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To Bowman County and surrounding communities,

My name is Bob Letson and I was hired as interim CEO of Southwest Healthcare Services and have been in Bowman since March 16th. I have spent more than 40 years in healthcare management and most recently was CEO of a healthcare system in Homer, Alaska for ten years.

Under normal circumstances I would have liked to give a proper introduction, but these are not normal circumstances.

This recent period of time has been one of the most challenging in all my years in healthcare.

And I have never been more impressed with a staff than I am with our employees at Southwest Healthcare Services. The way they have stepped up to the challenge while working to protect our staff, our residents, and our patients has exceeded all expectations.

I want to let you know how we are fighting to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Under the direction of Dr. Matthew Feller and clinic manager, Lisa Knopp, we’ve designated the Pod A block of exam rooms for patients suffering from any respiratory illness. Patients who have symptoms of the coronavirus have been directed to call ahead so we can prepare to administer testing and possible treatment. Those patients are also asked to enter a specific door that leads directly into Pod A.

We have a decontamination room setup and we usually take swabs and blood draws in the exam rooms to limit patient traffic to avoid exposure for our patients and our staff members.

Our latest measure of protection has been for all staff to wear masks at all times, and to restrict visitors to a minimum. We have had many generous community members sew and donate cloth masks for our staff. Our clinic reception area has also been equipped with sheets of acrylic to shield both our staff and the patient checking into our facility.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our many generous donors. Thank you to those who have sewn and donated masks. Thank you to those who have donated food and flowers. These gestures are what keeps spirits high during difficult times. Thank you to local businesses who have provided us with protective equipment, such as Tyrek suits and face shields. Southwest North Dakota is home to some very generous people and businesses.

It remains to be seen when our lives might return to normal. But until then, thank you for the generosity and thank you for all of the support you give us each and every day.

Thank you,

Bob Letson

Interim CEO

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