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River Hills continues to serve community, prepares for ‘new norm’ next month

River Hills Community Health Center has been serving local communities during the pandemic and is looking forward to continuing that with a 'new norm'.
River Hills Community Health Center has been serving local communities during the pandemic and is looking forward to continuing that with a 'new norm'.(River Hills Community Health Center)
Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 12:06 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - River Hills Community Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center first opened in Ottumwa offering Medical services in November of 2000. Now as the center approaches its 20 year anniversary it’s clear there is a lot to celebrate.

The center has grown to have locations in Centerville, Richland, and Sigourney. It offers services including Dental, Behavioral Health, Women’s Health and Family Planning, and Pediatrics. River Hills sees patients with private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. If you do not have insurance a sliding fee is available and there is staff on site that can assist with applying for Medicaid, State Family Planning Program, and Marketplace.

Kari Rupe, Marketing and Family Planning Coordinator shared the lists below of all the new changes the clinics will see as well as how they have adapted to COVID-19 and will continue to stay safe.

New in July

· We will have a new Mental Health Nurse Practitioner joining our Behavioral Health department, Maggie Fuller will see patients in Ottumwa and Sigourney.

· Vicky Duncan, Social Worker, will relocate from Ottumwa Behavioral Health to the Sigourney Behavioral Health Clinic.

· Our school based therapy program has grown, in the fall we will see patients at Cardinal, Fairfield, Sigourney, and Pekin school districts.

· Our Richland Clinic is in the middle of an expansion. Once completed there will be 2 dentists available to see patients. Dr. Shilo Hilger and Dr. Kristine Halbar.

· Nurse Practitioner Raegan Johns will transfer from our Richland Medical Clinic to our Ottumwa Clinic. She will see Pediatrics, Family Practice, and Family Planning patients.

· Opening a new Pediatric clinic in Oskaloosa. Dr. Ronda Dennis Smithart and Christine Doyle, ARNP will provide services at that clinic.

COVID related changes to operations

· Change in clinic hours at all locations (8-5)

· Dental Clinic seeing emergency visits only

· Telehealth services offered in almost all clinics

· Separate Clinics for Well Child and Sick visits

· Women’s Health and Family Planning not doing Annual Exams until after July 1st

· Screening at the entrance to each clinic

· Mandatory masks for everyone in the clinic

· Limited persons in the clinic. Only the patient is allowed unless need a parent or caretaker

· Staff layoffs-some staff working from home

Getting back to the new normal

· Resuming normal clinic hours

· All staff called back from layoffs and from working from home

· Screening at the door

· Masks required in the building

· Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) inventory must be plentiful

· Resuming dental services

· Resuming annual exams for the Women’s Health Clinic

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