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May 29 Employee Huddle

May 29, 2020

Please Note: Time did not allow us to answer every submitted question, so we will get to unanswered questions at next week's KD Huddle. Submit a question now for next week by e-mailing dvolosin@kdhcd.org.

Questions and Answers from the May 29 Employee Huddle

How long is the Command Center going to be set up in the AW conference room? What happens once that is no longer there? Will the phone line continue to be “manned”?

  • As we move into set operations and long term plans, the command center will close down. The phone will no longer be manned but the operations questions and needs that come up would go through our routine channels of leadership or house supervisors.

When and how are we rolling out antibody testing

  • We began sending out the links for the antibody testing on 5/26/2020. We are doing this in waves, 2 waves this week and 2 waves next week. All employees will have access to testing by next Friday. An instruction email is sent out to the managers, who then forward the information to their staff. There are two draw stations available; the draw station in the Mineral King basement and the other at Demaree Urgent Care. The employee will schedule a time for their testing at one of the two draw stations. Employees can get their results in 48 hours by calling Employee Helath at the number provided in the email. Please do not call the lab for your results.

Chat – Will Kaweah Health be publishing the Antibody testing results?

  • Yes, we will be publishing the results. Once we have a good amount of completed testing results, we we will share these numbers.

Chat – Will Kaweah Health post these results in a diagram like we do for COVID numbers?

  • Yes, we will work with the Public Information Officer team to creat an infographic to share with our employees as well as the public. We can possibly combine it with the current diagram for COVID numbers.

Chat – Will the antibody numbers be reported to the Government?

  • As of right now, there is no requirement to report these numbers. CDPH does not value the antibody testing. They may require it in the future for research data.

Can you get Covid-19 if you already had it once? Also if we don’t have a cure soon will COVID-19 occur again like the flu does?

  • Unfortunately we do not yet know if you can contract it again. I wish I knew the answer to this for our teams. We can likely expect COVID-19 to return during the upcoming season. The current plan globally is to develop a vaccine.

How come there is no masking policy at the urgent cares?

  • All staff are required to wear a mask in every point of contact in the district including the urgent cares. It is our prevention method and how we prevent the spread of the virus. We are working toward the required masking of patients to begin on June 1.

Can you explain to us which organization designates a death as COVID? Is it the Coroner, the County, or KD?

  • When a patient passes away, the doctor designates the cause of death on their death certificate. However, under state and federal guidelines we do have to report any patient that dies in the hospital that also has a communicable disease, such as COVID. So, even if a patient dies from a heart attack, but tested positive for COVID, it will be reported.

When are we going to lift the visitor restriction?

  • We are maintaining the current visitor restrictions and exceptions as we watch the number of cases in the county. For the safety of our team members and patients we are continuing to limit visitors but we will move forward with a lighter restriction plan in the next 3-6 weeks. We want to ensure numbers and spread stays low and keep our health care team safe. We are also working to roll out changes in PPE availability and expanded use so we want to make sure those changes are solid and people have adapted before we do another process change. We are being very deliberate with decisions as we move forward.

Chat - When is it safe to visit family members that have been isolated?

  • In my best opinion, you just need to take all of the health guidelines into consideration. Keep gatherings on the smaller size, more intimate. Be mindful of social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing masks. Set up an expectation for yourself and your family and stick with it. Remember, there is still a risk of transmission of this disease, so you need to weigh the risks and benefits of gathering together.

Chat – What are your thoughts on a national pharmacy chain offering specimen collection and testing and the requirement that people swab themselves ?

  • I think it is great if the pharmacy chains are going to start testing, as long as it is done correctly. I do not think it is wise to have people swab themselves.

Chat - Who should employees report to if their coworker is anot wearing a mask ?

  • You can report to your manager or the other person’s manager. If for some reason those two options do not work, you can go directly to Human Resources. It is so important for all of us to be wearing a mask. We need to hold each other accountable. It may not be the popular thing to do, but we are trying to protect them as well as ourselves and slow down the spread of the virus.

Employee numbers keep rising. Why do you think that is and what are we doing to protect our staff?

  • Kaweah Health went to universal masking some six weeks ago, which provided protection at work. Additionally, we have promoted social distancing and hand washing as well as the cleaning of surfaces, phones, keyboards, door knobs, etc. I’d say there are three primary reasons why we have additional COVID-19 positive employees and we’ll continue to have:
  1. Patient exposure without proper masking.
  2. Failure to wear masks, social distance and clean while at work.
  3. Choosing not to apply the same precautions when not at work and when around family and friends, or out and about.

How many employees have been helped through the Foundation’s Employee Relief fund?

  • The eligibility for the program was:
  1. Full-time: 36 hours of docking = 18 hours of pay.
  2. Part-time: 24 hours of docking = 8 hours of pay.
  3. For both, PTO accrual of less than 8 hours.
  • The first paycheck this applied was on May 8th – 11 employees received pay. This paycheck today on May 22nd was 8. As we are now bringing more and more employees back to work, we’ll evaluate the contributions that have been made and how to assist more employees.

Now that Covid-19 is community spread in multiple regions, have there been any updates to the restrictions on travel, or after travel to different counties or states by own car or other transportation?

  • We continue to promote self-monitoring (fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense or smell and GI issues, etc.). Local community spread is equally as worrisome as travel to other areas.

How is this COVID crisis going to effect raises and new hires?

  • Our fiscal year begins on July 1 of each year. The Finance Department and Executive Team are working through the budget process now. As Gary Herbst, our CEO reports, Kaweah Health has losses upwards of $21 million and that will increase in May. We do not know if we will receive more government stimulous money or enough to close the gap and offset losses.
  • Developing projections on revenue and expenses for our new fiscal year beginning July 1 will be challenging. We are looking at expense reductions that won’t affect our employees as much, such as cost of supplies, consultants, travel, etc. but we will also be impacted by reductions that will affect our employees. Merit increases for the year starting July 1 may be held. Beginning early this year, we started to freeze open positions that are not “mission critical.” We’ve closed about 100 but still have about 150 open positions. We’ll continue to hire after review and approval by our Staffing Committee.
  • We will be transparent about what the implications are for the next year, and we’ll share that around the end of June/early July I think.

When are we planning to bring the remote employees back?

  • We want to be thoughtful about returning employees onsite too soon and we want to be prepared when they do that we have the appropriate spacing between staff. Based on need, there are some employees returning, but at this point, we’re looking at July 6th as a return date for many. There will likely be some employees who remain remote workers because of job duties or other appropriate reasons.
  • Because of the work happening around budgets and COVID, we are delaying our Executive Team Rounding until the week of July 6th. All VP’s will be scheduled to visit all areas of Kaweah Health; it’s something we look forward to every three months or so.

How many employees are on furlough?

  • We currently have between 140 – 150 employees on furlough. As we start to reopen services, we will see the numbers going down a bit.

Are we going to bring back Volunteers and the Guild?

  • That is a topic also under consideration. I would say not yet. The Guild has a higher percentage of high-risk individuals and we would not want to bring into the work environment at this time. We miss them and I believe they miss us. They have a call to serve and miss their social interactions with Kaweah Health employees and each other.

New areas for lactation?

  • As a hospital that provides Maternity care, we support breastfeeding/pumping for our newest ones if possible. I’m not sure if all of the locations noted below are new, but have taken the opportunity to list all. Some women do use their private offices if they have that available as well. The notes in the column headings include requirements for the space. This information will also be published in the updated Meal and Rest Period Policy the end of June, as Lactation time is also part of an employee’s break time.

Lactation Room Location

Does this room contain a surface to place a breast pump and personal items?

Does this room contain a place to sit?

Does this room have access to electricity or alternative devices, including, but not limited to, extension cords or charging stations, needed to operate an electric or battery-powered breast pump?

Is there access to a sink with running water and a refrigerator suitable for storing milk in close proximity to the employee’s workspace?

Example: HR Conference Room

No, but a table will be ordered and placed in the lactation room.

Yes

Yes

Yes, the department has running water and a refrigerator in their break room area

SSB – one (1) lactation area in the 3rd Floor staff break room.

yes

yes

yes

yes

Mineral King Wing 2nd Floor – 1 lactation room

yes

yes

yes

Running water in nearby restroom

Mineral King Wing 3rd Floor – one (1) lactation room

yes

yes

yes

Running water in nearby restroom

Mother baby (AW3) designated pumping area in the back of their unit

yes

yes

yes

Running water in nearby restroom

South campus (Lactation room next to the urgent care lobby)

yes

yes

yes

yes

Exeter Health Clinic Exam Room 3 in Family Practice Suite

yes

yes

yes

yes

Woodlake Health Clinic

yes

yes

yes

yes

Dinuba Health Clinic

yes

yes

yes

yes

Lindsay Health Clinic

yes

yes

yes

yes

KDMF (GYN Dept)

yes

yes

yes

yes, the room has a sink w/ running water. Refrigerator located near their workspace.

Mental Health Hospital (Breakroom Suite)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Dialysis (Conference Room)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

KD Imaging Center (Dexa Exam Rm)

yes

yes

yes

Running water in nearby restroom

We heard there was going to be Anti-Harassment Training?

  • Yes, the State of California is mandating all employers to provide one full hour of training to all employees by the end of 2020. We’ll be doing that through Net Learning. It is mandatory. We hope it will make us a stronger organization as we continue to promote an Ideal Work Environment full of professionalism and respect and zero unlawful harassment.