On March 13, Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic (BSMC) executive director Alison Gower sat down with BSMC staff to discuss how to continue providing the free medical care that an average of 1,000 residents of the Plateau and outlying counties have come to depend on. Like many nonprofits facing the probability of scarce resources in the coming weeks and months due to COVID-19, the BSMC team was challenged to find ways to provide healthcare within new social distancing confines.
The following Monday morning when the Clinic opened, Alison - with clipboard in hand - was outside in the Clinic’s parking lot greeting patients in their cars and getting information. While Alison fielded requests for prescription refills and took notes on patients’ complaints, office manager Renae Hobbs was inside answering calls from patients who had questions about medical needs and the Coronavirus crisis; when necessary, Renae connected patients to BSMC providers who were available by phone for further assistance. The Clinic has been following social distancing protocols while seeing 10-15 persons per day during regular hours, with that same number receiving assistance over the phone.
“Having as much normalcy in play is important to this community,” Alison explained. “Using safe, available modeling techniques allows us to provide as normal a routine as possible for our patients.” Furthermore, staying in touch with patients creates an important partnership between the Clinic’s medical professionals and the community: accurate information about COVID-19 can be shared with patients and disseminated across the Plateau, and the Clinic can respond to the community’s emerging needs.
Thank you to Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic for its continuing support of the South Cumberland Plateau during this crisis.