NIHD urges skipping the lab draw line in favor of appointments

As of Monday, Nov. 23, lab draws at Northern Inyo Hospital’s outpatient lab services now require an appointment. The move is not intended to inconvenience those who like to drop-in after seeing their healthcare providers. Instead, it is designed to strengthen social distancing practices and keep patients safe as the nation witnesses the third wave of COVID-19 spread.

“Appointments allow for a safe flow of patients in and out of our waiting room. It also gives our staff time to safely prepare for each patient’s arrival,” said Kelli Davis, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Northern Inyo Healthcare District. “Above all, appointments allow us to give each patient the time and attention they deserve.”

Northern Inyo Healthcare District Lab Assistant Shawn Williams prepares for a scheduled lab draw visit from a patient. NIHD urges lab patients to make appointments for their lab work rather than walking-in as the planned visits are helping the hospital meet social distancing requirements, and keeping patients safe. Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo Healthcare District

Larry Weber, NIHD’s Diagnostic Services Director, added that the rhythm of regular appointments allows his staff to work at a less-harried pace and will ease the strain on those already stretched thin with additional COVID-related duties.

Patients can make appointments in just a few easy steps: Simply call the hospital at (760) 873-5811 and request a lab appointment. The registration team will ask a few essential questions and book the most convenient time for the patient. Admissions Services Director Tanya DeLeo said there are often same-day lab slots available and urges patients to ask about availability.

Referring providers are also welcome to assist by collecting specimens themselves or asking staff to book for the patients during their office appointments.

Any walk-in patients will be scheduled for the first available appointment. Please note this does not always assure same-day service.

The health and safety of patients is always a top priority for NIHD, said Davis. In the nine months since the start of the pandemic, NIHD has expanded its policies and procedures to protect patients, staff, and visitors. These measures included enhanced cleaning and sanitation, including the use of the Clorox Total 360° Electrostatic Sprayer, generously donated by the NIH Foundation, and promoting universal mask use, temperature screenings for staff and visitors, social distancing, and visitor restrictions.

About Northern Inyo Healthcare District: Founded in 1946, Northern Inyo Healthcare District features a 25-bed critical access hospital, a 24-hour emergency department, a primary care rural health clinic, a diagnostic imaging center, and clinics specializing in women’s health, orthopedics, internal medicine, pediatrics and allergies, general surgery, colorectal surgery, breast cancer surgery and urology. Continually striving to improve the health outcomes of those who rely on its services, Northern Inyo Healthcare District aims to improve our communities one life at a time. One team, one goal, your health.

 

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