RGH emphasizes the importance of regular health care during pandemic

Dr. Barton Giessel, M.D.

MONTE VISTA- Rio Grande Hospital’s (RGH) providers and staff are going above and beyond to ensure the safety of all of their patients during the COVID-19 crisis. After hearing some patients are so concerned about COVID-19 they are not coming for regular visits, RGH wants the community to know the importance of receiving regular care for chronic conditions and annual wellness exams, and the many ways RGH and their skilled providers are taking extra precautions to ensure safety while providing the personalized and comprehensive quality of care patients have come to expect from RGH.


Dr. Barton Giessel, M.D., and Jackie Bennett, Family Nurse Practitioner, both specialize in Family Medicine and see patients at RGH’s Monte Vista Medical Clinic. The Monte Vista Medical Clinic screens patients as they come in the front door, asking them a series of questions to determine if they are symptomatic for COVID-19 and taking patients temperatures before they enter the facility. Giessel explained he believes the front desk and nursing staff are doing a great job with this triaging process, which is designed to steer potentially symptomatic patients to Rio Grande Hospital in Del Norte, as they are better equipped to handle these patients and determine testing and treatment from that point. “By design, through phone screening, the triage at the door and telemedicine, we have been pretty successful. Our goal is to resume normal operations here, treating patients for acute conditions and chronic disease management, and that is going well.”


Bennett added “We want everyone to have care, it just looks a little different because we have masks, partitions at the front desk, we’re practicing social distancing throughout the clinic and all of our staff are practicing exceptional hygiene” and taking extra measures to keep surfaces sanitary as well. “Patients can feel increasingly confident, especially when they see all the plans in motion,” Giessel added.


Both providers explained that it is very rare for them to see patients with symptoms of COVID-19, even with the overlap with symptoms of allergies or other viral ailments. They explained they are focused primarily on treating chronic diseases like sleep apnea, high blood pressure and others, along with providing immunizations, screenings and acute visits for things like lacerations or joint injections.

Bennett added “We provide well-child, well-woman and well-person exams. People come here because they feel like family. The patient-provider relationship is very important to us, and it’s really a bonus part of our work as well.” Giessel agreed, adding “Having someone help you navigate the healthcare process, including medication and treatment planning, is important to the providers here and the patients.” “One of the things patients appreciate about us is we don’t use computers in the room unless absolutely necessary, we look people in the eye and interact with them directly,” Giessel added.


Both providers stated they are welcoming new patients and if patients are concerned about COVID they should feel confident in visiting RGH facilities and should absolutely not put off care for their planned or other routine visits, as maintaining regular care for these conditions is vital. Both providers are regularly following scientific articles within their profession to get the latest information about not only COVID-19 but exploring new science and information about other conditions as well.


Giessel has lived in Colorado for two years, after spending 20 years in Family Medicine in North Texas.
Bennett is originally from the Pacific Northwest but has lived in the area for almost 20 years. For several years before becoming a Nurse Practitioner she volunteered at the 9Health Fair, overseeing and providing up to 500 blood draws each time.


The Monte Vista Medical Clinic can be reached directly at (719) 852-8827. If you are still unsure about visiting a provider in person, RGH also offers telemedicine, call (719) 657-2418 for more information.

For a complete list of RGH’s services and providers, see www.riograndehospital.org

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