Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – The Commanding General for 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, Maj. Gen. Brian Winski, visited Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 for a first-hand look at the hospital’s preparations to respond to the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic.
The hospital established a drive-up clinic outside the hospital for patients with appointments and referred by the Nurse Advice Line or BACH’s Appointment Line. During this screening process, medical staff may conduct additional screening to determine if a test is necessary. Once a test for coronavirus (COVID-19) is administered, it is sent out for processing and patients with mild symptoms are advised to self-quarantine at home while awaiting test results.
The hospital commander shared with Maj. Gen. Winski that the hospital began cancelling non-urgent outpatient appointments to be rescheduled at a later date in order to continue to protect patients from possible exposure and free-up medical personnel to screen and care for potential coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.
“By rescheduling routine appointments, we will decrease the amount of traffic through our medical services and reduce exposure of patients exhibiting COVID-19 or other disease symptoms to our beneficiaries,” said Col. Patrick T. Birchfield, hospital commander. “This will also allow our healthcare team time to care for urgent medical needs and make preparations to care for potential COVID-19 patients.”
BACH is moving all non-COVID-19 related primary care appointments from the hospital to the outlying Byrd Medical Home and Screaming Eagle Medical Home beginning Friday, March 27th. The general was shown a portion of the primary care clinic space in the hospital that has been converted to coronavirus (COVID-19) clinic space.
It is accessible from the drive-up clinic and separated from the main hospital. There, healthcare providers can perform additional screening of patients under investigation away from the general population to prevent the spread of illness.
Next the general visited a newly established branch of the hospital’s appointment line center that is operating seven days a week in addition to the Nurse Advice Line to answer calls from concerned beneficiaries. The COVID Triage Center is occupied with BACH medical staff who communicate with beneficiaries by telephone and TRICARE® Online Patient Portal Secure Messaging to respond to the increased volume of calls and messages from beneficiaries.
Lastly, Maj. Gen. Winski toured an inpatient ward to see how BACH would support coronavirus (COVID-19) patients requiring admission and ventilator care. He spoke with medical providers to get a feel for their capabilities and to see how he could support the hospital as its staff assists in the nation’s attempts to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Other measures the hospital has taken includes transitioning pharmacy services to pick-up and drop-off only in order to reduce the wait time with pharmacies and limit the number of beneficiaries in the space at one time. The hospital now requires patients and staff to answer a short medical screening and use hand sanitizer before entering the facility.
For the safety of patients and staff, BACH changed its visitor policy to reduce the amount of people coming through the hospital.
“We continue to assess the situation daily and will implement the measures necessary to preserve the force and serve our beneficiaries during this unprecedented time,” Birchfield stated.
BACH provides health service support to prevent, detect, and treat COVID-19 TRICARE beneficiaries in the Fort Campbell area in order to protect the population and preserve readiness.
Beneficiaries can learn more about coronavirus (COVID-19)9 by visiting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov