SCHC Service Updates During COVID-19

Sunshine Community Health Center (SCHC) is working to deliver the best care possible and to provide accurate health information for our patients and the community during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the situation develops, information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services changes daily and we will continue to provide updates about SCHC services as we have them.

The safety and well-being of our patients and staff continue to be our primary concern. We are monitoring the status of COVID-19 nationally and within our community and will keep you up to date regarding changes to SCHC services and operations.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns by phone at (907) 733-2273 or through our patient portal and we will respond as soon as we can.

 

HOURS OF OPERATION

Both offices (Talkeetna and Willow) will remain open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM by appointment only. The Talkeetna office will be closed on Saturdays.

All patients and visitors should call in advance or schedule an appointment through the patient portal. We cannot accept walk-in appointments at this time. 

ADDITIONAL SCREENING AT SCHC FACILITIES

Sunshine Community Health Center (SCHC) is taking precautions to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and employees alike. To suppress the spread of Covid-19, all employees, patients, and visitors entering the SCHC facilities will be screened by a series of questions and undergo a temperature reading. The result of the screening will determine further triage and appropriate treatment.

MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS

Office-based appointments are continuing by appointment with additional screening to ensure the safety of patients, visitors, and employees. Medicare and most private insurance companies have temporarily expanded coverage of telehealth services to respond to COVID-19. SCHC does offer telehealth via Zoom on a case by case basis. We are doing our best to reduce the risk of exposure and will offer three options for your visit: in-person, by video, or by phone call. If an in-person visit is best, we will ask additional questions and provide temperature screening upon entering the facility to determine further triage and appropriate treatment. Rest assured, we will take care of you and your needs, based on each individual circumstance. 

TELEMEDICINE

TeleMedicine Information and Resources

SCHC continues to offer many services through Telemedicine. This service allows you to have an office visit via phone or video rather than in-person. It is very similar to FaceTime, Skype, Google Video, or whatever you may already use for video calls with friends and family. The main difference is that the Zoom platform is an easy to use, secure video system for medical appointments available to you at no cost.

Equipment you need for a telemedicine visit:

One of the following digital devices:

  • Desktop PC
  • Laptop Computer
  • Smartphone
  • Tablet
  • Microphone (if not already included in the mobile device or computer)
  • Webcam (If not already included in the mobile device or computer)
  • Strong internet connection

Click the links below to view instructions for connecting to a Zoom visit: 

DENTAL APPOINTMENTS

In support of national efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we are following directives from the CDC to limit patient and staff exposure to this virus. Your health, and the health of our dedicated staff, matters to us.

The dental team is still seeing patients that have a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to the appointment. Testing can be scheduled with our labs or at a facility in the lower valley. Most insurance carriers will cover this testing but patients are encouraged to check coverage eligibility prior to receiving the test. Should a patient receive a positive COVID-19 result, their dental appointment will be canceled and they will need to follow CDC guidelines to self-quarantine. After the quarantine, they should be tested again with a negative result before dental care can resume.

Most hygiene appointments do not require COVID-19 testing to be done in advance unless it is for scaling and root planing. If you have questions about dental’s workflows during this time please reach out.

Of course, if you have a dental emergency or need immediate care please call us right away for guidance on the best care plan for you.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH APPOINTMENTS

Patients receiving Behavioral Health services can participate in their visits from home through the easy to use video conferencing software, Zoom, via computer or smartphone.

Individual Appointments - Behavioral Health patients will receive a phone call at least two days prior to their scheduled appointment with more information.

Groups - If you attend a recovery group at SCHC, we are creating group video calls and you will be contacted with details.  If your providers determine that you need to visit the clinic for the medical portion of your group, we will help you with those arrangements.

New Patients - If you are a patient that is not currently receiving Behavioral Health services but would like to, please contact us so we can determine if starting care via telehealth is the right fit for you.

For parents – Find a Parenting in a Pandemic video with ten tips to decrease stress and soothe the nervous system for parents by clicking here.

To help manage stress click these links for resources:

This pandemic affects people in different ways. If you need support managing difficult emotions due to COVID-19 our Behavioral Health staff are here to help, call (907) 733-9263.

PRESCRIPTION RENEWALS

Prescription renewals for existing SCHC patients can be completed by phone on a case by case basis. Please call SCHC or send a message via the patient portal if you need your prescription refilled.

DISPENSARY SERVICE

Existing SCHC patients who receive medications from Geneva Woods or Three Bears Pharmacies can continue to pick up medications at Sunshine. All items will be delivered curbside.

To limit traffic within SCHC facilities and help adhere to social distancing guidelines please call ahead to coordinate your medication pick-up. 

Patients with new prescriptions or who use outside pharmacies should contact them directly to arrange pick-up or delivery options 

During this time, you may also want to contact your prescription insurance provider to see if they’ve temporarily waived certain requirements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 — like waiving prescription refill limits or relaxing restrictions on home or mail delivery of prescription drugs. 

LAB REVIEWS

Lab reviews will be completed by phone. SCHC representatives are making contact with patients by phone and via the patient portal.

LAB TESTING

We are communicating with our federal and state partners about COVID-19 testing and can test patients that meet the screening criteria. If you think you may have the flu, COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms please review these resources from the CDC for home-care.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/10Things.pdf
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html

COVID-19 Testing 

SCHC is following guidelines from the CDC and State of Alaska DHSS. Testing criteria for COVID-19 has expanded. Currently, anyone who has symptoms is encouraged to get tested. Symptoms include: cough, chills, difficulty breathing, diminished sense of taste or smell, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, headache, muscle/joint aches, nausea, rash, chills with shivering, runny nose, sore throat, or increased sputum (phlegm) productionCOVID-19 testing is available at the Willow clinic by appointment only. Tests are performed curbside to prevent viral exposure within the facility.  

CONTACTING THE BILLING DEPARTMENT

Our billing staff is currently working offsite. In order to best accommodate our patients, we are available via portal account messaging or by phone: 907-733-4611. In order to reach a billing specialist, you MUST dial 907 and call this direct line. Thank you for your patience with our staff during the Public Health Emergency.

Click here for a video overview on how to send messages in the patient portal.

Dr. Joe McLaughlin, State of Alaska DHSS Chief of Epidemiology

Listen to Dr. McLaughlin answer frequently asked questions on various COVID-19 related topics.