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June 23, 2022 - Community Engagement Virtual Meeting


    1. Positive COVID-19 cases currently in Kaweah Health:
      As of this morning, we had 24 COVID-positive patients in inpatient beds (one a 10-year old pediatric patient).
    2. Hospital Census:
      As of this morning, 299 of our 332 adult inpatient beds were occupied, representing an occupancy rate of 90%; in addition, we had another 18 patients waiting in the Emergency Department for an inpatient bed to open up (what we call an “admit hold” patient); including these admit hold patients, our real adjusted occupancy rate was 95.5%.
    3. When was the last time Kaweah had a COVID-related death?
      Two deaths on June 21, 2022 where COVID was their primary diagnosis.
    4. Current employees with COVID:
      As of Monday, June 20th, 79 employees (six from 2020), no travelers, and five providers.
  2. On the CDC’s Twitter account they have posted that children as young as 6 months should get the vaccine. Is Kaweah vaccinating babies at the clinics?
    We are not yet vaccinating children under age 5. is updated with our available vaccination sites including age of availability of which vaccine.
  1. We keep seeing the social media messages about the impacted Emergency Department. I know this has been asked before, but why are so many people seeking emergency care right now?
    I don’t really have a clear answer. Factors that would contribute to higher demand include population growth, chronic health conditions that went untreated during COVID, significant increase in mental health issues among children and adults, a more open and active society, increased trauma, etc.
    1. Is this just in our area?
      All hospitals throughout the Central Valley are reporting significant increases in ED visits and hospital occupancy (not related to COVID).
    2. Are you seeing a rise in urgent care visits or only the Emergency Department?
      Most of the rise in patient demand has been in the ED but our urgent care centers located on Demaree and on Court Street remain busy.
  1. Has Kaweah had a shortage of baby formula?
    We have not had any supply problems with our regular formula; we have had minor delays in our specialty formulas but nothing too major.
    What about other supplies that are needed to provide patient care?
    We continue to run into shortages of pharmacy and medical supplies:
  • Lab Collection Tubes – due to material shortage
  • Pre-filled saline syringes – due to material shortage
  • IV solutions – due to raw materials, transit and labor
  • Hot and Cold packs – due to material shortage and shipping delays
  • Suction Canisters – due to material shortages
  • Sharps Containers – due to material shortages and labor shortages
  • Contrast for X-ray – due to labor issues (we use a size that has not had issues)

These are a sample of items that we are required to manage closely as they are hard to find. Over the past two-plus years, we have worked with alternate medical suppliers in order to procure the items we need or we work with our clinical teams to find alternative products that meet our patients’ needs. While we still have a hard time procuring items, we have been able to keep supplies on hand without negatively impacting patient care.

  1. I am hearing nurses are leaving the local hospitals to become travelling nurses.
    1. What is the mile range a nurse has to travel to in order to be considered a “traveler”?
      50 miles is our policy. Other hospitals may differ.
    2. How does a traveler’s wage differ from a regular wage?
      This is dependent on market, need and specialty. It is often three times or more the hourly rate we pay an employed nurse but our employed nurses also receive full benefits that add 25-30% additional cost to their hourly rate. What we don’t know is how much of the hourly rate we pay to the traveler agency actually is paid to the traveling nurse. Congress is considering a bill to require full transparency from traveler agencies.
    3. How can Kaweah or other hospitals compete?
      With culture, support and consistency. Employees stay when they feel appreciated and valued. The pandemic highly effected the labor pool. Hospitals are adjusting to this ever-changing market and the effects it has had. We continue to listen, research and brainstorm new ideas daily.