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Kaniksu Health Services begins reopening of all services

| May 27, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Over the past few months, many patients may have missed an important wellness exam, regular diabetes monitoring, dental care, or mental health appointment.

However, as Idaho begins a phased return to normal, Kaniksu Health Services has began a responsible reopening of all of its services, KHS said in a press release. This includes treatment for patients whose care has been postponed.

“[W}e have, and will continue to, follow CDC guidelines and take … precautions to keep both staff and patients safe as they enter the clinics,” Olivia Luther, director of marketing & community relations for Kaniksu Health Services, said.

Precautions that Kaniksu is taking include cleaning and sanitizing exam rooms between each patient, wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment at all times, and all social distancing guidelines will remain in place.

When entering KHS buildings, patients and staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and will have their temperature checked. All patients will be required to wear a mask or cloth face covering, Luther said. In addition, patients can to wait in their vehicles for their appointment or in Kaniku’s waiting rooms, which have been set up for appropriate social distancing.

Luther said the health center’s waiting rooms will be sanitized throughout the day and patients will be screened by phone for COVID-19 symptoms before in-office appointments.

Patients are strongly encouraged to come alone to their appointment to limit the number of people in the office at any one time, Luther said.

Minors or other patients requiring assistance will be allowed one visitor. The visitor will be screened the same as a patient, she said.

The center will continue to expand and phase in services during the next months, with a focus on stringent measures to protect patients, staff and the community from COVID-19, including keeping well and sick patients separated.

As healthcare returns to a new “normal,” Kaniksu Health Services will remain flexible in meeting the needs of patients in the safest way possible, Luther said. KHS officials encourage patients who are uncomfortable coming into a clinic, or are in a high risk category, to call to discuss whether a telehealth appointment is right for them.

“As we enter our phased reopening, we are happy to be able to provide all of our usual services once again,” said John Seaman, M.D., KHS chief medical officer. “We are still concerned about assuring the safety of our staff and patients, even as we open to accommodate all of your usual healthcare needs. To that end, we will continue to implement measures for infection control including the use of appropriate PPE and segregation of sick and well visits. We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we do our best to provide the best possible care in the safest environment we can create.”

As Kaniksu Health moves forward, the health center will continue to adhere to the recommendations put forth by state and national agencies, including the CDC, so that it is up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued, especially during the rapidly changing pandemic.

Kaniksu Health Services is a non-profit, federally qualified community health center that provides high quality, comprehensive and affordable medical, pediatric, dental, behavioral health and veteran care. Clinics located in Bonner or Boundary counties include Kaniksu Bonners Ferry, Kaniksu Ponderay, Kaniksu Priest River, Kaniksu Sandpoint Pediatrics, and Sandpoint Veterans Clinic.

Information: kaniksuhealthservices.org