Porter Medical Center prepares for a fall semester transformed by the pandemic

By BECCA AMEN

Porter Medical Center. (Benjy)

In partnership with Porter Medical Center (PMC), the college has prepared a written plan for providing student medical care during the fall 2020 semester. This plan includes referral pathways for Middlebury students experiencing varying degrees of illness or injury and establishes an approach to treating students who may have contracted Covid-19.

The plan instructs students in need of any non-emergent medical care to use Parton Health Center’s services. Students will be able to access these services during Parton’s regular operational hours and — if providers are available — by calling the Health Service nurse line

“A nurse will work with the student to decide whether they need to be seen in person,” said Dr. Augustus Jordan, executive director of health and counseling services at the college. “And some medical situations do require an in-person visit. If so, the nurse will explain the process for entering Centeno [House].”

If students are unable to get in touch with a Parton provider, they will be directed to speak to contracted telehealth providers.

“At any time of day or night, seven days a week, and from any location, a student can call to log on to the new MiddTelehealth app and speak with a medical provider who can treat a wide range of common illnesses like cold and flu, sinus infections, allergies and other conditions,” Jordan said.

On-campus counseling is remote for the time being, and resources for mental health care and regular counseling will be accessible to students on the MiddTelehealth application, which students can find at go/middtelehealth.

“To expedite use of this resource, I encourage students to create an account with MiddTelehealth now, and then download the app,” he said. “That way, if they are not feeling well during the evening or on a weekend, they can quickly reach out to a medical or mental health care provider.”

The college’s plan for student medical care also notes that telehealth providers can refer students to Parton if they decide further evaluation is necessary. Furthermore, if telehealth providers determine that students need urgent care, they can refer students to Porter.

Students who are “acutely, severely and/or critically ill” or “traumatically injured” should continue directly to the PMC Emergency Department. An ambulance will be sent to transport the student to Porter Hospital if their condition calls for one.

Any student seeking medical care at Porter Medical Center through the appropriate referral pathways is to be screened for Covid-19 upon arrival, according to the written health care plan.

The plan also details Porter’s approach to patient intake. Porter staff will refer students either to the PMC Emergency Department or the Porter Acute Respiratory Clinic if they exhibit two or more symptoms of Covid-19. If students are asymptomatic, Porter will refer them to its ExpressCare center.