Reducing exposure for everyone who seeks treatment has proven to be crucial to flattening the curve. (We) are working diligently to do our part to reduce potential exposures in this national hotspot.
LIVONIA, Mich. (PRWEB) May 21, 2020
Sometimes referred to as FURI (Fever, Upper Respiratory Illness) Clinics, or “fever” clinics, these specialized facilities serve those who have suspected COVID-19 or other infectious diseases in an outpatient setting.
FURI clinics keep people who are experiencing symptoms of fever, runny nose, cough, or an upper respiratory tract illness out of the emergency room and doctor offices. By treating and assessing these patients in an outpatient clinical setting apart from others who may be experiencing life-threatening or serious conditions not related to COVID-19, FURI clinics help maintain social distancing and reduce potential exposure. Trinity Health is currently operating 60 FURI clinics across 13 different states.
“Many of our primary care offices currently aren’t seeing patients with fevers and upper respiratory infections, so this is where we step in as the FURI clinic,” said Shanta Compton, practice manager, Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group Farmington Primary Care. Before the pandemic hit the East Coast, Compton and her team operated Farmington as a primary care office. In addition to Farmington there are three other FURI clinics, Hartford, Cheshire, and Westfield, Massachusetts, which opened in March and early April 2020 to serve patients.
Getting into a FURI Clinic at Trinity Health Of New England is easy. No walk-ins are accepted, but patients with a fever and/or upper respiratory illness can either call their primary care physician office or directly call the clinics to check their symptoms and to schedule an appointment. People do not have to be a current patient of Trinity Health Of New England.
“We get them in as soon as possible, as we know they aren’t feeling well,” said Gennesis Jimenez, medical assistant, Farmington. Trinity Health Of New England's four FURI clinics can assess and treat potentially large numbers of people with appropriate levels of infection control.
“When we schedule the appointments, we ask people their make and model of car and greet them in reserved parking spots just outside the FURI clinic,” said Compton. “We escort them in, reducing exposure to others.”
“FURI clinics demonstrate our strong commitment to the mission and core values of Trinity Health Of New England through the delivery of people-centered care,” said Manjula Cherukuri, M.D., MBA, FAAFP, medical director, Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group.
In the Midwest, within days of Michigan’s first case of COVID-19, the multi-specialty physician group IHA restructured its Urgent Care centers to open four FURI clinics at the heart of a national hot spot, Southeast Michigan. One IHA-run Urgent Care also continues to see patients without COVID symptoms, reducing exposure to those patients.
“Studies out of China have indicated that much of their COVID spread occurred in health care settings, so reducing exposure for everyone who seeks treatment has proven to be crucial to flattening the curve,” said Matthew Ajluni, D.O., Division Head Urgent Care, Occupational Medicine & Virtual Medicine, IHA. “IHA and Trinity Health are working diligently to do our part to reduce potential exposures in this national hotspot.”
Since mid-April, IHA has also begun “parking lot” COVID-19 testing at its FURI Urgent Cares, IHA Urgent Care at Eastern Michigan University, IHA Urgent Care at Schoolcraft College, and IHA Urgent Care at East Brighton, where patients do not even leave their cars for an assessment. Since the beginning of the FURI clinics, IHA has had “parking lot waiting rooms,” so patients don’t sit among others who may or may not have COVID-19.
FURI clinics are also staffed by people dedicated to this one task, so expertise is concentrated in one location.
“I’m happy to be doing this,” said Compton. “We are a very open-minded group, and we are covered in PPE.”
“There is no playbook to use for COVID-19,” said Ajluni. “We have gleaned some insights from some high-performing groups in the state of Washington, and we continue to deliver high-quality care, keeping our patients and our staff safe.”
FURI clinics are part of a broad, emergency health response to the coronavirus that include COVID-19 drive-through testing centers, virtual visits, as well as screening and testing all patients and limiting visitors.
“We have been able to bolster our virtual, online visits, with 500-700 virtual visits daily during March and early April,” said Ajluni.
While virtual medical visits and telehealth are important for maintaining social distancing, “you can’t listen to a person’s lungs over the phone or computer,” said Compton. “The FURI clinics are a vital service for our communities.”
After a physical assessment by a medical practitioner, the patients can then be referred for COVID-19 testing if needed. “The staff calls the testing center, or sometimes we walk patients down to the actual testing center, as they are close by,” said Compton.
In addition to the initial screening for potential COVID-19, the FURI clinics of Trinity Health Of New England are also responsible for the transitional care of COVID-19 patients discharged from Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. “We schedule their follow-up appointments and check in with these patients regularly to make sure they are continually improving at home,” said Compton.
By keeping the follow-up care inside the FURI clinic, Trinity Health Of New England hopes to further reduce exposure to others.
“Short of the emergency room or the hospital, we are the place where people can come when they are really sick,” said Compton.
To learn more about the FURI clinics of Trinity Health Of New England, please visit: https://www.trinityhealthofne.org/furi-clinics. To learn more about the FURI clinics and telehealth services at IHA, please visit http://www.ihacares.com.
To learn more about what Trinity Health is doing to serve our communities during COVID-19, please visit http://www.trinity-health.org/coronavirus.
About Trinity Health
Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 106 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Michigan, and with annual operating revenues of $19.3 billion and assets of $27 billion, the organization returns $1.2 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 125,000 colleagues, including about 7,500 employed physicians and clinicians. For more information, visit http://www.trinity-health.org. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter.