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SLV Health safely resumes elective procedures

Melissa Voutsalath, MD, and Sarah McAlpine, MD, are ready and waiting to safely take care of patients at the SLV Health Stuart Street Clinic in Alamosa.

SLV Health has now officially reopened to the public for elective surgeries and office visits. But while medical procedures will restart, the visits will be very different as compared to before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Here in the valley, clinics and hospitals now need to balance providing regular medical care in a safe and clean environment.

All of the departments are seeing patients again in person, including pediatrics, primary care and surgery.

“Now is not the time to put off a medical treatment,” said Audrey Reich Loy, director of Primary Care Clinic Operations for SLV Health. “We have watched hospitals and clinics all over the country treat patients that waited too long to be seen, and we don’t want that to happen here.”

Resuming healthcare services means making sure every patient is safe. This includes social distancing in the waiting room, or people waiting in their cars until their appointment. Anyone suspected of having COVID-type symptoms are entering through a different entrance and being screened in isolated rooms separate from the rest of the medical facilities.

“Recently an elderly woman in Alamosa broke her hip and delayed getting care in our emergency department for four days,” said Eric Ball, MD, emergency department director for SLV Health Regional Medical Center. “Life-threatening conditions need timely evaluation and treatment.”

To keep patients safe, people coming in for their appointments will see some additions to the check-in process. For example, when patients initially call in to make an appointment, they will be asked questions about their health relating to COVID symptoms. Once a person is cleared over the phone, they will have an appointment established with their provider.

Once the patient arrives to the facility at the time of their appointment, they will call the provider’s office and “check in” over the phone. They will then wait in their vehicle until the front desk calls to have them come in. Once inside the building, they will be screened once more and then, in most cases, taken directly back to a private room to be seen by the provider.

“People coming in for their appointments will see that all of our employees are masked, and how we are keeping everything extremely clean,” said Reich Loy. “Everything is wiped down consistently, and after the patient leaves the private room it is deep cleaned by the staff.”

If you are a patient that has had an appointment or surgery cancelled or rescheduled, or are seeking to make a medical appointment, please call your provider directly to make an appointment. The contact information for all providers can be found by calling 719-589-3000 or on the SLV Health website at