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September 18 Employee Huddle

September 18, 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 September 18

Are preparations being made in advance to administer the COVID vaccine for employees and the public?

  • Yes. Vaccines would be allocated to the county from the state. We have provided them with our employee numbers.

Will certain employees be a priority over others?

  • If there is a limited supply, the vaccine will be made available to employees who make patient contact in the course of their work first, then the rest of our health care team.

Are plans being made to track and follow up on administered COVID vaccine?

  • We will likely follow a similar process to our flu vaccination process with capturing who received the vaccine through Employee Health.

Can you explain the new sick leave policy surrounding COVID-19?

  • We sent an email communication informing staff of the new law and, within minutes, we were notified that the government had made an additional change to the regulations that we had received. At this time, we do not know what the impact is on our organization. The latest communication is currently being reviewed by our legal counsel. If the regulation goes through, an employee will be paid by Kaweah Health for their regular work schedule if they need to be tested or have to go on quarantine due to a positive person in their home.

Will Kaweah only pay for 14 days?

  • There is a daily limit of how much we can pay and a max of $5,110 per employee. If you are quarantined or ill, the HR team will reach out to you and clarify how you will get paid.

If you were exposed to COVID, how many days does it take to develop symptoms?

  • Symptoms take about 5-6 days to show and, in some cases, it can be up to 14 days. If you are exposed to someone we advise you to watch yourself for two weeks.

Will KD be accepting donations by those who were affected by the fires?

  • Jorge Ortega is collecting employee relief applications and we will offer whatever financial support we can. This fund may have to be taxable income. We are not accepting items and employees will need to go through the American Red Cross if they have things to donate.

I have been told by community members that they are receiving scam/phishing phone calls. These scam callers are saying that they are from Kaweah Health Hospital and warning them that their social security number was used in Texas. (Not sure how many of these are taking place in the community and to our elderly and vulnerable populations but perhaps the scam needs to be addressed on our social media pages?)

  • Scammers are using a lot of different methods during this pandemic to get people to give them information. Anyone who receives a call asking for this information needs to just hang up and block the call. Fraudulent unemployment claims have also hit our employees. We will be reaching out to Ben Cripps, our Chief Compliance Officer, to uncover how that occurred and audit each unemployment claim.

Will the Quidel testing be available for employees and the general public who are asymptomatic?

  • Yes, anyone can reach out to our clinics and be tested. They should call the COVID hotline 625-4110 to be registered.

What is the turnaround time that people can expect to get results?

  • Less than 24 hours, typically the same day but sometimes may be the end of the day so expect results the following day.

The visitor restrictions that were put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID have caused frustration, anxiety and depression in patients, their families, and even care providers. With the downward trend in COVID cases, does Kaweah Health have a timeline for allowing a patient to have a visitor?

  • Are we waiting for a specific data indicator before we reduce visitor restrictions? We revisit our visitor policy almost every day. We are monitoring what other hospitals are doing and experiencing and when they are loosening up their visitor policies. If our numbers continue to drop, we might be able to loosen our policy and start allowing visitors in stages.

How did the hospital do financially in the month of August?

  • The hospital did not do well. On Monday, Malinda Tupper, our CFO, sent out an email to the executive team showing how we performed. We experienced (pre stimulus funds) a $4.6 million dollar operating loss for the month as compared to the $980k loss we experienced in August of 2019. We had actually budgeted a $550,000 loss for August 2020, as summer months are generally not profitable due to slow surgical volume in the summer months. However, on a very positive note, Kaweah Health received almost $12 million in federal CARES Act stimulus funds back in July of 2020. These funds are being taken into income evenly over three months. So, with the $3.7 million of stimulus funds recorded as income in August, our adjusted operating loss ended up being $889,000 for the month.