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Limitations and Postponements for Routine Outpatient Visits Due to COVID-19

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Community news

[Fergus Falls, MN and Elbow Lake, MN] Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) and Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services (PRHHS) announced today that based on the most current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they are implementing an enterprise wide strategy to limit routine outpatient visits at all LRH and PRHHS locations.

“We want to emphasize to the public that we are not closing our clinic services entirely. Rather, outpatient visits and services will be limited to urgent and semi-urgent care, and we of course will continue emergency care,” said enterprise CEO, Kent Mattson. He said the change includes appointments at all clinic locations, routine lab work, routine screenings, and outpatient therapies (physical, occupations and speech therapies).

“This is a proactive measure to preserve resources and protect our workforce and community through the COVID19 outbreak,” he added. “We will do everything possible to give people the care they need in their own home, by phone, or in our clinics when the need is urgent.”

Patients who are scheduled for non-urgent or semi-urgent upcoming appointments will be called in advance directly by their provider or nurse to determine the acuity of their concerns and whether it is safe to postpone their visit. As nurses & providers call their patients, during the conversation they will determine whether it is safe to reschedule the patient for a later time or whether safe & effective guidance can be offered by phone or another remote option. Additional options for telehealth and remote clinical visits are being implemented in tandem with this change according to Mattson.

“This limitation is in preparation for what we believe, based on the scientific data presently available to us, could be a future influx of patients as this coronavirus spreads. It is critical we all take measures to social distance and maintain the 6-foot buffer between ourselves and others, and that we prepare our facilities, resources and staff to fulfill our calling to meet the healthcare needs of our communities,” according to Dr. Josh Overgaard, an Internal Medicine specialist at LRH. Mattson added that with all planning measures being undertaken, this is a fluid and changing situation and these standards may change to meet community care needs. “We are dedicated to the continued care of all patients who are experiencing a broad range of urgent/emergent care needs. The health and safety of each and every patient continues to be our priority,” Mattson said.

More COVID-19 Resources

  • Patients who are experiencing symptoms should call their local provider’s office to be screened and receive further instruction about home management strategies, or whether they should seek further testing or treatment.

About Lake Region Healthcare

Lake Region Healthcare is living out its vision to be Minnesota's preeminent regional healthcare partner. With over 85 medical staff and over 900 employees, its team is dedicated to serving its patients and community with integrity, teamwork, compassion and excellence. For more information about Lake Region Healthcare, visit

About Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Services

Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services is a private, non-profit health care organization providing clinical and hospital services in several small rural communities. Bringing specialty and sub-specialty physicians to patients through a vision to lead collaborative efforts that improve the lives of the people they serve by providing quality healthcare and outstanding customer service. More info at

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