A letter to the community: Full and Focused

October 12, 2020 by Jennifer Doty, CEO

A letter to the community – 

In response to the article featured in the Sidney Herald-Leader entitled, “Sidney Health Center: Full and Focused,” I am compelled to respond and share the impact of COVID-19 on our community and facility in particular. I can appreciate and understand the intent of the article was to inform the public of the seriousness around seeking medical care during a pandemic that is impacting our community and resources.

Like many healthcare facilities across the region, we have been experiencing full-capacity of our daily census. It is true that the uptick in COVID-19 cases directly correlates with bed availability at area facilities as a percentage of those hospitalized are due to COVID-19. In Montana, 235 active hospitalizations were reported due to COVID-19 at the time of the interview. 

Most of our hospitalizations at Sidney Health Center are not related to COVID-19. We are delivering babies and people continue to be hospitalized for cardiovascular disease, cancer, surgical procedures, and multiple other chronic conditions.

In the last week: 

  • Sidney Health Center has been at full-capacity for inpatient hospitalizations resulting in temporarily postponing elective inpatient surgeries. This does not include emergency surgical procedures or scheduled outpatient procedures.  
  • Up to 12% of the hospitalizations have been positive COVID-19 patients.
  • Sidney Health Center’s Clinic has been testing up to 40 symptomatic direct contacts per weekday as determined through the Richland County Health Department contact tracing efforts.

As an everyday evolving situation, we evaluate our hospitalization capacity and the availability of tertiary services in the region for those patients requiring a higher level of care daily. Our partnerships with larger tertiary hospitals in the state that accept our transfers are also experiencing bed capacity challenges. This has resulted in our need to expand our network of facilities outside our state and neighboring states. 

At Sidney Health Center, our mission remains the same – to help you achieve your highest level of health and well-being. As an organization, we are committed to treating COVID and non-COVID patient populations. We have contingency plans in place to add inpatient beds in the event of an increased need for patients requiring hospitalization that cannot be accessed elsewhere.

One of my main concerns has always been the health and well-being of our workforce. It is vital to keep our employees healthy to meet the healthcare needs of the community. We continue to encourage everyone to do their part to stay healthy by wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. 

Finally, thank you for your continued support and understanding as we navigate through these challenging circumstances. We are in this together. 


Jennifer Doty, CEO