Kaiser Changes Policy Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Private healthcare providers are changing policy amid the COVID-19 outbreak, similar to hospitals.
In light of the situation, Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i announced it is taking the following steps:
Expanding Telehealth and Virtual Care
To allow members to stay at home if they want, and to increase the number of treatable patients, Kaiser Permanente is deploying enhanced technology to support an increased volume of phone and video visits. Allowing people to stay home and still get care will also help address the community spread of COVID-19 and conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns, and gloves, Kaiser said in a press release.
Encouraging Mail-Order Pharmacy
This will help members avoid unnecessary outings. Most prescriptions can be refilled online at kp.org/rxrefill and delivered within a few business days. If a patient needs to visit a Kaiser pharmacy and are experiencing cough, fever, or respiratory symptoms, that patient is encouraged to have a family member, friend or caregiver pick-up the prescriptions.
Temporarily Postponing Non-Urgent Surgeries and Procedures
To ensure capacity and equipment to care for more critically ill patients, Kaiser Permanente will be postponing/rescheduling elective/non-urgent surgeries and procedures. Kaiser will re-evaluate these plans on an ongoing basis through April the COVID-19 situation is continuously monitored. All patients whose surgeries or procedures are postponed or rescheduled will be contacted directly by Kaiser Permanente.
Temporarily Consolidating Medical Offices
The expansion of virtual care and postponement of non-urgent surgeries and procedures decreases the need for in-person care. This decrease allows Kaiser to redeploy physicians, staff and resources from smaller clinics to central medical offices in order to reduce unnecessary potential exposure for members and staff and conserve critical supplies.
The following medical facilities are open and will continue serving members for in-person care and pharmacy needs. After-Hours Care at Moanalua Medical Center and Maui Lani Medical Office are also open for normal hours.
- Ko‘olau (Kaneohe)
- Moanalua Medical Center
- Maui Lani
The following locations will be temporarily closed:
Effective Monday, March 23, 2020:
- Kihei Clinic
- Waimea Clinic
Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020:
- Hawaii Kai Clinic
- Kahuku Clinic
- Kailua Clinic
- Kapolei Clinic
- Nanaikeola Clinic
Physicians and staff from these facilities will be redeployed to larger medical offices. Patients with appointments at one of the temporarily closed clinics will be contacted.
While medical offices are open, operating and are safe places to be, these actions will help to support social distancing and crowd avoidance and prevent and slow the transmission of COVID-19, Kaiser said. Members are encouraged to phone or email their doctor with any questions about their ongoing care needs.