Prowers Medical Center Board Gets COVID Update, Discuss Opioid Treatment Program

Prowers Medical Center


Prowers Medical Center staff continue to evaluate and adjust their responses to the pandemic scenario in the county and those measures were among the agenda topics during the board of director’s meeting on Wednesday, July 22nd.

The COVID-19 Community Testing Protocol and Preparedness Plan was presented to the board for approval by PMC Quality Director, Margaret White, RN., who stated various medical organizations, including the Center for Disease Control, require hospitals to have a plan of this nature which she termed a ‘living document’ because of its flexibility. “We learn new things almost every day from this virus. This plan covers the impact for the hospital, clinic, staff, patients and visitors,” she stated.

Prowers Medical Center is using the east side of the ambulance garage as the location for the Community Testing Site with hours of operation from 8am to 10am every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The hospital will provide testing for up to a maximum of 20 patients per day and the patients will have to be scheduled for testing through the Prowers County Public Health and Environment Department. They cannot simply drive up to the site and request a test. Patients will have an order from their primary care provider or a ‘standing order’ to be seen.

The staff will inform the patients who will be tested that they should stay home and away from public areas and others until they are contacted with their test results. On that note, the hospital board discussed approval for the purchase of a Biofire Filmarray torch system. The device informs of molecular infectious disease diagnostics and will provide quick, comprehensive, and accurate results. Prowers Medical Center will implement the Respiratory Panel first which tests for 22 different viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19. This will allow for better patient management and PPE preservation due to the quicker turnaround time. With an increase demand throughout the country, delivery of the analyzer and completion of the implementation process could take up to 3 months to complete. At present a patient usually gets their COVID-19 test results in six days.

Margaret Loewen, MD and Leslie Day, RN, manager of the hospital’s ER, discussed the need for Medication Assisted Treatment in Prowers County. Loewen cited statistics showing there were nine deaths in the county between 2000-2019 that resulted from opioid use disorder, OUD, what was commonly known as narcotics addiction. She and Day provided research that shows that for every death, there are on average 130 people struggling with the disease. Stretched out, it shows that 1,170 persons in Prowers County have had to deal with OUD for the past 19 years.

Both providers stated that neuroscience research helps to understand the disease from a chemical perspective and the development of Suboxone to treat the chemical imbalance from the disease is currently available. Dr. Loewen added the public needs to see the disease not as a moral failing, but an out of balance reward system. She said the stigma attached to the disease hampers proper treatment. She added that counseling has been found to be less important than the chemical contribution from Suboxone for successful treatment, although both are needed to be effective. She advised the board that MAT should be offered by the hospital to serve those in need.

They stated this will not be a drug treatment with people lined up at a door, but the process can start with treatment and a next day referral for the patient where they can find additional help. They said they are working with the Crossroads group to begin a training program for local medical staff and a specialist nurse will be in Lamar to conduct a three day workshop for those staff involved in the treatment.

In other matters, the hospital has been contacted by Lamar Parks and Recreation for use of the hospital’s walk trail to develop an additional nine holes for the public frisbee golf program at Willow Creek Park.

By Russ Baldwin





Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesFeaturedHealthHot TopicsMedia ReleasePublic Safety


About the Author: