said M.D. Richard Mizer with Adena Family Medicine in Greenfield. “We still want people that need care to seek care. And we don’t want someone to stay home and have a stroke or heart attack because they’re afraid of the coronavirus.”

Josh McCoy, senior operations executive officer at Adena Greenfield, said the health system — with facilities in Chillicothe, Greenfield, Hillsboro, Circleville, Waverly, Washington C.H., Piketon, Wellson, Jackson and Oak Hill — has been working for more than a month to prepare for announcements like the one made Thursday, “To take take the best possible care of our communities as we can.”

“We’ve also been fortunate, at least in our communities, that people are upholding their end of the bargain by flattening the curve,” he added.

To remain a viable health care organization, Adena said in a Thursday press release that it is planning to implement temporary furloughs of nonclinical employees and other caregivers who are not providing direct frontline care of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly one-third of Adena’s workforce of more than 3,000 are being impacted by some measure of cost savings. That includes approximately 500 employees who will be temporarily furloughed.

“This is a temporary furlough, not a layoff, meaning caregivers will be able to return to their current position, and will keep their health benefits throughout the period in which they are on furlough,” said Adena President and CEO Jeff Graham. “… I want to be clear that Adena will maintain full support of our frontline positions, and this will not impact those areas that provide direct patient care.”

In Greenfield, McCoy said one of the challenges facing the hospital is maintaining enough personnel protection equipment (PPE) like masks, goggles, gloves and gowns.

“We have enough on hand to meet the needs we have today, but we also want to make sure we have enough if a surge hits,” he said. “We continue to work on that daily.”

As a precaution against the new coronavirus, McCoy said the Greenfield facility had to completely revamp how it takes care of patients. He said it has limited office visits to limit nurse and staff exposure, is checking the temperature of anyone that enters the building, phlebotomists are taking patients’ blood while the patients are in their vehicle, staff is communicating with patients in ways other than person-to-person, work shifts have been adjusted, and more.

“Help is available, we’re just doing it in a different way,” he said.

If someone that regularly visits the Greenfield facility has COVID-19 symptoms, McCoy said they are being sent directly to a testing center in Chillicothe.

Mizer said a floor at the Chillicothe hospital has been designated specially for those with COVID-19, or those expected to have it.

For mild cases of the virus, Mizer said people should quarantine themselves at home.

If someone feels they might have been exposed to the virus or is uneasy about their medical condition, McCoy said they can call an Adena hotline at 740-542-7233 and screening can be done over the phone.

He said he’d like everyone to know Adena’s Greenfield facility is taking every precaution it can to keep the community safe.

“The best way to squelch the virus is to stay home and not spread it from person to person,” Mizer said. “Wear a mask, observe social distancing, wash your hands, cover your cough.”

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

Greenfield hospital adjusting to keep community safe

By Jeff Gilliland