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Bozeman Health Enhances Visitor Restrictions and Social Distancing Practices, and Postpones Planned Events to Assist in Proactive Containment of COVID-19

Corporate news | Friday, March 13, 2020

Contact: Lauren Brendel, M.S.

Bozeman, MT [March 13, 2020] — Ensuring the health, wellness, and safety of our community and the Bozeman Health workforce is essential to continuing the clinical care and expertise required by our mission and those we serve as we work to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to be good stewards of the resources necessary to provide safe patient care, on March 12 Bozeman Health implemented the following social distancing practices:

  • All work-related travel and scheduled conferences and trainings for Bozeman Health employees is restricted effective immediately for the foreseeable future. This does not include travel between Bozeman Heath care sites.
  • All Bozeman Health employees have been encouraged to reconsider personal travel plans in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • All non-essential meetings, trainings, and events will be postponed, rescheduled using teleconference capabilities, or cancelled for the foreseeable future.
    • Bozeman Health’s Wellness Nights, originally planned for March 25 and April 2, will now take place in late September.
    • Bozeman Health Foundation’s An Evening Under the Stars Hospitality fundraising gala and auction was scheduled for April 25. This annual gathering of more than 500 supporters will now take place in either October or November, with a continued focus on raising charitable support for expanded behavioral health services.

Bozeman Health providers, nurses, employees, and leaders are critical to the community effort to identify and safely care for patients, track and analyze the spread of disease, and update established protocols and procedures to protect our workforce and patients from exposure to COVID-19. Bozeman Health’s Emergency Preparedness Plan and Incident Command remains in effect and we are well-prepared to care for any patient.

Visitor restrictions have been in effect since January 13, 2020 due to influenza and have been enhanced for Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, Big Sky Medical Center, Hillcrest Senior Living and ambulatory care sites in light of COVID-19 precautions:

  • People with symptoms of respiratory illness/infection (cough, runny or stuffed nose) or fever, along with children under the age of 18, are prohibited from visiting patients that are hospitalized.
  • Persons of any age who are sick should only come to the hospitals to seek care for themselves.
  • Hospitalized patients are permitted one healthy, asymptomatic visitor at a time as medically necessary, and visitors or companions under the age of 18 are strongly discouraged from visiting.
  • Patients who are confirmed or are under active investigation at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital or Big Sky Medical Center for COVID-19 will not be permitted visitors.
  • No visitors are allowed at Hillcrest Senior Living unless the resident’s health is dependent on hospice, home health, third party services, or other health-related contracted services.
  • If you are sick (fever, cough, or sore throat), please do not visit or accompany a patient to their visit to a clinic, provider office, urgent care or other medical facility unless the patient is a minor, and do not enter the care site or clinic except to seek care for yourself.
  • Only one visitor or companion of a patient may accompany the patient if medically necessary to a doctor or urgent care visit.

Social distancing as defined by the CDC “means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.” Implementing these restrictions and practices are meant to continue to ensure our employees are healthy and able to care for our community as part of our commitment to patient safety and our mission of improving community health and quality of life. Efforts continued to be coordinated with Gallatin County Emergency Preparedness and Gallatin City-County Health Department and Bozeman Health continues to follow CDC and WHO guidelines.

Additionally, b2 VirtualCare, Bozeman Health’s virtual care platform, is temporarily offering no-cost virtual visits to those community members who may be experiencing flu-like symptoms including: fever, dry cough, and fatigue.

We are happy to over this temporary option to address the current public health emergency in support of our community members and only applies to specific symptoms in light of recent guidance from CMS urging Medicare Advantage Organizations and Part D Sponsors to increase access to care services in the wake of COVID-19.

For community members needing to access these services, they can download the b2 VirtualCare app using Google Play or the Apple App Store or by visiting b2virtualcare.com. When accessing the virtual platform, patients must use the promo code FLUBZN2020.

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