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November 13 Employee Huddle

November 13, 2020

Please Note: When time does not allow us to answer every submitted question, we answer questions at the next week KD Huddle. Submit a question now for next week by e-mailing dvolosin@kdhcd.org.

Questions and Answers from the Kaweah Health Employee Huddle on November 13, 2020

  1. If an employee is currently giving to the Foundation and wants to “step up” and increase, what do they need to do?
  • For new or current donors - Go to foundation@kdhcd.org and click the Employee Giving tab and there is a button to click to donate. Put in the “new” amount to donate and the Foundation will respond to you and update your donation record.
  1. I understand that if an employee signs up to donate $5 or more per paycheck they will receive a gift, what is it and will I need to pick up from the Foundation?
  • You will receive a nice hot/cold “We Give” canteen. The Foundation office will contact you to see if you will pick up at the Foundation office or if you prefer it to be delivered to your department.
  1. What is the mother/baby visitor policy right now? An employee’s son and daughter in law are due in about three weeks and she is hoping that she will be able to visit. (Since employees get screened every morning)
  • Unfortunately not. We are only allowing one visitor on the mother/baby unit. We refer to the one visitor as the support person for the baby/mother. In most cases, it is the spouse/significant other. Even though all of our employees are being screened every morning, there is still a chance the staff member is asymptomatic and may be positive with COVID.
  1. Can you respond about Directors recently receiving bonuses during this time when employees are not receiving their performance evaluation percentages?
  • Annually, the Board approves common goals for our Vice Presidents and Directors. These were approved in July 2019 for FY2020 (7/1/2019 through 6/30/2020). The goals are tied to our strategic initiatives on quality, patient experience, the ideal work environment and financials. Kaweah Health honored the accomplishment of the pre-established goals for FY2020 just as we did for merit increases through the same time period 6/30/2020. No bonus plan was approved for FY2021. Please know too that the Executive Team experienced pay cuts during the spring/summer. The last thing we wanted to do was eliminate merit increases for FY2021.
  1. Will we be bringing back the District Daily email?
  • The multiple daily information emails are increasing, all of the information is important, but could all be sent through one email.
  • Also, in discussing with colleagues the anniversary reminders were an employee satisfier as many people used it to quickly send a “Happy Anniversary” or “Congratulations” email.
  • We understand that change is difficult and one great feature of the District Dailey was that it pushed to your email versus having to open it. We have just started with KAWEAH COMPASS and there is more functionality pending. We have a committee that reviews all of the feedback and is listening to all of the recommendations. Communication is critically important so please continue to send in your questions and comments.
  1. There has been a slight uptick in employee positive numbers. How many do we have out on quarantine right now and are you concerned?
  • I am concerned. We were at 21 COVID+ employees a few weeks ago and now we are around 40. This follows Halloween, so with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s around the corner, I’m very concerned the family gatherings will cause an increase in our area. The news is devastating with some hospitals in the country having COVID+ employees work in COVID units as they are desperate for staff. Yes, I’m worried and all should be.
  1. When can we expect to open up outpatient lab draws at Kaweah Health hospital? Can we offer this option back up to at least the employees?
  • The draw station that formerly existed in the hospital Laboratory was slated to close (even without the pandemic) due to the ongoing lab remodel. It was slated to move to a new area on the ground floor inside the Mineral King entrance. Unfortunately, when the new draw station was ready to open, the Emergency Department needed to temporarily occupy this space because of a construction issue with their expansion project. As a result of this, we have shifted our draw station focus to the Plaza draw station conveniently located across the street from the hospital in the Plaza medical building. We hope to re-open the new draw station in the hospital in the near future, perhaps as early as mid-year 2021.
  1. Why does it take so long on the COVID Hotline? Some people are waiting for a long time and some can’t ever get through.
  • We are having extreme phone waits, due to unanticipated staffing needs from increased demand. We have the Urgent Cares that will be live with testing by Monday and hopefully will be able to offset the volume demands at the RHC’s. We also have 4 staff members being added in the coming weeks. We are trying to keep up but it’s getting worse each day with the increased surge in the community. In the next few days and weeks, we will be in a better place.
  1. Also can you explain what is happening with the COVID Vaccine and the likelihood of us getting one here at Kaweah any time soon? Do we have a plan for when we receive it and how it will be distributed?
  • We had a call with the State/CDPH yesterday regarding vaccine distribution. There are specific guidelines from the state/federal government. They developed a tier system (1, 2, & 3) to determine a priority on who gets it first- internally we’ve outlined high-risk areas with the help of the medical/technical team. The county is also working on securing a freezer for the hospital to store the vaccine. The vaccine has to be maintained at negative 90 degrees.
  1. If our county numbers continue to rise will we shut down the hospital again?
  • If the numbers continue to go up in the county, leading to increased hospitalization and capacity becomes an issue; we may have to prioritize elective type of procedures/surgeries to maintain bed capacity.
  1. What is the current process for contact tracing within the hospital?
    Employee Exposure follow-up and Contact-Tracing are performed a little
    differently.
  • Typically Infection Prevention and Employee Health performs Employee Exposure Follow-ups. In this scenario an employee is contacted about a potential exposure. They are interviewed to determine the extent of an exposure or whether an exposure actually took place. Follow-up guidance/care is provided to the Employee by Employee Health. For Contact-Tracing, similar activity is performed as done with Employee Exposure Follow-ups.
  • However, Contact-Tracing requires further analysis of the exposure to determine whether additional contacts to the exposure event need to be evaluated. Infection Prevention applies the Concentric Circle Investigation approach for Contact-Tracing, in where the source of an exposure event is identified and the closest contacts are evaluated/tested for their exposure, if they are symptomatic or test positive the second tier of less direct contacts are evaluated/tested and if symptomatic or test positive the third tier of even more remote contacts to the original source are evaluated/tested and so on. A new source of an exposure is identified through Contact-Tracing at times. When this occurs the contacts for the new source are investigated using the Concentric Circle approach until there are no further symptomatic/positive tested contacts to each of the exposure events.
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic, universal wearing of a source control mask (surgical facemask or cloth mask) has been required since late March/beginning of April of this year. More recently, eye protection was added to this requirement and supported by application of Standard Precautions (based on anticipating a blood/body fluid exposure to droplets to the face/eyes) and/or Transmission-Based Precautions requirements specific to COVID-19, which typically includes Droplet/Contact Precautions and Airborne Precautions for aerosol generating procedures, in which an N95 respirator would be required.
  • When there is an identified breach in the use of appropriate PPE, an exposure has taken place and employees meeting this criteria are notified. Names of potentially exposed employees are provided by unit/department managers, through electronic surveillance tools when applicable, and by word-of-mouth. It is critical for healthcare workers to do their best to avoid the risk of an exposure by complying with Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions described in Infection Control Policy, IP 1.1 Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions available in PolicyTech.
  1. What is Kaweah Health’s policy around having in person meetings?
  • All of the Kaweah Health conference rooms have capacity limits. Right now we are allowing in-person meetings in those conference rooms at 50% capacity. Food is allowed, but, it has to be individually wrapped and there must be 6’ of distance between each attendee. Masks must be won during in-person meetings.