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October 16 Employee Huddle

October 16, 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

1. I know how important it is for everyone to get the flu shot each year, especially with COVID-19 this year. In the past employee’s families could also get their flu shots at the Urgent Care and we would get a discount if I had my badge. Will the same thing be happening this year and when will that start?

  • Yes, both urgent care clinics have a walk-in nurse visit process set up. Family member’s needs to come with the employee, the charge is $20.

2. Do you have an update on when employee flu shots will be available? The flu shot clinic at Lifestyles this week ran out and they said they were on backorder.

  • The clinic at the Lifestyles Center Wednesday morning had some flu vaccines available. We had ordered 5,000 of them, but manufacturer could not fulfill the order. Gloria is working with Clint Brown to acquire at least 400 vaccinations for Friday to give to the people from today who need them still when they return for TB test reads. If we do not have confirmation of the next shipment by Friday we will alert the health care teams that flu shots are not available next week.

3. Can we get a more accurate timeline on when the Lifestyles gym will be re-opening? Is Kaweah Health not allowed to open the gym until the state allows it or is this just the criteria that Kaweah Health is following?

  • No, sadly not. Gymnasiums are only lawfully allowed to open when a county is in Tier Two. And even in Tier Two you can only open up to 10% of normal capacity. There are gyms open in our county but they are not complying with the governor’s executive order. KD, as a government institution and public hospital, feels a responsibility to follow the governor’s order.

4. Half of the chairs have been removed in the Cafeteria and it is very depressing. What is the reason behind this? It is hard when we can no longer sit with our coworkers during our lunch break. Most of the time the very few tables outside are always taken, so sitting outside it’s not always an option.

  • The chairs were removed before alternate plans were put in place. We are trying to increase protections but recognize the limited eating space and the loneliness of eating alone. We are adding eating space inside the Acequia Wing Conference Room from 1000-1600 and 2200-0600 every day. These are the same hours for the Blue Room for the foreseeable future. We are also checking on putting up those clear plexiglass dividers on tables to continue to raise the level of protection for all of you, especially as we move toward visitors resuming.

5. What is Kaweah Health’s opinion on Prop 23? How would a yes or no vote impact us?

  • Prop 23 would impose new requirements on dialysis centers. It would require that all dialysis centers have more stringent staffing and have a physician present at all times dialysis is given to all patients. It would not have significant impact on us. We operate at this capacity and more. This would impact a company like DaVita and other for-profit centers. If Prop 23 passes, Dr. Haley our Medical Director, or another physician will have to be there every day. Kaweah Health has not taken a formal stance on this proposition.

6. I saw that KD is offering COVID 19 rapid testing at no costs. Is it limited to one test per person or can I go back and get more tests done in the future at no cost?

  • Kaweah Health is not charging patients related to COVID testing. You can access it multiple times if needed. The federal government has set up legislation that COVID testing costs will not be transferred to patients. As long as this is in effect, we will continue to avoid co-pay related charges for COVID testing.

7. Should we be encouraging “joe public” to get COVID tested even if not symptomatic?

  • That is a tough question right now. We have a testing platform for antigen testing but the state does not use results from the antigen testing platforms in their numbers. If “joe” can get a molecular or PCR test done and wants to get a test then I would recommend him going for it. If he is positive then it is good that he knows, if he is negative and it adds to our denominator that is good too. If “joe” gets an antigen test he gets good information in that moment too. No matter what “joe” does, he should still wear a mask and avoid large gatherings.

8. Any date on when free COVID testing will be available in Visalia Urgent Care clinics?

  • The test kits will be available at both urgent care clinics within a few weeks. They are available now at the Lindsay, Exeter, and Dinuba Rural Health Clinics and VMC Quick Care.

9. What is the purpose of filling out the performance self-evaluation when we are not getting a raise? It is a lot of work to put comments with details of past experiences with no benefit for us.

  • It is something leadership looks forward to. We take it very seriously as this is an opportunity for an employee to meet with their superior and have collaboration on how each other are doing. Everyone deserves to have an evaluation whether there is merit tied to it or not. Performance evaluations are also a Joint Commission requirement as well.

10. There was a recent study done by the CDC that showed that 85% of the people in their study that contracted COVID-19 wore a mask almost “always”. With this new information will Kaweah reevaluate the mask mandate for all employees? Will you consider only making it mandatory for employees that are only in contact with COVID positive patients?

  • This article focuses on a research study that had several flaws in it. We are not going to change our masking policy. Masks still prevent the spread of COVID.

11. What are the ages of the last eight people who have died at Kaweah Health from COVID?

  • The most recent eight people who died from COVID at KD were ages 48, 51, 58, 65, 67, 80, 80 and the oldest was 88.

12. What is the time frame to be seen by a physical therapist at Therapy Specialist on Akers? How long is the process from when they receive the order from the Physician until calling the patient to set up an appointment? Also, why are we not allowed to make future date appointments if we have been seen there before and know it’s going to take more than one appointment to be fixed?

  • Once they receive a referral/order from a physician, our staff typically will log the referral and call the patient to schedule within 24-48 hrs. (Veronica, can you verify this time frame?) If the patient is looking to begin physical therapy asap, our staff then look to schedule the patient for the nearest available date/time that works for the patient (this timeframe of course will vary depending on patient availability, etc., so it’s tough to throw a definitive timeframe out there).
  • After initial evaluation, we actually encourage patients to schedule out their visits as far out as they are able to in order to secure their preferred dates/times, with frequency depending on the physical therapists’ plan of care for treatment, determined at initial evaluation.
  • If anyone has experienced something different than this, Kevin Bartel or Veronica Rodriguez are available to discuss to remedy the process and any fallouts.

13. What is the process or time frame for blood being drawn at the Urgent Care on Demaree? Can they start having lab draw services available on the weekends?

  • The lab and clinic leadership is actually working on this weekend volume issue. The urgent has a Medical Assistant who does lab draws but is also part of the Urgent Care patient care team. On the weekends the volumes get high since they are the only station open. When you are walking in for a service rather than making an appointment wait times are a possibility. Anticipating workloads and staffing for an unpredictable volume can be difficult and inefficient. If you have to have routine blood draws on the weekends, you may want to reach out to urgent care leadership and see what they recommend as the best time to come when volume is lower.

14. Kaweah Compass has been live for a few weeks now and it seems like employees are less informed about things happening around the hospital than when the District Daily was being sent. It is possible to have the District Daily come back with only important information and the employee anniversaries? Kaweah Compass just does not seem as to be working based on feedback I’ve heard from employees around me.

  • Changing a communication system evolves over time and, in fact, it has been changing since the very day it was released. The District Daily was “pushed” out each day by email and I understand that it is difficult to go do another site and “pull” information. Thank you for the feedback and we will work with the Kaweah Compass committee to figure out ways to push it out to the organization so that our employees feel informed.