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Doctors, clinics begin slow process of reopeningFree Access

Letcher Countians can begin making appointments for some face-to-face doctor’s visits and elective procedures after Gov. Andy Beshear signed an order releasing some Covid-19 restrictions beginning Monday.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare’s Whitesburg Hospital is still working on its plan. Mountain Comprehensive Health is still working on whether and how to open its dental clinic because of the nature of dental treatment.

Optometrist Dr. Debbie Williams posted a notice on her social media page that she has made changes to her Mountain Vision Center office and procedures to make it more virus-safe, and will also be reopening.

MCHC CEO Mike Caudill said patients there will likely remain in their cars until their doctor is nearly ready for them, and then be called into a waiting room. Telehealth appointments, which were begun when the coronavirus forced the stoppage of non-essential health services, have become popular with patients and Caudill said those will still continue to be optional.

“The patient is going to come out ahead in this, and we’re going to have a lot more options,” Caudill said. “We’re working hard to make sure all the health care that has been put off is taken care of.”

Once the hospital completes it’s plan, he said, MCHC doctors will be able to schedule surgical procedures there.

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