Another positive development from the pandemic is that we’ve seen fewer people using the emergency room for non-emergency care. Some health issues are appropriate for ER visits, but others are better addressed via telehealth, urgent care or clinic visits. Better utilization of healthcare resources for the right problems is another good outcome of this pandemic. It increases access to care for everyone.
Yet another positive development from COVID is increased coordination and collaboration in Clark County’s healthcare and public health community. We’ve had thoughtful, constructive conversations and collaborations between Legacy Health, PeaceHealth, The Vancouver Clinic and Clark County Public Health. Together, we’re doing everything we can to support our community. In terms of relationships, we’ve built infrastructure to work collaboratively on public health issues.
Very early in the pandemic, as far back as March, we’ve been meeting almost weekly as a group to check in with each other to discuss these kinds of issues: What are you seeing on the ground? What are your visitor policies? How are you testing? What are the providers seeing in the public? This gives us a good perspective. It’s been invaluable to have that conversation.
Going forward, I see this group of community healthcare leaders continuing to meet to discuss ongoing and potential issues. This has been a great example on how we can work together on common challenges so we can all better serve our growing community. We will continue once COVID is finally behind us. This collaboration will serve all of us in Clark County—today and tomorrow.
In 2020, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center learned invaluable lessons dealing with the pandemic. As difficult as 2020 was, I believe that 2021 will be brighter and the learnings from this past year will accelerate our journey towards our goal of being the safest place to receive and deliver care for our community.