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AnMed Health Vaccine Events Show the Power of Partnerships

When AnMed Health was administering COVID-19 vaccine to its own staff and healthcare workers in the community, a lecture hall at their medical center could easily accommodate the numbers. Then, adding a clinic at their north campus allowed them to vaccinate a few hundred people per day. But when eligibility was expanded to people over 70, they knew the numbers would overwhelm their facilities. Fortunately, they had a ready and willing partner in Anderson County.

“We were approached by Anderson County representatives at the beginning of January, letting us know that the Anderson Civic Center would be available if we decided to expand as phases opened up,” said Stephan Jones, project manager for AnMed Health’s vaccine clinic. “The next week, the governor opened eligibility up to those 70 and over. We quickly pivoted by setting up this location and getting this population scheduled.”

AnMed Health worked with the county to set up its first mass vaccination clinic on Jan. 16 at the 37,000-square-foot civic center. Occupying roughly one-third of the facility, with three vaccination stations, they delivered about 550 first-dose shots. Within three weeks, they were delivering more than 1,200 per day – a mix of first and second doses — with four stations. Now, all vaccinations are consolidated at that location and provided by appointment only.

The county isn’t charging AnMed Health for the use of the facility, which has been closed for indoor events since summer 2019, allowing the health system to avoid unnecessary costs. Civic Center staff also assist with set-up and logistics. “The county has been a wonderful partner,” Jones said. “We have Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies and EMS at every event, and the county has provided a golf cart if someone needs transportation to the front door. People can also pull up directly to the front door, and we can help them inside.” With plenty of parking and deputies assisting with traffic, bottlenecks and back-ups haven’t been a problem. “The opportunity Anderson County is affording us to use their space and staff is more than gracious,” he said.

The staffing formula is driven around four nurses who can each administer 36 doses per hour. “We staff other areas based on that formula,” Jones said, including medical office staff for four check-in and check-out stations and a mix of clinical and clerical staff in post-shot observation areas. Greeters are also posted at the door to assist patients into the facility, give directions, welcome the patients and start the process.

So far, AnMed Health has not used volunteers, although many retired doctors and nurses have offered to help. One local college has reached out about letting their nursing students work at the clinics. That may happen as vaccine availability increases and more populations become eligible.

AnMed Health can now deliver about 3,600 doses per week. DHEC has approached AnMed Health and Anderson County about adding three events, which DHEC would staff. The goal is eventually to have clinics six days a week – three days run by AnMed Health and three days by DHEC. “The primary intention of both parties is to offer a timely, safe and smooth process.  We believe using this site will help us accomplish this. ” Jones said. The plan, like many, is dependent on having an adequate vaccine supply and a reliable delivery schedule.

AnMed Health uses its own information system for scheduling appointments and pushes out information via MyChart messaging when appointments are available. In addition, they offer a dedicated phone line to help people who don’t have access to computers or an email address. Because AnMed Health uses their EHR for scheduling and documentation, the information that is required to be entered in VAMS is done post-clinic. “This has posed a unique challenge as timely entry into VAMS is important. We recognize this assists DHEC, as well as us, with inventory management. Now we have more people with access to VAMS, a cadence of data entry, and have developed reports out of our EHR to assist with information that needs to be documented.” said Physician Network Services Assistant Vice President Lynn Gregory.  “However, it would be helpful if the documentation needed could be uploaded post-clinic, and we are ready to assist with that process when VAMS supports this interface.”