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Copley Hospital Provides COVID Testing

October 27, 2020

Pictured with the Rheonix analyzer are (l to r) Amy Shopland, Copley’s Director of Laboratory Services; Donald Dupuis, MD, Chief Medical Officer and General Surgeon, Kathy Thompson, Laboratory Technologist and Armando Ciampa, MD, Copley’s Laboratory Medical Director.

Copley Hospital is pleased to announce the acquisition of a Rheonix COVID PCR Testing Analyzer, making COVID testing possible at Copley. The analyzer will significantly streamline the hospital’s ability to treat and admit patients, reduce wait times, and eliminate uncertainty for those requiring medical care. On average, Copley collects 350-400 COVID samples a week, primarily through its physician referred drive-thru testing clinic.  “Until now, all those tests were being sent to UVMMC or to the Vermont Department of Health,” stated Copley CEO Joseph Woodin. With the increased number of testing performed daily throughout the State, the once 2-3 day turnaround for results has often become 5-7 days.

Copley Hospital’s Ethics Committee has pushed the state to make COVID testing supplies available to all Vermont hospitals. This was done after the CRT-MV Team sent a similar petition to the Department of Health and a number of legislators. CRT-MV, which stands for the COVID Response Team in Morrisville is made up of Copley Hospital, Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley, Lamoille County Mental Health Services, Lamoille Home Health & Hospice, and Tamarack Family Medicine.  According to Chief Medical Officer Donald Dupuis, M.D, those efforts were not producing results fast enough. “Although we have faith in the State, we had the opportunity to provide the same testing standard of care for our patients that patients receive in regional medical centers, so we moved forward with the purchase.”  The cost of the analyzer was about $50,000, not counting the supplies.  “Providing the best care possible is a philosophy that we apply to everything we do at Copley,” he said.

According to Dupuis, the Rheonix COVID-19TM MDx assay, which is processed on the Encompass MDx® analyzer, can indicate whether a patient is COVID-19 positive or negative within hours. This turnaround time will allow the hospital to proceed immediately with treatment, care, or other necessary services while eliminating the costs, inconvenience, and stress of waiting days for a test result. “It will also make Copley a safer place to receive care because we’ll know -same day – who is, and is not, COVID positive. This is a substantial improvement in the care we can provide our patients, and a huge burden off of both patients and staff.”

“Without same-day testing,” Dr. Dupuis said, “we had to consider that every patient might be COVID positive, resulting in tremendous inconvenience, expense, waste of Personal Protection Equipment, and numerous other protocols for treatment, most of which would be unnecessary with access to rapid turn-around time in-house PCR COVID testing. As a small Critical Access Hospital, this is a major acquisition for Copley and one that will benefit all of our local communities.”

Copley and other regional hospitals saw a precipitous drop in both patient visits and revenue at the start of the pandemic, Woodin said. “People weren’t coming to the ER or seeking care in general out of fear of COVID. When we did re-open our Surgical Center to elective surgeries and outpatient procedures there continued to be apprehensions. Today, it is about getting timely COVID test results.” The analyzer has been in use for several weeks and just recently is being used for all samples collected at Copley.

About Copley:  Copley Hospital is a not-for-profit Critical Access Hospital serving the greater Lamoille County region and is one of the area’s largest employers. Copley offers exceptional care from skilled specialists using state-of-the-art treatments and technology supported with the warm, personalized feel of a community hospital. Copley offers 24-hour emergency services, a family-friendly Birthing Center, and inpatient and outpatient care, including Cardiology, General Surgery, Sleep Disorders Clinic, Tele-Medicine Services, Obstetrics/Gynecology (The Women’s Center), Orthopedics (Mansfield Orthopaedics), Rehabilitation Services, Laboratory and Diagnostic Imaging on its campus in Morrisville. Visit http://www.copleyvt.org or call 802-888-8888 for more information.

About Rheonix:  Based in Ithaca, NY, Rheonix has developed a suite of Encompass workstations, fully automated systems that provide highly multiplexed sample-to-answer molecular testing for use in clinical, research and applied testing laboratories. With minimal hands-on time, the Encompass systems offer true walkaway simplicity. Rheonix has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA for its Rheonix COVID-19TM MDx Assay. This rapid sample-to-answer test enables the fully automated detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, directly from respiratory samples. To learn more about us, visit www.rheonix.com.