Open Accessibility Menu

May 26, 2022 - Community Engagement Virtual Meeting


    1. Positive COVID-19 cases currently in Kaweah Health:
      We currently have 19 adults and two children in the acute medical center who have tested positive for COVID. Approximately 70% of our COVID-positive inpatients have COVID as a secondary diagnosis and not the primary reason why they were admitted.
    2. How many are in ICU and do we have empty beds in our ICU?
      Only one of our COVID-positive adult patients is currently in the ICU but they are not on a ventilator.
    3. Hospital Census:
      As of 7:00 A.M., our adult inpatient census stood at 98.8%, including the 23 admitted patients who were holding in the Emergency Department. On a positive note, we do have pretty good availability of critical care beds with 13 of 41 ICU beds open and nine of 54 ICCU beds open.
    4. Fully Vaccinated employee percentage:
      66% of our employees are fully vaccinated, including a single booster shot.
  1. Do you have more information on the 2nd Booster and if and when it is going to be required for everyone? (same community member asks this every time).
    Everyone ages 5 years and older are eligible to receive one booster shot after completing their primary vaccine series. Adults ages 50 and older and anyone age 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised are eligible to receive a 2nd booster shot. While California healthcare workers are mandated to receive their first booster shot (unless exempted for medical or religious belief reasons), we have heard nothing regarding a requirement for a second booster shot.
  1. When will the total cost of the new hospital tower be released to the public?
    We are still working with our consulting architects to finalize the design and layout of the new tower and expect that work to be completed in the next several weeks. If we move forward with a 10-story tower that includes a new floor of surgical suites and pre- and post-recovery unit, the currently-estimated cost is approximately $650 million. Before we start announcing this to our community, we want to first develop a plan for funding the project, including the sizing of a general obligation bond and what it would mean to individual tax payers. We would like to package this all together as a comprehensive communication to the public and begin sharing this information in early September.
  1. Does Kaweah do “active shooter” training? In light of the school shooting yesterday, what is in place to protect patients if something like that were to happen?
    We are planning our next organization-wide training drill in the Fall as a hostage situation trying to implement some of the components of Active Shooter Training. To be sensitive to employees, we will not have a full active shooter training drill but will have more of a “table-top” active shooter component that is still in the planning stages with our Emergency Preparedness Committee. In addition, we have added “mini” Code Silver (“Weapon/Hostage—Stay Away”) drills at the department level in conjunction with our other mini drills. Those are typically drills run at the unit level every month on different emergency topics (e.g., loss of power, loss of gas, etc.).
  1. What was the reasoning behind the Code Triage that was called last week?
    On Monday of last week at approximately 6:00 P.M. we called an internal disaster and a code triage as our ED volume steadily rose to 282 patients. By Tuesday morning, we had 73 admitted patients holding in the Emergency Department, waiting for a bed to open upstairs. It was the single highest “hold” number we had ever experienced. On Tuesday, we saw another 257 patients in the ED and continued to experience a house-wide census saturation. Our physicians and staff did a phenomenal job and by Wednesday morning, we were able to call off the Code Triage. Since then, our ED admit holds have remained relatively stable in the teens and low twenties but we are still seeing ED volumes in the high two hundreds.
  1. Are you seeing relief from the staffing shortage?
    Not really. We still have almost 600 open positions throughout the organization with 200 of them Registered Nurses. We are still making extensive use of contract nurse travelers as well as overtime and extra shifts. On a positive note, we will begin to see new nurses joining us as they graduate from their programs this summer and pass their boards.
  1. Are you having high turnover due to staff not wanting to return to in-person work and looking for remote jobs? Did Kaweah bring back the employees who were working remote?
    We are still experiencing a high rate of turnover similar to that being experienced by hospitals up and down the State. There are not many remote jobs available for nurses so I don’t really see that as an underlying cause for their turnover. Some leave to join staffing agencies, some leave for new sign-on bonuses, some leave to go back home now that they are experienced nurses, and some leave for the same reasons they left during pre-pandemic times: spouses, family, other desirable locations, etc. For non-nursing positions, we are continuing to allow certain staff to work from home and that is likely to become permanent (e.g., medical record coders). I have heard firsthand of some employees leaving for remote jobs located in the Bay Area, with higher pay, that allow them to work remotely from Visalia.