Volume 4 | May 2020
Local Health Updates & News You Can Use from
Summit Healthcare Resumes
Elective Surgeries

Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey announced on April 22, 2020 that he will be lifting the ban on elective surgeries effective May 1, 2020 for healthcare facilities that request exemption and are able to meet new requirements for COVID-19 safety and preparedness. The primary reason for delaying elective surgeries was to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the ability to test patients and staff for COVID-19.

In order for Summit Healthcare to begin offering elective surgeries, the following criteria must be met:
  • A continuing supply of PPE for more than 14 days that is not reliant on the state or county health department;
  • Adequate staffing and bed availability;
  • Implement COVID-19 testing of all at-risk healthcare workers and each patient prior to scheduling of an elective non-essential surgery;
  • Implementation of a process to identify, inventory and document the availability of PPE, test collection kits, and the availability of a lab that can run the COVID-19 diagnostic test;
  • Implementation of a universal symptom screening process for all staff, patients, and visitors prior to entry into the facility;
  • Implementation of an enhanced cleaning process for patient and waiting areas;
  • Implementation of policies and procedures for appropriate discharge planning of patients; and
  • Implementation of policies and procedures that prioritize elective, non-essential surgeries based upon urgency following the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Adult Elective Surgery and Procedures Recommendations.

“Summit Healthcare has applied for exemption, meets all of the required criteria and will be starting elective surgeries beginning May 1, 2020. We have over 400 elective surgeries that have been delayed since the Governor’s order was issued on March 19, 2020,” says Ron McArthur, CEO of Summit Healthcare. “We are excited to begin offering elective surgeries again to continue to meet the healthcare needs of our communities.”
Arizona Statewide COVID-19
Testing Blitz
Summit Healthcare is offering drive-through COVID-19 testing to patients who meet the criteria listed below (per the CDC guidelines):
  • Fever of 100.4 or greater
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to wake
  • If you think you may have been exposed and could be infected with COVID-19

Summit Healthcare takes part in the Arizona Statewide Testing Blitz COVID-19 testing is by appointment only.
Call (928)537-6700 to schedule.

COVID-19 testing is covered by most insurance plans. Limited free tests available for uninsured patients, donated by Care1st.

Summit Healthcare Outpatient Pavilion
4951 S White Mountain Blvd | Building A
May 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th & 16th from 8AM - 3PM

Snowflake-Taylor Family Medicine
1121 Main St. Snowflake, AZ 85937
May 16th from 8AM - 1PM

Heber Overgaard Clinic
2352 Quarter Horse Trail, Overgaard, AZ 85933
May 16th from 8AM - 1PM

Mountain Avenue Clinic
606 N. Main St., Eagar, AZ 85925
May 16th from 8AM - 1PM
Common COVID Questions Answered By Dr. Nicholas D. Harrel
Dr. Nicholas D. Harrel is a General Surgeon at Summit Healthcare. He has taken time to breakdown some of the frequently asked questions related to COVID-19. Over the next few weeks, Dr. Harrel will post answers to some of these questions to ensure our communities are educated on what you can do to stay healthy.
“I have been answering COVID-19 questions for patients, friends and family for several weeks. While I am not an infectious disease expert or an epidemiologist, I am a concerned physician and can weed through a lot of the hearsay and speculation.”

Q: Everyone says don’t touch your face. 
What ways can we spread the virus?

A: Covid-19 is currently classified as a respiratory droplet virus. It can be spread through direct contact with infected surfaces or droplets and mucous membranes (eyes, nose and mouth). Droplet transmission occurs when a person is in in close contact (within 1 m) with someone who has respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing or sneezing) and is therefore at risk of having mucous membranes exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets. Transmission may also occur through fomites (surfaces) in the immediate environment around the infected person. Therefore, transmission of the COVID-19 virus can occur by direct contact with infected people and indirect contact with surfaces in the immediate environment or with objects used by the infected person.
Airborne transmission is different from droplet transmission as it refers to the presence of microbes within droplet nuclei, which are generally considered to be particles <5μm in diameter, can remain in the air for long periods of time and be transmitted to others over distances greater than 1 m. This is most common during medical procedures and healthcare providers wear PPE and specialized masks (N95) to help prevent transmission.

There has been only one reported case to the WHO of Covid-19 virus appearing in fecal material and none in the blood. Antibodies have been found in both, but that is not considered a guarantee of a route of viral transmission.

Q: Should I wear a mask or gloves when going out into the community?

A: Gloves stop the direct transmission from a surface to the person, but they do not stop the spread from passing the virus to other surfaces. Frequent hand washing with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds or 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizers (that completely dry) are best. Masks can serve two functions. Certain masks like n95 will stop smaller aerosolized viral particles that healthcare workers might encounter. Regular surgical and cloth masks will stop larger particles. Masks can protect you from other infected people. If you have symptoms you should wear a mask, and even if you don’t have symptoms, you should wear a mask. Covid-19 has been shown to be spread by people who show no symptoms, but are infected. But more importantly, they will act as a constant reminder to not touch our faces. Studies have shown people commonly touch their faces 16 times an hour, that’s almost 400 times a day.

Q: Do I need to wipe down every package or groceries that I come into contact with?

A:  Yes, it’s what we refer to as a best practice. Meaning it has not been scientifically proven, but it makes a lot of sense and the downside is minimal when compared to the possible benefit. The virus can live on different surfaces for different amounts of time. Things that can be left outside for 72 hours will greatly decrease the chance of transmission. Other items like produce can be washed and scrubbed with soap and water for 20-30 seconds. Other packaged items can be wiped down with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol solutions of greater than 60% or diluted bleach solutions. The CDC recommends 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.

For more resources and information on how to stay safe, click here.
Take a Mental Health Minute

May is mental health awareness month and a good time to take a mental inventory and even a screening. To learn more about the four major components to healthy aging and how depression differs as we age, click here to visit our website.
The Easiest Way to Leave Your Legacy

Although many people think of a will as the easiest way to transfer assets after their lifetime, it doesn't cover everything. Learn how retirement plans, IRAs, life insurance, donor advised funds and commercial annuities are not controlled by the terms of your will, but instead use separate beneficiary forms to determine who receives them by clicking here.
Meet Your Cardiology Team
at Summit Outpatient Pavilion