With stay-at-home orders and the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergency room (ER) at Mercy Hospital Springfield isn’t nearly as busy as usual. That’s good news – but doctors say you should still come in if you need emergency care.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had instances where people have waited at home a little too long before they came to see us,” said Dr. Mark Griesemer, medical director for the ER at Mercy Hospital Springfield. “We understand they don’t want to unnecessarily expose themselves to germs in the waiting room, but time matters when it comes to many serious conditions.”
COVID-19 concerns led Mercy to set up a “forward triage” at both its Springfield and Lebanon emergency rooms. Patients are quickly assessed and those with potential COVID-19 symptoms are immediately masked and separated from others.
Non-emergency care needs to continue as well, including well-child checkups. “The American Academy of Pediatrics is still recommending kids come in for their routine vaccinations,” said Dr. John Burson, pediatrician and vice president of Women and Children’s Services at Mercy Springfield. “We know those strengthen their immune systems, and that’s what they need at this time especially.”
Mercy Kids’ clinic offices are scheduling well-children visits in the morning and seeing kids with illness in the afternoon. They’ve adjusted scheduling to enable families to come straight to an exam room, eliminating the need to sit in a waiting area.
For adults with chronic or new conditions, Mercy clinics are offering both video and telephone doctor’s visits, so don’t hesitate to reach out, even if you’re worried about visiting a clinic. There may not be a need for you to come in person. Even if there is, Mercy has safeguards in place.
“Remember that everyone – from our co-workers to our patients – are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms the moment they arrive at our door,” said Dr. Jennifer McNay, president of Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities. “If they have symptoms, we will mask them. Our co-workers are all masked, and we’ve limited visitors. The bottom line is to reach out if you need us. We’re still here to help.”
Mercy patients with a MyMercy account can reach out through the app to contact their provider’s office. The office will let you know whether your visit should be by phone, video or in person. If you don’t have a MyMercy account, sign up online.
For urgent, but non-emergency care, Mercy-GoHealth Urgent Care locations across Springfield are still open. You can go online to reserve your time to be seen, walk in and get care immediately – or choose a video visit for some conditions.