COVID-19 Update Q&A with Barry Moss, CEO, Merit Health Central and Merit Health Jackson Market

merit-health-jackson-mississippiBarry Moss, CEO of Merit Health Central and the Merit Health Jackson Market, recently spoke with us here at The Clinton Courier to give an update on COVID-19 and its impact on our hospitals. 

What policies and/or procedures have your facilities adopted to keep staff and patients safe? 

Barry Moss: We are taking extraordinary measures, going above and beyond our normal efforts to keep our hospital clean and safe so you will feel confident and know you are protected. We are screening everyone who comes into the hospital, providing face masks and other personal protective equipment to staff and patients, and rearranging our environments to enable social distancing. Also, our cleaning staff is disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and doing a terrific job of keeping the hospitals clean. 

Is your ER safe for the community to visit? 

merit-health-ceo-barry-mossBarry Moss: Yes, our ER is safe. If you have sudden symptoms that may indicate an emergency health situation you can and should seek immediate medical attention. Tragically, people with serious emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, are waiting too long for medical care. Getting fast medical treatment could be the difference between life and death so please don’t ignore the signs of a health emergency. Call 911, come to the ER, and get the help you need. 

Is it okay for people to have surgery or an elective procedure? 

Barry Moss: Yes it is safe for anyone to have surgery or any other procedure that is recommended by their doctor. Each surgery patient is pre-screened for COVID-19 several days prior to their appointment and they are also screened upon their arrival, along with the person that accompanies them. 

If, for whatever reason, a patient’s loved one is unable to be with the patient for the duration of the stay, how can the family be updated on the patient’s progress? 

Barry Moss: If a family member or care team member is unavailable to stay with the patient, we will accommodate daily phone updates regarding the status of the patient. We can also make arrangements to receive personal toiletries and other belongings to make the patient’s stay as comfortable as possible. 

What about the areas in your hospital other than the ER and the surgery department? 

Barry Moss: We have implemented the same COVID safety precautions in our outpatient diagnostic testing areas as well as the lab, radiology, sleep lab and all other areas of our hospitals. 

What is your visitor policy? 

Barry Moss: As the COVID-19 situation evolves, so does our visitor policy. You can find the current policy by visiting our website: 

Does Merit Health offer COVID-19 testing? 

Barry Moss: We have the ability to test inpatients at our hospital, as well as patients who visit the emergency room. Testing is also available at Merit Health Medical Group on Clinton Parkway. 

Is there a special unit at your hospital for COVID-19 patients? 

Barry Moss: We have red, yellow and green zones within the hospital. A red zone is a COVID zone in which only appropriate personnel with appropriate PPE can enter. A yellow zone indicates a COVID test result is pending for patients in those areas. A green zone is our COVID safe zone. 

What about your clinics? Are they open and safe? 

Barry Moss: Our clinics are taking the same safety precautions as our hospitals. They are open, safe and ready to see you if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness. In addition, many of our doctors offer telehealth visits for those who prefer not to come into the office. 

What is a telehealth visit? 

Barry Moss: Telehealth is a video call or phone call appointment. In some instances this works well for the patient but in most situations, the provider needs to see the patient in person. All of our providers are happy to speak with their patients to determine which type of visit is best for them. Just call 844-MSMERIT (676-3748) to schedule a telehealth visit. 

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