The Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccination has been paused for distribution and administration. This is due to an abundance of caution as 6 cases of rare blood clots have been reported. So far, over 7 million doses have been administered nationwide, making this a rare event. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will be meeting today and this week to evaluate these cases and ensure the vaccine continues to be safe.
Heritage Health has not received or administered the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in its operations in Kootenai County or Shoshone County. Patients and community members who have received COVID vaccination with Heritage Health have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination thus far.
If you have received any COVID vaccination and feel you have had an adverse reaction, contact your Primary Care Provider or the vaccine provider at any time after vaccination.
Heritage Health is offering the coronavirus vaccine to our patients who are 65 years and over at our clinics in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Rathdrum, and Kellogg. The Kellogg clinic is offering drive-through vaccinations. Call (208) 620-5250 to get on the vaccine waiting list.
Heritage Health is requiring its patients to wear a mask or a face covering to their medical, dental, Family Support Services, and Restored Paths appointments.
This new requirement is to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, following an influx of new cases across the region, said Dr. Peter Purrington, Heritage Health’s Chief Clinical Officer. “The surge of COVID-19 cases here has prompted this step,” said Dr. Purrington. “If a person doesn’t feel comfortable wearing a mask or they’re not able to wear a mask, we have telehealth appointments available for them.”
Telehealth allows a patient to receive care via the phone, handheld device, or personal computer. Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The Centers for Disease Control recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The most important part about wearing a mask or a face covering is to cover the nose and mouth, and there is no need for extra filtration either.
All Heritage Health employees are wearing masks and exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between each appointment. “We’re taking every step to protect the community,” said Purrington. “Together, we will get through this public health crisis.”
Funds will supply health centers, including Heritage Health, with personal protective equipment for frontline staff
An important truckload of personal protective equipment arrived at Heritage Health Wednesday afternoon.
The special delivery was made possible by the Idaho Primary Care Association thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Cambia Health Foundation.
“We are grateful to the Cambia Health Foundation and the Idaho Primary Care Association for this lifesaving gift,” said Mike Baker, Heritage Health CEO. “Unfortunately, the battle against COVID-19 isn’t over yet and this personal protective equipment is in short supply across the country.”
Cambia Health Foundation awarded the grant for $200,000 to the Idaho Primary Care Association (IPCA) as part of the Community Health Center Crisis Response and Recovery Initiative. IPCA received a donation of 20,000 medical gloves and 120 N95 masks from the Idaho Chinese Organization (ICO) and 100,000 surgical masks.
The IPCA, the association group for Idaho’s health centers, will support all 14 health centers in 52 communities across the state by delivering the PPE provided by Cambia Health Foundation. The grant facilitation from the IPCA will help meet the immediate recovery needs of those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Community health centers have a vital role in the fight against COVID-19,” said Yvonne Ketchum-Ward, CEO of the Idaho Primary Care Association. “Health Centers serve 1 out of 9 Idahoans, both in the rural and urban centers of the state. The funding to the health centers will protect caregivers and their patients as they reach out to populations who may otherwise go without care.”
The IPCA will be delivering the PPE to all Idaho’s health center sites to raise awareness of the role health centers have in the fight against COVID- 19 and the importance of protecting the health center frontline staff.
“Community Health Centers accept all patients; they always have and always will,” said Ketchum-Ward. “They have a long-standing history of creating social and physical environments that promote good health for everyone. By protecting our health center heroes during this time, we can support their mission of keeping Idaho’s communities safe.”
The Cambia Health Foundation’s $200,000 award to Idaho’s Health Centers is part of a larger $3 million investment to meet critical and emerging needs fueled by COVID-19. Building on an existing commitment of $300,000 into shared COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funds, the Foundation’s recent grants will infuse capital into four community health associations that support the work of Community Health Centers across ID, OR, UT and WA. The new funding also supports the development of tools and resources for health care providers on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Idaho Primary Care Association (IPCA) has been the leading state advocate for community-based healthcare programs since 1982. The association plays a vital role in educating federal and state policymakers about issues relating to healthcare and the role of community health centers. IPCA provides training and technical assistance to Idaho’s health centers in the areas of health center operations, quality improvement, outreach and enrollment, workforce development, and network management. http://www.idahopca.org/
Dr. Peter Purrington has been appointed as the Chief Clinical Officer for Heritage Health.
Purrington has served as Heritage Health’s Chief Medical Officer since 2018. In this new role, Dr. Purrington, will take a broader view of the organization, leading and directing clinical care across medical, dental, behavioral health, and addiction service lines.
“Dr. Purrington is a proven strategic leader for Heritage Health,” said CEO Mike Baker. “We’ve grown from a humble volunteer clinic into a professionally managed healthcare organization. His new role will be essential to meeting the needs of the community into the future.”
Dr. Purrington will focus on quality and safety initiatives, including the transition to value-based care and building business intelligence solutions that will facilitate and support clinical care.
“I am excited about my new role with Heritage Health,” said Purrington. “My focus is about improving our care for patients and making sure our staff is functioning at a high level to meet those needs.”
Dr. Purrington earned his medical degree from George Washington University and is board-certified in Family Medicine and Healthcare Quality Management. He has also earned a Masters in Business Administration through the University of Maryland.
In addition, Anthony Rehil-Crest, MD, MPH has been named the Vice President of Medical Services.
Dr. Rehil-Crest will be responsible for guiding and directing clinical care in Heritage Health’s four medical offices, supporting over 45 providers in primary care, psychiatry, and Post-acute care.
“Since I started as a medical provider with Heritage Health over 5 years ago, I have been amazed at how quickly we have become such a large and important part of the medical community in Northern Idaho,” said Rehil-Crest. “I’m excited to be part of the team that leads our talented group of medical providers. I hope to continue to prepare providers for future challenges so that they can focus on the care of their patients and families. I’m looking forward to watching Heritage Health continue to grow and continue to be the clinic that our community looks to for compassionate and quality care.”
He will continue seeing his current patients in the main Coeur d’Alene office.
“Dr. Rehil-Crest is beloved by his patients and known for his compassionate care,” said Dr. Peter Purrington, Chief Clinical Officer. “He has been a role model for our providers. We’re excited to expand his leadership to our other clinics.”
Rehil-Crest is a graduate of New York Medical College and earned his Masters in Public Health through the University of Washington. He completed his residency at the University of Utah Hospital and Clinics. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and has been with Heritage Health as the Associate Medical Director of the Coeur d’Alene office since 2014.
Heritage Health is now offering telehealth for its medical, behavioral health and psychiatric patients in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
This new option will allow Heritage Health’s 30,000 patients to address medical problems, both ongoing and new, says Heritage Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Purrington.
“This gives health care providers a vital tool to help our patients,” says Purrington. “It will help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and lessen the burden on our community’s health care systems. Patients concerned about having the coronavirus could speak with their doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner virtually to learn about testing and what they should do next.”
Using telehealth, patients can consult with a medical professional via phone and/or computer.
Telehealth also gives patients with ongoing issues a mechanism to see their provider from the comfort of their own home. For example, a patient with diabetes wouldn’t have to postpone a regular follow-up visit with their provider. The patient could communicate with their provider via the phone or with many video platforms, such as Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp.
Medicare officials said on Tuesday that it will expand coverage for telemedicine across the country to help seniors with health problems stay at home to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
Previously, Medicare patients were limited in their coverage when they used telehealth and would previously only receive coverage for routine services in certain circumstances, such as if they lived in a remote location. But the federal government said that Medicare would temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services to its patients including mental health counseling, common office visits, and preventative health screenings.
Patients using telehealth are normally required to fill out waivers before accessing telehealth, but those waivers can be done verbally and documented during your telehealth visit.
“Your medical information will continue to be confidential,” said Purrington. “We want our patients and families to be confident that they can use telehealth as a trusted resource to communicate with their medical or behavioral health provider.”
In an effort to reduce the burden of calls on Healthcare Facilities, Panhandle Health has coordinated an Information Hotline to address any and all questions/concerns.
Coronavirus Disease COVID-19
Q. What are coronaviruses?
A: Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. They are a respiratory virus named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. We are currently aware of seven different types of human coronaviruses, four of which are associated with mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Other types of the virus include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, (MERS) and Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), which is responsible for the latest outbreak. Although COVID-19 is similar to the other types of coronaviruses, it is unique in many ways and we are still learning more each day.
Q. How do you get infected with COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 is spread by close person-to-person contact from droplets from a cough or sneeze, which can get into your mouth, nose, or lungs. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet of another person. There aren’t many cases in the U.S., so the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.
Q. How do I know if I have COVID-19?
A: If you were recently exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have been in a place where an outbreak has occurred within the last two weeks the following symptoms could indicate you have contracted COVID-19: - fever; - cough; or - shortness of breath. Unless your symptoms are severe, it is recommended you call your healthcare provider first before entering a healthcare facility. When speaking with a healthcare provider in-person or on the phone, be sure to note your symptoms, travel history, or if you were exposed to a person diagnosed with the virus.
Q. How severe is this illness?
A: The World Health Organization says 80% of people with COVID-19 have a mild form of the illness with cold- or flulike symptoms. The people most likely to get seriously ill from this virus are people over 60 and/or those with pre-existing health conditions. It is estimated that for every 100 cases of COVID-19, between two and four people would die. This is very different from a coronavirus like SARS, where nearly ten in 100 sick people died from the illness.
Q. I see people wearing masks, should I be doing that?
A: Health officials in the U.S. do not recommend the use of masks among people not showing symptoms of COVID-19. People in places where spread is more likely, may have been instructed to wear masks to prevent infecting others and to possibly prevent getting ill from close contact in crowded places.
Q. What can I do to prevent getting sick from COVID-19?
A: The following tips will help to prevent COVID-19 as well as other respiratory viruses: • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are showing symptoms of illness.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Cover your cough or sneezes with a tissue or sneeze into your elbow. Throw the tissue in the garbage and make sure to clean your hands afterwards.