24 March, 2020
Hi Team –
Like many of you, just a few short weeks ago, I was looking forward to the NCAA Tournament, the start of Major League Baseball, outdoor concerts, and so much more that comes with the beginning of spring. And in less than two weeks, everything has changed in seemingly unimaginable ways – in our world, in our community, in our home lives, and yes, here at TriHealth – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we’re now responding daily and even hourly to the changes in local, state, and national mandates for COVID-19 response measures. As an example, in less than 24 hours, I have had to recraft and update this message multiple times to ensure it provides you with the latest information and guidance.
So, without a doubt, these are truly extraordinary times, calling for extraordinary measures as we join with our community, the nation, and the world to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to serve those in need during this time of constant change and profound and prolonged crisis. Given the importance and urgency of providing immediate, accurate, and consistent information, you will now be receiving all Weekly Updates from me directly, instead of through the regular cascade process from your leader. Please bear with the added length, and take the time to read it thoroughly to stay fully informed during these ever-changing times.
Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to round and talk with hundreds of team members and I could not be more proud or impressed by your selflessness and readiness to put patients first as we escalate our COVID-19 response! In every department, at every TriHealth facility – from our COVID-19 dedicated work teams to the front lines of our ED and alternate patient-care sites – our people are going above and beyond to calmly prepare for, prevent, and treat COVID-19 cases, while also being incredibly supportive and reassuring to our patients, their families, and each other! Because of your heroic efforts, we have made truly REMARKABLE progress in just a few short weeks to adjust and adapt to the constant changes – on all fronts – resulting from this pandemic. The following Update provides the latest news and information about our progress…
- “Stay at Home” mandate issued to all Ohioans, effective Sunday, March 21, 2020. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Health Director Amy Acton, MD, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted issued a "stay at home" order which mandates that all Ohioans stay in their homes for all but essential outings and closes down non-essential businesses, as defined by the Dept. of Homeland Security. TriHealth already proactively responded to this mandate a week ago when we temporarily discontinued non-essential services across the system to protect patients, prevent COVID-19 spread, and preserve needed patient protective equipment and other needed supplies.
- Answering the call to create a new Healthcare Delivery System for this pandemic. Our TriHealth commitment to “Lead the Way in Getting Healthcare Right” has never been more essential or more meaningful than it is today. And our TriHealth team has demonstrated, without question, that we have what it takes to fulfill this commitment – as well or better – than anyone in our industry! Through thoughtful, evidence-based planning and decisive action by multi-disciplinary teams, we have quickly shifted priorities to put in place scalable COVID-19 response infrastructure, preventive measures, and new protocols to appropriately and effectively address this growing pandemic as it evolves. Since last week, we have:
- Temporarily closed TriHealth Evendale Hospital and all TriHealth ambulatory surgery sites, and cancelled all TriHealth elective surgeries indefinitely to protect staff and patients, preserve essential medical equipment and supplies, and comply with state mandates.
- Instituted Team Member Fever-Check Stations at TriHealth locations to ensure all team members are “fever free” when arriving at work, to keep our patients and each other safe and well protected. GOOD NEWS! Since our checking began, no physicians or team members have screened positive, an affirming indicator that our highly proactive safety and prevention measures are working!
- Expanded channels for sourcing medical equipment and supplies to meet anticipated demand, and instituted system-wide inventory and tracking practices to ensure team members and physicians have what they need, when they need it.
- Created alternate care sites for EDs and TPP sites to segregate suspected COVID-19 patients and reduce possible exposure.
- Instituted conservation protocols for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), blood, medications, and other essential supplies.
- Modified our Visitor Policy in collaboration with other area health systems to limit possible transmission to our patients and staff within our facilities. Click here for latest restrictions.
- Expanded scope and frequency of internal and external communications to keep team members/physicians and the community educated and informed. Here’s this week’s internal communications schedule:
- Monday, March 23: NEW! DAILY (M-F) COVID-19 Video Update from Dr. Joseph, TriHealth CMO
- Tuesday, March 24: CEO Weekly Update emailed every Tuesday to ALL physicians, team members, and volunteer board members
- Tuesday, March 24 @ 12pm: Team Member Town Hall livestreamed on Facebook here and Bridge here
- Wednesday, March 25 @ 6:15pm: Physician Town Hall livestreamed on Facebook here and Bridge here
- Friday, March 27: Weekly COVID-19 Email Update from Dr. Joseph, TriHealth CMO.
Additionally, please continue to check the Coronavirus Hub daily on Bridge for the latest updates.
- Staying strong as One TriHealth Team & Community through this time of hardship. With every proactive and preventive measure being put in place to respond to this pandemic, we are also now feeling the very real financial impact – personally, professionally, and organizationally – as we all are asked to do more with a lot LESS. The American Hospital Association (AHA) predicts that the U.S. healthcare industry will experience $100 billion in costs resulting from the pandemic response measures. At TriHealth, the necessary decision to shut down elective services and facilities has resulted in a more than 50% reduction in our net revenue, which will continue throughout the active phase of this pandemic.
While we remain a very strong health system, we must now (in addition to our decisive steps to transform our healthcare delivery system to respond to this pandemic), take equally decisive steps to ensure we remain a financially strong and successful organization so we may continue to carry out our mission, caring for one in three Cincinnatians in the face of these serious health and economic challenges! And history has proven that the best way to stay strong through adversity is to join together as ONE community in service to each other. There is no better community than our TriHealth community to rise to this occasion – and rise we will by coming together in Shared Sacrifice, great discipline, and a sharp focus on priorities based on: 1. What’s best for our patients; 2. What’s best for the long-term viability of our health system; 3. What’s best for our physicians and team members.
- Providing team member hardship relief to those most in need. We recognize the escalating hardship this pandemic has placed on our team members in so many ways – especially, those team members who are now required to stay home from work or who must do so to care for children out of school or family members in need. TriHealth is working overtime to continually adjust our HR policies and support structure to provide help. Here are some of the latest actions in place or underway:
- Instituting special pay and benefit practices to minimize the adverse impact on team members for the next 60 days and longer, if necessary. TriHealth is amending its PTO and Extended Illness Bank (EIB) policies to provide greater flexibility and financial relief to enable team members to take additional paid time off, as needed, without an adverse impact to their benefit accruals. Additionally, to provide further relief, the system is amending policies related to PTO advances and PTO sell options. And as a reminder, team members have the ability to temporarily suspend 401(k) contributions, if they choose, to preserve more regular income. More details from HR to follow.
- Established COVID-19 Emergency Team Member Relief Fund – TriHealth is contributing $2,000,000 to this fund and asking our sponsors and foundations to similarly contribute to provide financial support to qualifying team members who are experiencing financial hardship due to this pandemic. More details from HR to follow.
- Created a Staffing Support Center to facilitate staff reassignment of TriHealth team members to higher-need roles throughout the system.
- Executive and Senior Leadership Team taking a cut in pay to participate in the necessary shared sacrifice with team members and physicians, as their work and compensation are directly impacted by the significant reduction in elective services due to the COVID-19 preventive measures.
Please know, your TriHealth Leadership Team is working side by side with you as we continue to “do whatever it takes” TOGETHER to deliver the safest, highest-quality care and service possible to every patient we serve – while fully supporting YOU, our physicians, and team members every step of the way, during this unprecedented global crisis. In the coming days, your leader will be talking more specifically with you and members of your department about how these adjustments will be made at the local level, as we continue to adapt and respond together to these temporary, new realities of healthcare driven by COVID-19.
THANK YOU for your extraordinary work and sacrifice – with it, we WILL emerge stronger as ONE!
Thank you Tri Health for your leadership.
Posted by: Carol Johansing2 on 02 April, 2020
Thank you to Trihealth leadership for their support. Can we get more information on the flexibility of PTO and EIB from HR?
Posted by: Team Member on 28 March, 2020
I am concerned about the lack of PPE provided to and encouraged for our pregnant colleagues caring for patients.
Posted by: Casandra Spreen on 27 March, 2020
I am proud of TriHealth and the work leadership is doing. Thank you so much.
Posted by: Paula Thomas on 27 March, 2020
Are Pregnant people aloud to deliver to floors with COVID19 patients on them?
Posted by: Debra Lind on 26 March, 2020
THANKS FOR THE UPATES!
Posted by: Constance Baldwin on 26 March, 2020
We were told that HR would have a "plan" in place for Tuesday (March 24) regarding policies for time off. According to above statement, this is still not in place. It would go a long way to have that information for the employees and not "in the works".
Posted by: Team Member on 26 March, 2020
I feel well informed on Trihealth's efforts during this time, thanks for the updates and daily videos from Dr. Joseph.
Posted by: Michelle Brune on 25 March, 2020
It would be great if we got specific information instead of vague promises.
Posted by: Tonja Bales on 25 March, 2020
Thank you for the updates and info!
Posted by: Donna Baker@mhmh.trihealth.com on 25 March, 2020
The temperature monitoring at entry points is ineffective using the temporal monitors. My temperature today was 95.8. We are walking in from the parking lot making out foreheads cooler than normal. Using this method,the monitoring is pointless and offers no protection to anyone.
Posted by: Team Member on 25 March, 2020
We still do not have enough protective equipment in the hospital gowns, masks etc.
Posted by: Team Member on 25 March, 2020
Posted by: Karen Gunther on 25 March, 2020
THANK YOU FOR THE CONTINUOUS UPDATES AND YOUR SERIVICE TO AND FOR YOUR TRIHEALTH TEAM!
Posted by: Melanie Jackson2 on 25 March, 2020
Posted by: Deborah Taylor on 25 March, 2020
thanks for keeping us updated.
Posted by: Karen Alleman on 25 March, 2020
Can we use our frozen EIB during this time?
Posted by: Carolyn Sparks on 24 March, 2020