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Serenity Health in Pahrump moving into vaccines

Serenity Mental Health in Pahrump has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic almost from the moment a state of emergency was declared in Nevada, creating a partnership with Nye County to provide testing for the virus and now, the health care company is expanding its efforts to battle the pandemic by moving into vaccine administration as well.

On Tuesday, April 27, Serenity Health owner and operator Gaby Cruz confirmed for the Pahrump Valley Times that the first vaccinations provided by her company will take place next week.

“We’re ready to start our vaccine PODs on Monday, May 3. We’re going to be combining our efforts by doing COVID anti-body testing and the COVID vaccinations three day a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We have two RNs, a phlebotomist and we’re going to have a bunch of intake personnel, and it will be under the direct supervision of both of our doctors.”

She and her team have been working diligently over the past several weeks to bring this about, and the task was far from an easy one.

First and foremost, the company had to be certified for vaccine administration, with each of its doctors needing to be approved, and then came job of obtaining the vials containing the doses. Once each of these pieces was in place, Cruz and her team were nearly ready to go but then they ran into an obstacle in the form of parking. With the parking lot at Serenity Health quite small, there simply isn’t room to accommodate the vaccination process, as all those who receive a vaccine are asked to stay on site for at least 15 minutes, and up to 30 minutes, following the shot, to ensure they do not have an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

Not letting this deter her in the slightest, Cruz cast about for a way to recover the situation and she found the solution in another venue, the unused parking lot on Calvada Boulevard where the old Healthcare Partners of Nevada offices used to be located.

“I’m so excited. It has taken us quite some time to get here but we really wanted to be careful,” Cruz detailed. “We’ve been approved for vaccine administration for two months and we got our first doses a couple of weeks ago, but we waited because we wanted to be absolutely sure that things would run as smoothly as possible. We went to the vaccination site and looked it over, we printed out little floor mats with numbers on them so we can direct people to parking stalls, we bought these big utility carts, we’ve just done everything we can to make it a smooth transition so we can give the best care.”

Cruz noted that Serenity Health is partnering with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, which will provide traffic control at the site, if necessary. In addition to this, her team will also be administering vaccines to all inmates and ICE detainees in the Nye County Detention Centers.

“There is no patient fee, for anyone. The vaccine is 100% free to the patient,” Cruz emphasized. “We are allowed to bill patients’ insurance companies, but no patient will ever receive a bill from Serenity. We have received guidance and support from our fire chief and Nye County Emergency Director Scott Lewis and we are officially open to all lanes and tiers. We plan to offer to the entire community, and we’ll be using all three vaccines that are publicly available, the Moderna, Pfizer and J&J vaccines.”

Cruz also noted that those who head out to Serenity Health’s vaccination POD, or Point of Dispensing, can expect a more “patient-oriented” approach from her team, which will provide more than a simple shot in the arm.

“When you come to the vaccine venue, we’re going to take care of you, we’re going to take your vitals and ask the questions required by the state, and afterward, our doctors will be reaching out to every single, solitary person who comes, within two or three days, to make sure they are feeling alright,” Cruz explained. “And we’ll also have a phone line, seven days per week, that will be open during our business hours, so that anyone who gets the vaccine, with us or with anyone else, and they experience symptoms that require medication, they can call in and be put on a list for the doctors to call back immediately.

“When we evaluated how we wanted to do this, we decided we wanted to keep the patient-centered mentality that we have at Serenity, so we don’t want people to just come, get their shot and leave,” Cruz continued. “We actually want to check in with them and make sure they are OK. They might need an inhaler, someone might have a high temperature, someone might have severe nausea, which seems to be a common symptom after vaccination, and something so simple as a short chat with a doctor on the phone and getting a prescription to address those symptoms can really change their day.”

Already armed with a total of 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine, 200 doses of the J&J vaccine and 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, Serenity Health’s PODs will be more than ready to handle any and all comers ages 16 and older.

For those who receive a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses at intervals of about 28 and 21 days apart, respectively, their vaccine cards will be marked with the dates on which they should return and it will be the patient’s responsibility to go back to the site for their second shot.

Forms will be distributed with factual information regarding the vaccines, with Cruz stating, “We felt like there was a lot of hype and misinformation in the community, and in the nation in general, and we created a fact sheet that we got permission to distribute in the jail. We’ll also have an information handout for those who come to the vaccination PODs that we’re offering.”

Serenity Health’s vaccination PODs will not be appointment based. Instead, they will be run in the same manner as the COVID-19 testing that the company has been offering since the start of the pandemic, in which people simply show up to the venue in their vehicles and wait in line.

The vaccination PODs will start next week with hours of operation being Mondays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Both vaccinations and COVID testing will be provided. The venue is located at 1503 E. Calvada Blvd., in the parking lot of what was formerly the Healthcare Partners of Nevada office building.

For more information call Serenity Health at 775-751-5211.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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