The Veterans Memorial Hospital Laboratory has returned to full-services following the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the Laboratory remained in service throughout the spring months, the entire list of services is now once again available and all offered in a safe setting. The hospital Laboratory sees many repeat patients on a regular basis for a large variety of blood tests that are ordered by physicians locally and from out of town. If a test is ordered that can’t be run at the local hospital, the Lab can draw the blood and send the sample for more advanced testing, saving the patient valuable time and money.
VMH Laboratory is open in the very early morning for fasting labs. Lab technicians are on site for a blood draw before a patient goes to work. INR testing can also be completed by the hospital’s Lab. The Lab is now giving all patients the choice to wait in the main lobby waiting room or in their personal vehicles until the drawing room is available. Patients that choose to wait inside the hospital simply enter the hospital as usual. They are screened by the staff member inside the door, then will wait in the lobby waiting area until a Lab staff member Lab escorts them to the Lab.
Patients who choose to wait in their car are asked to please call the Lab at 563-568-5594 when they arrive at the hospital. The Lab staff will then meet them at the door and escort them inside the building, first to the screener and then directly to the Lab waiting.
Marian Bauercamper of Waukon has been utilizing the Veterans Memorial Hospital Laboratory for 20 years since her kidney transplant. She has continued to utilize these local Lab services during the COVID-19 pandemic and explains in her own words how the service has remained the same with slight safety changes.
“I received my kidney transplant in Madison, WI 20 years ago and have come to this Lab ever since for all of my required blood work, so I am a firm supporter of the local Laboratory at Veterans Memorial Hospital,” states Marian. “It is so convenient to have it right here in town. It is easy to get to and there’s never any long lines to wait in.”
“The local Lab staff is really good about taking the orders for my blood tests over the phone, drawing and testing my blood and then sending the results to Madison, usually even in the same day. Some of the more specialized tests can’t be performed here, but they still draw the sample, process it and send it in for testing. And they do all of this very quickly and very timely.”
“It has been a little different since COVID-19 came to be,” adds Marian. “Now I always wear a mask when I enter the hospital, they screen my temperature and I wait in the lobby until they come from the Lab to escort me back to the drawing room. I also always need an appointment for my blood work and can’t just drop in anymore like I used to, but that only takes a simple phone call. They see to it that there are just a few people in the waiting area so there is plenty of room for physical distancing. They really do very good at preparing the patients and I see them wiping everything down frequently, so I always feel very safe.”
Specialists from out of town will often require blood work prior to a patient’s next appointment and just automatically refer their own laboratory for the test. Sometimes that can require another day of travel out of town or make the day of an appointment very long. Often VMH can run those tests locally and send the results electronically to the specialist the same day that the blood is drawn.
Wellness Testing is also a convenience at VMH at reasonable prices. Wellness testing is available by individual test or the entire wellness package is also available for a charge of $45. However, all patients must now call ahead to set an appointment for their wellness testing. Patients are encouraged to ask their provider if their labs can be drawn and tested locally for their own convenience. For more information, please call the VMH Laboratory at 568-3411.