COVID-19 UpdatesHCN News & Notes

Baystate Health Continues to Expand Ambulatory COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health has greatly expanded its COVID-19 ambulatory testing over the past three weeks. Through this process, the rate of ambulatory, drive-thru, and walk-up testing has more than tripled.

Baystate has six drive-thru and walk-up testing sites in Springfield (Carew Street, High Street, Brightwood), Greenfield, Westfield, and Ware for all patients age 12 and older. These are available to all providers — Baystate Medical Practices (BMP) and independent — for testing symptomatic patients with appropriate provider orders. More than 600 tests in the past several weeks have been ordered by independent community providers. Baystate plans on opening an additional site at Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center on May 7.

Appointments for ambulatory testing are required and available through the COVID testing phone line. Baystate has capacity to test about 80 patients per weekday at every site. The Carew Street site is open for a half-day on Saturdays as well.

Testing is available for children at High Street (all ages) and in Greenfield (age 2 and older).

After getting a swab test, patients are provided an educational handout as well as a link to enrollment in the Get Well Loop, a self-tracking, education, and symptom-monitoring tool for patients. Daily monitoring ‘loop alerts’ are sent to contact-center RNs who, based on symptoms, can appropriately triage patients.

Baystate’s drive-thru sites are also set up to accommodate walk-in patients, such as people who depend on the bus to get to the testing site.

More than 100 residents of the Friends of the Homeless shelter in Springfield, a potential COVID-19 hotspot, have also been tested.

Two Baystate Reference Laboratories cars equipped with paramedics and nurse practitioners are being deployed to community sites, most often to patients’ homes, through a referral process from BMP primary-care physicians. Services include swabbing, symptom assessment, and triage. The health system is working to expand services to Baystate-affiliated provider groups.

Baystate is also in the process of developing plans for COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic patients who are being scheduled for future non-urgent procedures and surgeries, and hopes to be ready when Gov. Charlie Baker lifts restrictions.