By Dianne Anderson
Not sure where to go for a bad tooth? Sprains, big or small injuries, or COVID-19 testing?
Join the club.
People may be wondering lately where to turn for help, even for general health conditions aside from coronavirus. Many smaller urgent care clinics are closed, and hospitals can’t keep pace with incoming calls.
Dr. Jason Lohr, CEO of SAC Health System, said they have at least three locations still open to meet the needs of the IEHP community Monday through Friday. They are also testing for coronavirus, and have a new COVID 19 Hotline at 909) 771-2911.
Mainly, he said they are focused on IEHP members at the testing site, but they also field calls from the general community. IEHP is a no-cost, integrated health plan for people with both Medicare and Medi-Cal.
“If they are a patient assigned to our clinic, they have a program called mychart with their electronic medical records. There, they can access a video visit,” Lohr said.
Those without technology can do telephone visits.
At a time when other places are running severely short on tests, Sachs has about 300 available. He said Sachs has an agreement with LabCorp to get as many tests as needed. They are the official testing site for IEHP members.
“We are still seeing patients face to face. We’re doing COVID screening at our main campus,” he said.
Dental is also still available as an emergency service. Primary and specialty care are available, but like many health services, they are holding a lot of their visits virtually now.
On average, their clinic serves about 12,000 visitors a month with normal services, or 650 per day. Lately, that number has dropped to about half volume because some people may have problems accessing technology and virtual video visits. Others may be concerned to come in.
There have been challenges. Even some staff have been reluctant at points to come to work.
“We’ve had to reassure them that we’re in a critical sector and industry, that we will not close. We need to provide this service for our patients,” he said.
He suggests that households also help their elderly parents or grandparents get some facetime with a doctor if needed. Recently, they saw a 93-year-old in a virtual visit that was assisted by a younger relative.
At this time, the good news is they have adequate supplies of masks and gloves. In the past week, they received 1,000 N95 and 2,000 surgical masks. A few weeks ago they were short.
“People from the community are donating, the fire department has come through, employees have brought masks from dental offices in the area. The community has really come together and donated,” he said.
Those who need extra help and direction about San Bernardino County testing areas and times can also see www.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus for updated information, including most recent infections.
A spokesperson at San Bernardino County COVID-19 hotline said some calls have been coming in to complain that some businesses are still open, operating and out of compliance. Some calls are coming in from the community about what to do and where to get tested.
“They have to call their primary doctor. Their doctor will screen them if they’re showing any symptoms and they are the ones that will refer them to get tested if they need to,” she said.
Drive-through of nearly 400 testings on Friday at the county filled up fast, she said. There will be another drive-through, but the time or place hasn’t been announced yet. The community can call the county hotline for help, but at this point, it’s more about prevention. Stay at home and no socializing.
“Washing hands, if you’re sick, isolate yourself. We also give them numbers if they don’t have insurance, and they’ll refer them to where they are accepting patients, or they can call someone and speak to someone at a doctor’s office,” she said.
Dignity Health is offering a downloadable Virtual Care Anywhere app at Apple App Store or Google Play Store with coupon code COVID19. On their website, they are offering a free virtual visit.
The hospital system is recommending that anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus stay at home, except to get medical care. Do not take the public transportation system, or go out to public places without a mask.
“We encourage you to consider virtual visits (via phone or video chat) instead of in-person visits, whether you have COVID-19 symptoms or not. For anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please take advantage of our video visit offering before being seen in person,” their website says.
For more resources, see:
Community Hospital of San Bernardino resources, and access to a free virtual doctor visit,
For the San Bernardino County COVID-19 hotline, call (909) 387-3911
To access IEHP Sachs services, see