CHCC amends rules for dialysis center, dental clinic

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Posted on Mar 24 2020

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The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. has stepped up its public outreach efforts in order to help more people as the world face the novel coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19.

For those who want to learn more about the virus, CHCC has set up a hotline-285-1542/1672/1352/1854-for the public.

For those seeking mental health assistance and health tips during such a critical time, reach out to the Mental Health Care Line at 285-1856/1857. These numbers are available 7:30am-7pm from Monday to Sunday.

In addition, the CHCC is changing policies for visitors and patients going through its hemodialysis center. Effective immediately until further notice, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation, CHCC will not be allowing visitors and caregivers to be seated chairside during treatments unless the patient is non-ambulatory and has a medical condition(s) where the patient is dependent on caregivers for their basic needs.

Caregivers will be asked wait in the waiting room, or outside of the treatment room, until treatment is completed. Other visitors, while a patient is in active treatment, are currently not allowed, most especially for patients in isolation.

“We want to protect the health of those who are most vulnerable or high risk, and the dialysis patients are at a high risk,” said Esther Muña, CHCC chief executive officer. “We want to make sure that when they get their treatment, that there’s no risk at all.”

Muña said that the only exception is for patients who are non-ambulatory and have medical condition(s) where the patient is dependent on caregivers for their basic needs. She stressed that CHCC will be strict with this rule.

Separately, the CHCC Dental Clinic will be temporarily open for dental emergencies only.

Recommended by the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CHCC will accommodate only true dental emergencies.

People who do not have a dental emergency or other immediate medical concerns are being asked to stay home. CHCC Dental Clinic patients will be rescheduled.

What is a dental emergency?
Heavy bleeding—bleeding from the mouth that does not stop—is a dental emergency. Tooth trauma, a tooth that has been knocked out or broken in half due to a fall or accident, is a dental emergency. Swelling or infection, severe swelling of the mouth or jaw, especially swelling that makes it difficult to swallow, open your mouth, or breathe is a dental emergency. Severe toothache, severe toothache or pain that prevents you from eating or sleeping at night and does not respond to over-the-counter pain medications can also be a dental emergency.

If you believe you are experiencing a dental emergency, contact your dental clinic or call the CHCC Dental Clinic at 236-8369, 7:30am-4:30pm from Monday to Friday.

DFEMS statement
Additionally, in an attempt to practicing social distancing, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Service would like to inform the public that if you received a billing statement from DFEMS regarding ambulance services, it’s advised to hold off paying and the Fire Code Enforcement Office will also be closed until Gov. Ralph DLG Torres lifts his Executive Order 2020-04 in which he declared a state of public health emergency.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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