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September 4 Employee Huddle

September 4, 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

Questions and Answer from the September 4 Kaweah Health Employee Huddle

  1. Do we have enough testing supplies to do mass testing of everyone, especially those who think they are negative so we can get our percentage down to the 8%?
  • We are seeing significant movement by the state to increase testing capacity.There are three sites set up in the county for testing without need for provider orders. We have also heard through the county that the state is setting up additional testing sites for mass testing.They mentioned 80 locations, but did not know if that would be 80 locations opened daily or 80 different scheduled events. Kaweah Health is working on expanding our own ability to test in the community with the Quidel platform at the clinics.This will also help bring positivity rates down.
  1. I was just wondering if a discount is going to be made with our insurance for next year? I think on one of the huddles they mentioned they weren’t sure about offering a discount due to budget cuts?
  • Decisions on benefits plans will be finalized within the next two weeks. It is likely that there will not be a discount for biometrics.
  1. Is biometric screening going to matter this year?
  • An annual visit to your provider and biometrics screening does matter to your overall health.
  1. For our FSA childcare plan, will it roll over to next year if it isn’t used?
  • The FSA Childcare plan does not roll over from year to year as the medical/health FSA plan does. These programs are governed by IRS rules. This year because of the pandemic, employees can stop their childcare election during 2020. Please connect with the Benefits/LOA team at 2274.
  1. Will pot luck food restrictions be lifted? If so, when? We have a few groups that would like to provide staff with lunch via buffet style pans.
  • There is still high risk in our county for potential exposure. I do not foresee eliminating potluck restrictions. If the groups could put the meals in individual containers in a controlled environment that might be an option because we absolutely appreciate them taking care of our team members.
  1. When labs are drawn at Demaree Urgent Care, shouldn’t they be made available to a primary care provider?
  • Blood drawn at Demaree is then tested for ordered labs at the Kaweah Health lab. All results are loaded into the patient’s medical record which is then accessible for any provider who has access. Providers who have their fax systems set up to receive results will also receive a faxed result when the tests are complete. These results should have been retrievable in the health record for the primary care provider by 9/1/20. Urgent Care would not have actually received the results, these are sent to providers. I would like to help our Urgent Care team look into this so will connect with the sender to trouble shoot this situation further. We did confirm the process but need to see if there is a disconnect with the system sending results or the provider accessing them.
  1. Can you tell me why we’re asking employees the symptom questions in addition to the temp screening? Shouldn’t employees be notifying their managers prior to coming onto campus if they have symptoms?
  • Yes, ideally, you would check yourself before you come to campus and if you have a fever you are going to stay home or if you have symptoms like shortness of breath cough or headache that is new to you, stay home. You need to get it checked out. What we found is that when people come to work they are used to their normal routine, we are doing one more stop to ask the questions, and majority of the people don’t have symptoms that cannot be explained by something else. We are keeping track and have a log, this helps us show the state and CDC the tracking of symptoms monitoring which is required right now. We are demonstrating we are mindful and showing we don’t have symptoms.
  1. How does this work if an employee does not have a fever but says they have a headache or a cough or any of the symptoms? How as a manager or supervisor are we supposed to determine who goes home? If we send everyone home who says they have a headache won’t this become a staffing issue?
  • While the symptom list is there, there is a certain amount of ownership and investigating when you question someone. There are lots of factors on why someone may have a headache. We don’t expect people go home with a cough or headache if this can be explained by some other source. Please reach out to employee health if the person is concerned with symptoms. If any department would like help on how to screen and best know if someone should be sent home, please reach out to infection prevention or employee health.
  1. Can you go over the employee screening process one more time and what we’re to do with the temperature logs?
  • The team is going to send out a new log with a fax number and with more definitive guidance on them with what to fill out. When it is filled up, you fax it into an e-fax number and it goes to a file. It serves two purposes, if we do have someone who comes up positive we use it as a tracer and secondly, we hold on to all data. Each department needs to have one person who is keeper of the log.
  1. Do the KDMF departments also fax their logs into the Command Center?
  • Yes, use the new logs and new e-fax number.
  1. Our department does not have a thermometer, are there any out there?
  • Yes, just email Amy Baker that you need one. Let her know the department and she will get one over to you.
  1. Will Kaweah participate in deferring taxes for employees?
  • This very new Federal initiative allows for a deferral of a portion of social security taxes, meaning we would not deduct these monies (6.2%) from an employee’s paycheck under certain conditions. The dates are September 1 – December 31. However, any taxes not taken out of paychecks will be paid back by the employee in the first part of 2021 at the rate of 12.4%. It appears that if an employer agrees to this, employees cannot opt out. Right now it sounds like it is optional for employers and we will not be able to do it. Most employers, along with us, would be challenged with implementation.
  1. Can you give us a brief overview of the Lifestyle Center day camp?
  • There are 66 children enrolled and the daily capacity at any given time is 40. We are managing that, but there are 12 on a waiting list. We have a new requirement for a fire department check that will happen in a week and we will apply for the waiver and get 10 to 20 more children. The 12 on the waiting list stay hopeful! We will do the best we can to get you in.
  1. A coworker is out on maternity leave and supposed to come back to work soon. If she resigns because she has no one to watch her baby if she would qualify for unemployment?
  • Please advise her to contact the LOA team at extension 2274; she may already have a contact if she is on leave already. To respond to the question, this employee may be using Family Temporary Disability Leave or other benefits that might affect her eligibility for Unemployment. Or she may not be using a benefit that might be available to her. Ultimately, the Employment Development Department would make the decision about eligibility
  1. The number of deaths as a result of COVID-19 in Tulare County is concerning. Are the demographics available for deaths?We have had 240 deaths County-wide. There are a few different ways we can measure the death rate: the percent of people that test positive for the virus and die from it (240 deaths divided by 14,442 positive cases equals 1.67%; the State rate is 1.8%); or, the percent of the entire County population (480,000) that die from COVID-19 (240 deaths divided by 480,000 people equals 0.05%); or the number of deaths per 100,000 population, the method most commonly used to measure the death rate caused by the annual flu (240 deaths divided by 4.8 (480,000/100,000) equals 50 deaths per 100,000 people; for the 2017-2018 flu season, the flu-related death rate was only 2 per 100,000 people, evidence that having an effective vaccine saves thousands of lives every year.
  • In Tulare County, which pretty much mirrors the State, Latino, African American, Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders have been impacted the most by the virus. Most patients requiring hospitalization have had underlying chronic health conditions, most notably uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension.
  1. Community member chatted into the meeting that the nurses were saying they didn’t have the appropriate PPE. Can you touch on this?
  • It is disconcerting and disappointing that we have nurses that feel that way.
  • There is no doubt about it that at the beginning of this pandemic we were in short supply of the kind of PPE we need to protect employees from the COVID virus. Accordingly, we had to adapt to what we did have. However, conditions have changed dramatically over the course of the pandemic. We have much greater access now. We are now able to provide a new N95 mask to staff members at the beginning of each shift. Just in the last couple of weeks, we have secured over 50,000 more N95 masks. Our future hope is to give a health care team member a new N95 mask each time they enter a COVID-positive patient room. If you feel under-protected, please go to your leadership and ask. Please contact the command center if you feel you are not being provided with appropriate PPE. 624-5000