There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic is radically rewriting our collective plans for 2020, as well as modern life as we know it. For many of us, the virus may mean staying inside and making do with less. For others, like Rob Tomsett, PA, owner of GracePointe Healthcare, the stakes are higher.
After retiring from the Army in 2006, Tomsett has now been called up by the Tennessee Army National Guard to serve on the front lines in the battle against the world’s invisible enemy, COVID-19.
“I’ve been alive for 58 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Tomsett. “But I’m very glad to do this. It’s in my nature to serve my fellow Americans just like I serve my patients, and this is an honor and a privilege for me.”
Tomsett’s formal three-day training period concluded on Tuesday, April 7. He currently awaits orders.
Tomsett continues to serve patients at GracePointe Healthcare, which remains open for all routine care under modified hours. (The clinic’s full coronavirus statement and policy is available here.) In accordance with CDC guidelines and Gov. Bill Lee’s orders, GracePointe Healthcare encourages patients to take advantage of virtual visits and to not come into the office if they have experienced COVID-like symptoms.
“We’re trying to do everything we can for patients right now, but it’s a different world for all of us,” says Tomsett. “While we’ve had virtual visits available, they’ve become a much bigger part of what we do since the coronavirus. Patients are utilizing the technology quite a bit more. Many patients have their own thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and other useful tools at home that aid in these virtual visits.”
With one foot in the direct primary care door and the other stepping into crisis response with the National Guard, Tomsett is thinking critically about how healthcare may evolve in the post-COVID era ahead.
“It could be that in the future we have smaller or nonexistent waiting rooms for patients,” he suggests. “It may be that you’re brought in and taken to your patient exam room and everything is done there with as little contact with healthcare professionals as possible. The idea of social distancing may translate into primary care clinics and even emergency rooms.”
In the meantime, Tomsett remains dedicated to serving his patients at GracePointe Healthcare, as well as his fellow Tennesseans through the National Guard.
GracePointe Healthcare is open 8:00 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. For more information, read GracePointe Healthcare’s coronavirus statement.