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.

 

 

 

 

Updated April 1, 2020

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. 

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. Going forward:

  • All non-emergency dental care is suspended for four weeks.
  • Patients will only be seen for urgent and emergency dental needs.

If you are already scheduled for an urgent issue, we will contact you before your appointment to discuss your health status, health screening protocols and confirm whether the appointment should be kept. Patients with routine hygiene appointments will also be contacted for rescheduling but expect the wait to last at least 4 weeks.

Dental care you can schedule for another time:
• Regular visits for exams, cleanings, and x-rays
• Regular visits for braces
• Removal of teeth that aren’t painful
• Treatment of cavities that aren’t painful
• Tooth whitening

Dental care that you can have taken care of by a dentist at this time:
• Bleeding that doesn’t stop
• Painful swelling in or around your mouth
• Pain in a tooth, teeth or jaw bone
• Gum infection with pain or swelling
• After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
• Broken or knocked-out tooth
• Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
• Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your cheek or gums
• Biopsy of abnormal tissue

Of course, please call us right away if you have a dental emergency or need immediate care. 

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 soon 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.

Click here for information about managing stress during this event.

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 currently use our medication dispensary can pick up medications as usual.  Patients with new prescriptions or who use outside pharmacies should contact them directly to arrange pick-up or delivery options.

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

SCHC can test for Influenza. We are communicating with our federal and state partners about COVID-19 testing. At this time test kits and supplies are not available. 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

CONTACTING BILLING/ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

SCHC’s billing department and most of our administrative staff have transitioned to working from home during COVID-19. The best way to reach billing or administrative staff at this time is through the patient portal messaging feature. Click here for a video overview on how to send messages in the patient portal.

If you are unable to use this feature, you can still call the billing extension at (907) 733-4611 and leave a message. A billing department representative will return your message. Thank you for your patience as we work to improve communications while following State and Federal guidelines to social distance.

DR. HIGHTOWER, SCHC CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER

Listen to an interview with KTNA and Dr. Hightower, Chief Medical Officer at Sunshine on March 20, 2020.

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

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