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Medical Group establishes drive-through health screening

Medical Group COVID-19 testing

Staff Sgt. Stephanie Laubach, a 96th Medical Group medical technician, takes a patient’s vital signs car-side at the hospital’s new drive-through health screening March 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Since beginning the new procedure, the staff average 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Medical Group COVID-19 testing

Senior Airman Aramid Cejudo (left) and Staff Sgt. Stephanie Laubach, 96th Medical Group medical technicians, prepare for a drive-through health screening at the hospital’s March 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Since beginning the new procedure, the staff average 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Medical Group COVID-19 testing

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephanie Laubach, a 96th Medical Group medical technician, and Maj. Nicole Tafuri, a 96th Medical Group resident physician, laugh with a young patient during a car-side exam at the hospital’s drive-through health screening at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, March 30, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ilka Cole)

Medical Group COVID-19 testing

Staff Sgt. Stephanie Laubach, 96th Medical Group, dons personal protective equipment at the hospital’s new drive-through health screening March 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Since beginning the new procedure, the staff average 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Medical Group COVID-19 testing

The 96th Medical Group’s Staff Sgt. Stephanie Laubach, a medical technician and Maj. Nicole Tafuri, a resident physician, take a patient’s vital signs car-side at the hospital’s new drive-through health screening March 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Since beginning the new procedure, the staff average 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Medical Group COVID-19 testing

Senior Airman Whitney Eckstein, a 96th Medical Group med tech, ties Staff Sgt. Stephanie Laubach’s gown at the hospital’s new drive-through health screening March 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Since beginning the new procedure, the staff average 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Medical Group COVID-19 testing

Major Nicole Tafuri, 96th Medical Group resident physician, performs a car-side patient exam at the hospital’s new drive-through health screening March 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Since beginning the new procedure, the staff average 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Medical Group COVID-19 testing

A grateful individual placed a “HEROS WORK HERE” sign at the 96th Medical Group March 29 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 96th Medical Group recently established a new drive-through screening process to combat the spread of COVID-19. The process keeps patients potentially infected with COVID-19 separated from other patients using the hospital.

The drive-through health screening process provides a car-side assessment of patients directed to the hospital after an over-the-phone assessment by a nurse.

“We want to see our patients in the safest manner possible, and we feel this is the safest way to do that. It is working out really well.” said Dr. Jeffrey Schievenin, 96th Medical Group faculty physician.

Before patients arrive for their appointment, resident physicians receive a notification with the patient's symptoms and begin a review of their medical records and gather clinical opinions to devise a care plan.

“By the time the patient gets here, we pretty much know what we are going to do,” said  Schievenin.

Teams of two meet the patient car-side for a physical evaluation. First, medical technicians roll out the blood pressure monitors to take vital signs, and then, a resident physician evaluates the patient. Meanwhile, staff-physicians are close by to oversee medical and testing decisions.

Patients get care, in the same manner they would in the clinic. If antibiotics are necessary, they receive treatment. Some patients receive cold packs made up of Tylenol, guaifenesin, Claritin, or Sudafed.

“If a patient needs medication, the docs here will call in the prescription and activate it on the patient’s behalf. We also have runners that pick up the medication and deliver it to the patient,” said Capt. (Dr.) Julie Creech, a resident physician with the 96th MDG.

The drive-through can screen for COVID-19, influenza, and strep throat if necessary. They also have respiratory panels to tests for various other viruses.

Anyone tested for a respiratory panel, influenza, or COVID-19 is automatically booked a virtual or telephone appointment within 72 hours to ensure patients receive the results as soon as possible to update their plan of care, said Creech.

All patients tested for COVID-19 are placed on a 14-day quarantine according to Schievenin.

Since the medical group began the new outdoor screening process, they see an average of 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64 with the process currently in place. If they experience a rush of patients, they can see up to 128 by adding a few more teams of residents.

"We are expecting a surge, but hope it does not come," said Schievenin.

Inside, other health care providers host virtual office visits with their patients.

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