HMS continues to take action to ensure the health of their patients and employees and provide the best healthcare and responsiveness during this COVID-19 pandemic. Just like every other local, state, and national business, HMS has been impacted in a variety of ways that require daily adjustments to its business practices and care delivery systems. Patient and employee safety have always been a top priority for HMS, and the COVID-19 pandemic did not change that priority; however, it did require HMS to adjust its response based on the new virus behaviors that were being identified by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH). HMS immediately transitioned to delivering telephonic visits and expanded its capabilities to provide televideo services; thus, minimizing the need for patients to come directly into the clinic. Many patients must still have direct face-to-face visits with their providers to address other health conditions, which should not be ignored during this pandemic. These types of visits are decided based on the direction of the patient’s primary care provider.
To date HMS has tested 42 individuals with 39 tests returned as negative, two pending results, and one test was inconclusive. HMS continues to actively test those individuals who are screened necessarily for the test. Screening processes involve a phone call appointment or arrival screening in order to minimize exposure of staff and other patients. When a patient is screened as a potential high-risk exposure, due to clinical symptoms or other factors such as direct contact with a high-risk individual, or travel out-of-country or other high-risk location, the patient is asked to call when they arrive at the clinic, or if screened in person, return to their vehicle to be assessed by an HMS medical provider and nurse and obtain a COVID-19 test if indicated.
Several HMS employees have utilized the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) or Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) or both. A few HMS providers are working from home based on personal high-risk health conditions in order to protect them from unnecessary exposure, as allowed by the state and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), during this COVID-19 crisis. HMS administration has asked 60 non-clinical or non-direct support staff to work from home to protect themselves, other employees, and patients.
According to Dan Otero, HMS CEO, “HMS is taking every possible precaution and approach to continue to provide safe, high-quality care, and excellent customer service during this difficult time. The Board of Directors and Leadership Team are working diligently to minimize any negative impacts to patient care and the jobs of HMS employees, which includes taking advantage of any and all state and federal support programs that are available.”
Due to the ever-changing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, HMS has made some changes to a few of its care delivery sites. HMS has consolidated the number of clinics that are open to reduce their exposure footprint and to maximize the use of their PPE so to provide the highest level of care possible. The following changes have been made: The HMS Ena Mitchell Mental Health clinic, in Lordsburg, has transitioned to services provided via telephonic, televideo or at the main Lordsburg clinic. HMS New Beginnings, their Psychosocial Recovery services, is transitioning to telephonic services. HMS Tranquil Skies Community Mental Health Services, is also transitioning to telephonic or televideo services as of Wednesday, April 8th. The Mining District mobile unit services will stop at the end of business day, this Thursday, April 9th, and will resume in the new Modular Building after the COVID-19 situation. HMS dental services has transitioned to emergency procedures only due to the recommendations of the American Dental Association since many elective procedures create a significant amount of airborne aerosols; thus, increasing the risk for dental staff.
HMS, since 1995, continues to provide all the comprehensive services to residents of Hidalgo and Grant County. Some of these services are just delivered in a different way, or at a different location, as per HMS provider’s instructions. HMS is focused on patient and employee safety. If an individual desires to provide feedback to Dan Otero, CEO of HMS, individuals may contact him directly at 575-590-7090.