Accessing Healthcare Safely 

Our guest, Dean French, MD & CEO of Community Medical Center in Missoula, discussed the challenges of providing medical care beyond COVID 19. Dr.French said the hospital has taken steps to insure the safety of patients, but that medical providers across the state are hearing that patients may be putting od healthcare, even for serious medical conditions, because of fear of corona-virus. He detailed that tel-medicine, video medicine & other ways that patients can be seen by their doctors & included other ways for patients to reach out, including CMC's 24/7 nurse on call service.

Missoula Emergency Services

The Coronavirus crisis has placed a special burden on healthcare workers - especially those on the front lines -- like ambulance crews and EMT's.  Don Whalen, the manager of western Montana's largest ambulance service, Missoula Emergency Services, spoke with Mountain Broadcasting about the incredible efforts of emergency workers in dealing with a pandemic, a frightened population and strained healthcare system.   Whalen noted that despite all the challenges, including covering a large area outside of Missoula with special services, his staff had maintained a positive and professional performance even under duress.   Ambulance crews are often the first ones to see COVID-19 patients who are determined to be too sick to stay home.  And in many situations they go into homes and to accidents not knowing if the people they encounter are infected or not.  It is simply part of the job and they do it well, says Whalen.  MES, Inc. is also looking ahead.  The company has worked for years to train the best EMT's and paramedics in western Montana and now they will continue to teach the next generation through a program they helped design at Missoula College.  The college will accept its first students this fall. In the meantime, MES, Inc is re-certifying medical personnel in special classes that are limited - as a precaution - in size and duration. 

National Health Care Decisions Day

April 16th was National Healthcare Decisions Day, but this year the observance had special significance with a world-wide pandemic of coronavirus leaving many concerned about their own health and the decisions they or their family might have to make.  Mountain Broadcasting News spoke to Matthew Whitaker, from Compassion and Choices, a national healthcare advocacy group, about Advanced Directives:  what they are, when they are needed, who needs one and how can we write one that will give our family confidence and comfort at a difficult time.  Whitaker also spoke about how to have the conversation with family members and stressed that the discussion should be about how we want to live our lives, what our values are and what is most important to us.  He also gave a number of resources that the public can use to understand and write an Advanced Directive. 

Missoula County Public Schools

Rob Watson, superintendent, dived into explaining the Strategic Plan to help improve Missoula County Public schools. The overall goal is to help every child equally, regardless of background. 

 

 

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