March 16, 2020
Hi Team –
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic intensifies with cases now confirmed in our own community, including the first confirmed positive case at TriHealth’s McCullough-Hyde Hospital, I want to reassure you that the safety and wellbeing of our team members, physicians, patients, and the community at large remains our highest priority! We ARE and WILL CONTINUE to be FULLY PREPARED to elevate our response to the expected increase in confirmed cases in our own community in the coming days and weeks – and you will continue to be FULLY SUPPORTED and WELL INFORMED every step of the way!
We recognize what an unsettling—and yes, stressful – time this is as you try to juggle the many changes to your work and family responsibilities now being driven by both the activation of our own internal TriHealth COVID-19 Readiness Plan and the national and state emergency measures also being implemented community wide. I speak for the entire leadership team in saying how deeply grateful we are for your continued commitment to our mission of service to our community, and for the “do whatever it takes” mentality so prevalent across TriHealth. I have never been more proud of a team than I am of YOU – our more than 12,000 nurses, doctors, and other clinical and support team members – as we confidently face perhaps the most difficult public health challenge of our lifetimes TOGETHER! Please know that TriHealth and our Leadership team are working tirelessly to support you as we continue to assess risk, evolve our response, and adjust our clinical and support operations accordingly, all as confirmed cases grow within our community.
Please accept my apology upfront for the length of this Update, but there are many important things you need to know…
1. NATIONAL AND REGIONAL COLLABORATION: We are staying prepared with the latest information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments. And all of the region’s health systems are working closely together through The Health Collaborative’s Greater Cincinnati Disaster Preparedness Coalition to facilitate a consistent and coordinated regional response to COVID-19 among all Coalition members. In fact, the state of Ohio, our greater Cincinnati region, and TriHealth are all being recognized as best-in-class national models for our highly proactive and exceptionally well-coordinated response plans and preparations – thanks to the heroic team efforts of our entire healthcare community!
2. STAFFING REDEPLOYMENT PLANS: We have set up a centralized, system-wide HR/Command Center that is working around the clock with leaders of our hospitals, ambulatory campuses, practices, and shared services to develop a workforce support/reassignment plan to map anticipated staffing needs with available staffing resources. We also recognize the hardship caused by school and child care closures and are working to create day care options and flexible work schedules for team members who are unable find their own solutions. We are also committed to allowing as many of our team members as possible to work remotely form home. Our Human Resources and Information Technology teams are now working with leaders to develop the guidelines for “telecommuting” which we expect to roll out later this week. The goal is to stay fully prepared to address growing operational and clinical needs, which will come with increasing confirmed cases, while also supporting team member work/life balance, as well as child care needs. Here’s where we’re at today:
- NON-CLINICAL ROLES: As necessary, team members will be offered the VOLUNTARY opportunity to be reassigned to higher-priority COVID-19 response roles. Your immediate supervisor may reach out to you in the days and weeks ahead to ask for your help in covering other non-clinical areas. We appreciate your flexibility during this time of real need, and encourage you to make yourself available if you are able. Specific details about the types of reassignments needed are being developed and will be shared by HR and your supervisor as they are finalized.
- CLINICAL ROLES: We are preparing to offer physicians and clinical team members, including part-time staff, VOLUNTARY opportunities to increase hours to support the potential need for more clinical staff in high-need emergency response areas. Additionally, we are working closely with The Health Collaborative’s Greater Cincinnati Disaster Preparedness Coalition to source students, retirees, and other clinical professionals to meet increased staffing demands, should the need arise.
3. VISITOR RESTRICTIONS: To keep our patients and residents of the community safe, starting Monday, March 16th at 8:00 am, we began implementation of the following new visitor restrictions, which are aligned with The Health Collaborative’s Greater Cincinnati Disaster Preparedness Coalition guidelines for all regional hospitals:
All TriHealth Hospitals will allow limited visitors, as follows:
- A single individual responsible for transporting a patient coming for a procedure or being discharged from the hospital.
- A single designated partner or primary caretaker for mothers delivering babies.
- End-of-life situations or serious life-threatening condition.
For this selective group of permitted patients, the following restrictions apply:
- No visitors under the age of 14.
- No visitors who have recently traveled outside the country allowed in the building.
- One visitor at a time allowed in patient care areas.
- No one with symptoms of COVID allowed in patient care areas (fever, cough, respiratory symptoms).
- All visitors must check in at nurse’s stations and use hand sanitizer upon entry of the patient care area.
- No siblings allowed on OB floors.
- No students allowed in any patient care areas.
If patients meet these criteria and are approved for visitation, visitors should expect to be screened. Our hospitals’ leaders and providers will consider other exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Please help us widely communicate these updated restrictions to both team members, patients, and family members, and contact your leader if you have any questions.
4. DEFERRAL OF ELECTED SERVICES: Plans are being finalized to defer elective services in order to reduce risk of community spread and allow for redeployment of clinical and non-clinical staff – and limited blood products and supplies – to care for the anticipated growing number of seriously ill patients in the inpatient setting.
5. INSTITUTING FREE-STANDING COVID-19 ASSESSMENT CENTERS: To reduce risk of team member and patient exposure to COVID-19, we will be setting up ambulatory COVID-19 assessment centers outside of our Emergency Depts. on our hospital campuses, as well as designated practices, which are part of TriHealth Physician Partners.
6. COMMITMENT TO REGULAR COMMUNICATIONS: We are committed to ensuring that ALL members of the TriHealth Team – our more than 12,000 doctors, nurses and other clinical and support staff – are fully informed of all aspects of this growing public health threat and how TriHealth and our teams are responding. We pledge to OVER COMMUNICATE with you in the days and weeks ahead to ensure you have all the information and resources you need to feel safe and well prepared as you support our response efforts. In addition to my Weekly Updates devoted solely to COVID-19, you will continue to receive regular detailed updates from Dr. Joseph, Chief Medical Officer. Your leaders will also be frequently sharing updates and key messages during Huddles and team meetings.
• VIEW MONDAY’S COVID-19 TOWN HALLS POSTED TO BRIDGE! Please make every effort to VIEW today’s final live-streamed Coronavirus Town Halls on March 16th at 8pm so you can to hear directly from myself, our CMO, and other system leaders on the front lines and to have your questions answered about our COVID19 response plans and latest preparations. You can view on Bridge or Facebook (no special login required; the livestream will appear on the page when the session begins). If you are unable to participate, you can watch one of the recorded sessions, including Q&As, available this week on Bridge. Additionally, please continue to check the Coronavirus Hub daily on Bridge for the latest updates.
PLEASE NOTE: In support of our dedicated efforts to prepare for COVID-19 patient care, while actively adhering to the social distancing guidelines of not having large meetings, we have made the decision to cancel the March and April HR Forums. We will monitor the situation to evaluate when it’s appropriate to reschedule.
Thank you for your dedicated efforts to reassure patients and families, while continuing to deliver the safest, highest-quality care and service possible during this unprecedented global pandemic. We WILL emerge from this stronger and healthier together!
What will happen if the Governor of Ohio announces a state quarantine like California? No one is to leave their homes. What would this mean for this hospital?
Posted by: Christopher Willis on March 20, 2020
Thank you for the open communication regarding this pandemic!
Posted by: Team Member on March 19, 2020
Greatly appreciate all of the daily update :)
Posted by: Team Member on March 19, 2020
•No one with symptoms of COVID allowed in patient care areas (fever, cough, respiratory symptoms).
does this apply to TPP Offices and Group Health offices as well?
Posted by: Glenna Craig on March 18, 2020
I am proud of our leadership. The communication and attention to safety for team members and customers. May we all stay healthy and celebrate a great job when this is under control. We should all be proud of the jobs we are doing. It takes a full team to get it done!
Posted by: Diana Dorgan on March 18, 2020
Mark and everyone on the Communication Team,
You're all doing a great job and I appreciate the detailed updates.
Posted by: Ryan Francis on March 18, 2020
Thank you for all the updated information.
We are living in trying times.
God Bless each and every person with direct patient care.
Yes, we will be stronger and healthier together we can do this!
Posted by: Kathy Baker on March 18, 2020
I am so impressed with how aggressively TriHealth has responded to this pandemic. I am thankful for the transparency from our leadership as well as the commitment to keep us informed. I sincerely appreciate all of your efforts during these uncertain times.
Posted by: Kristy Sams on March 18, 2020
Thank you very much for all the updates.
Posted by: Ryshema Bailey on March 18, 2020
thank you so much for keeping us updated and feeling safe.
Posted by: Dawn Rupp on March 18, 2020
I am so very proud to work for a company which truly values it's team members, family members and community. The actions we have taken during this time and continue to take are outstanding. I am so very fortunate to be a part of this amazing team!!!
Posted by: Susan Ashbaugh on March 18, 2020
So proud of TriHealth and how they are responding. All of your efforts are much appreciated
Posted by: Terri Sifford on March 18, 2020
TriHealth is doing a great job responding to this national crisis.
Posted by: Jeff Norton on March 18, 2020