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Dear Community Partners,

Today’s COVID-19 scorecard keeps us informed about our organization and our community:

* The number of patients hospitalized who are positive for COVID-19 is 24 today.

* The percentage of patients testing positive for COVID-19 at Stormont Vail testing facilities has ranged from 6.3 to 6.9 percent the past several days. That is moving to a lower range than we have seen in recent weeks. Percent positive rates above 5 percent are predictive of active community transmission.

* The Call Before You Go number remains at an active level with 197 calls yesterday. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms should call (785) 354-6000 for triage before going to any Stormont Vail facility.

Together we can slow the spread of the virus. Wear a facemask. Social distance by six feet. Wash your hands. Avoid crowds.

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

Great teamwork is evident across our system. It’s important to point out these team efforts and to recognize that together we can accomplish much more than alone. As a team, we need to take care of each other and our patients.

We recently received a letter from a grateful customer of the Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy who wanted to make sure we knew of the great service being provided by our team members who the writer described as a “small, but mighty pharmacy.”

“Of all my dealings with local retail in our community, this particular pharmacy exceeds any other I’ve known,” the customer wrote. Many examples of great work by this team were noted. Here are two that were cited:

  • “I often observed the pharmacist counseling people who were starting new medications. Teaching takes time. It means you care. It also relieves anxiety and promotes better health care outcomes.”
  • “They demonstrate a uniquely, friendly customer service, even with a limited contact by window. Before the need for masks, we could see those wonderful smiles. Now I listen for that smile in their voice…”

The team at the Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy, which is located at 2252 S.W. 10th Ave., has undergone a tremendous amount of change over the past several months. Their walk-in lobby was closed so prescriptions had to be distributed through the drive-through window or delivery.  This was a part of many COVID-19 workflow adjustments.

“Closing the lobby to minimize COVID-19 exposure risk has been a sacrifice not only for our patrons, but for our staff as well,” says Christy Rooks, RPh, BCCCP, BCPS, Pharmacy Supervisor Ambulatory Services, who currently supervises the retail pharmacy team. ”They have worked tirelessly through adversity together, always keeping in mind that Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy is essential to the community, and that our patients are relying on us.”

Dima Awad, PharmD, MS, Administrative Director, Pharmacy Services, adds “Through it all and knowing that more change is coming, they managed to keep an amazingly positive and resilient attitude. It is an empathetic team that cares deeply and mostly about serving the community.”

Christy and Dima said the retail pharmacy has also been more fully integrated with specialty pharmacy and into the Ambulatory team under a new Pharmacy structure.  Christy outlines those changes include:

  • Implementation of the Kansas Statewide Protocol for Administration of Vaccines by Pharmacists, which allows the retail pharmacists to provide for the immunization needs within our community, and to implement interventions that will promote disease prevention and public health.
  • Expansion of Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services to the 2252 S.W. 10th Ave. location. This is an awesome service for our patients aimed at improving outcomes by helping people better understand their health conditions and the medications used to manage them.

The space in the building that was formerly occupied by Healthwise has been re-purposed for use for the immunization and MTM appointments with pharmacists providing those services.

The retail pharmacy team includes four pharmacists, four PRN pharmacists who help when needed, six full-time pharmacy technicians, three part-time delivery drivers and one office supervisor. About half of the staff has been with the organization for 10 or more years, and all total the group has 164 years of experience with Stormont Vail. Christy is new to her pharmacy leadership role and is managing the retail pharmacy on an interim basis until a new manager for retail and specialty pharmacy joins the team in October. “She is going above and beyond and doing a fantastic job at it,” Dima says. “She is talented, dedicated and truly a joy to work with.”

Here are today’s updates:

 

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 28 15 77
Providers 2 2 7
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

09/11/01.

Most of us remember where we were when first learning of the events that day. Fear, uncertainty, anger, heroism, solidarity, patriotism, all swirling within and amongst us. I remember leaving a senior leadership meeting to watch the events unfold and thinking how the world had changed.

Today my mind goes to those who left for work that morning, those who worked in the towers or Pentagon, those who caught a plane to somewhere, those who put on the uniform of a firefighter, police or first responder, all those who were never again.

Their last actions, the “have a good day,” the “I love you,” the note tucked into a lunch bag, the last small moments they shared now memories for those who were close.

These days I sometimes think of those who fall ill with COVID-19 and quickly decompensate to respiratory failure, unconsciousness, critically ill, often alone and not allowed to have visitors, without opportunity to say goodbye. Life can change in the blink of an eye.

 

Life is good, but fragile and changes can

happen fast and without warning.

A learning from 9/11 and from our

COVID-19 experience, the small moments

may become cherished memories, sacred moments.

 

Today marks the 19th anniversary of 09/11/01.

Take a moment to remember, remember the

heroism, solidarity, patriotism.

Here are today’s updates:

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

  Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 28 17 74
Providers 2 2 6
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

A snapshot from the COVID-19 scorecard today:

  • Current number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19: 23
  • Positivity percentage of patients being tested for COVID-18: 8.8%
  • “Call Before You Go” Calls: 193
  • Respiratory Clinic visits: 39

These are all indicators of COVID-19 activity in our region. These numbers trended down from the previous day though they are still higher than in previous weeks.

Help stop the spread of the virus. Wear a facemask. Social distance by six feet. Wash your hands. Avoid crowds.

We together,

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

We have required all team members, patients and visitors who enter a Stormont Vail Health facility, including Cotton O’Neil Clinics, to wear facemasks for five months - since April 7. We knew then, and have learned more through research since then, that wearing a facemask can lower the risk of COVID-19 infection for individuals wearing masks and those in the immediate vicinity.

In addition at Stormont Vail, team members working directly with patients are equipped with personal protective equipment, such as surgical-grade masks and face shields.

Wearing a facemask stops two entry points the virus can enter our bodies – our nose and mouth. Studies have indicated the nasal airway is a location where COVID-19 may gain a foothold in the body. This is possibly the reason why the virus can alter an infected person’s ability to smell. Other research tells us that droplets spewed while talking, singing or yelling can spread the virus from an infected person to others. That knowledge validates the importance of wearing your mask appropriately, covering your nose and mouth.

We have learned through contact tracing that when team members wear their facemasks it can reduce risk to themselves and others if there is an exposure. When team members take a break for lunch or dinner and remove their mask, they need to ensure they are social distancing from their teammates. It’s important to be as cautious around our own team as we are with patients and visitors – or in public.

Please do your part and always mask up while at work or in any public setting. Social distance by at least six feet. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid crowds. Do not share tables or adjacent workspace during breaks for meals or refreshments.

Here are today’s updates:

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

We know that convalescent plasma has been a treatment that has helped some of our patients who are positive with COVID-19. That plasma is coming from individuals who have been ill themselves and since recovered. We have team members who have stepped up to be convalescent plasma donors – and to them we want to express our gratitude.

One donor is Travis Smith, Clinic Nurse Manager, Surgeons’ Office.

“For me, it was real easy. Having my plasma used to help somebody else and help our situation with COVID was what I wanted to do,” says Travis. “There was not a doubt in my mind that this was something I was excited about and looking forward to doing.”

Travis has been able to donate convalescent plasma three times.

“I am hoping it goes to a good cause, to research, to science and to help patients improve their situation,” Travis continues. “From my experience with having COVID, it was a no brainer. I wanted to do my part to help in this crisis and get us past this as quickly as possible.”

Travis says it takes about an hour to an hour-and-a-half to donate. He says he has always made it a point to donate blood when Stormont Vail sponsors employee blood drives and donating plasma was not much different.

“I’m so fortunate to be well and able to be in the position to donate plasma,” Travis says. “I had a pretty speedy recovery and I was blessed for that. Once I was eligible to give plasma, I was thankful to do so.”

Thank you, Travis, for the special ways you take care of our patients and our communities. Thank you to all of the other team members who have had the opportunity to donate plasma or have made the attempt to do so.

Patients who have recovered from COVID-19, whether hospitalized or with less severe symptoms, can potentially donate plasma and are encouraged to contact the Community Blood Center of Kansas at (816) 968-4081 or visit savealifenow.org.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Sunflower Terrace and Espresso South Gift Cards Offered
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

Sunflower Terrace and Espresso South Gift Cards Offered
Sunflower Terrace and Espresso South gift cards are now available for purchase. With just a phone call someone from across the country can purchase meals for their family members who are staying with or visiting a loved one in the hospital. You may purchase a reloadable gift card by visiting the Sunflower Terrace Cafeteria or Espresso South or calling (785) 354-6012.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 29 16 69
Providers 3 3 5
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

COVID-19 Scorecard
The number of hospitalized patients positive with COVID-19 is now at the highest level we have seen. We currently have 27 inpatients who have tested positive. Today, we saw a slight decline in the percentage of patients testing positive at Stormont Vail facilities. Today’s positivity percentage is 9.8%.

Note about testing percentages: On or around Aug 27, test results from one of our reference labs stopped flowing into reports used to generate the percentage calculations. This issue has been fixed. As a result, testing percentages were generally elevated about 2-3% over the previous week. This coincided with a real increase in testing positivity, masking the problem. The new percentage numbers reported on the scorecard reflect corrected results and are no longer delayed by four days. They show an increase of test positivity since Aug 26 from 8.2% to values over 12% a few days ago.  These have been our highest percentages to date with the previous peak occurring early July at 11.5%.

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

Labor Day is a day set aside to honor and celebrate the works and contributions of laborers and to recognize the American labor movement which brought many advances in the safety, dignity and compensation for American workers. We celebrate this holiday on the first Monday of September. Given this timing, it has also come to be celebrated as the end of summer and beginning of autumn, a transition to focus on the return to school, fall sports, political campaigns and the many rituals of this season.

This year, most of the same transitions are occurring, but all are shadowed by COVID-19. All of our traditions and rituals must accommodate our individual efforts to protect each other and our collective commitment to slow the spread of the virus. I hope you are able to set aside time to celebrate this weekend in ways that honor our commitment to each other.

September is also the last month of our fiscal year, the increment of time over which we measure our financial and clinical performance. We started the year with a strong and ambitious plan, and our performance measured against this plan was “hitting it out of the park.” The first six months of the fiscal year, through March, were challenging in all the ways to which we are accustomed, and we were meeting those challenges well. Then came the COVID-19 effect, the cessation of non-urgent care and a complete disruption of our operations. As a team, we made difficult decisions and rose to the many challenges that seemed to change daily.

Through the often times heroic and always professional efforts of our team, along with tremendous support from our community and from local, state and federal government and agencies, we have begun to gain back our operations and a more normal cadence to our work. It is impossible to list all of the many sources of support we have received, and equally impossible to quantify the many ways we’ve cared for our communities, for our patients and for each other.

Through my regular communications to our team and the community, I have tried to share the many ways our team has risen to the challenges as well as express my gratitude for the support received from individuals and community partners. Today’s communication marks the 100th one I have written since Incident Command began meeting March 17.  Timely and informative updates about where we are as an organization have been important during this pandemic. We also added a COVID-19 scorecard to provide additional details about our daily operations and capacity.

We began this journey with an emphasis on “We Together” – the closing I began adding to my communications just days after I started writing to you. At that time in mid-March we were facing uncertainties on many fronts – understanding of the virus itself and the appropriate clinical response, economic disruption, fears of the unknown. We didn’t know then how we would be tested or how important “we together” would become.

This fiscal year has been one for the history books. On behalf of our Board of Directors and the Operating Committee, I want to convey our thanks to all of our team members for their individual contributions and our collective successes as we’ve worked to improve the health of our communities. I look forward to sharing with team members soon the details of a significant recognition for their work in the form of a retention award.

Our extraordinary teamwork will ensure our ability to meet the challenges in our future. We together will continue to face the challenges brought by COVID-19. This pandemic will still impact our mission and our lives for many months to come. I am confident that with a team like we have at Stormont Vail, along with our supportive community, we are poised to meet the challenges ahead. Our teamwork is having an impact as we care for each other and for our communities. Stay connected. Support one another. We together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • More on Masks
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

 

More on Masks

We require that everyone over the age of two – which includes patients, visitors and team members – wear a facemask when they are inside any Stormont Vail or Cotton O’Neil facility. Patients will be provided a mask if they do not have one. Mask types not allowed are N95 vented masks, fabric masks with vent, and now additionally bandanas or gaiter masks.

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 31 16 68
Providers 3 2 5
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

 

Have a safe and healthy Labor Day weekend. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands. Avoid crowds.

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

Convalescent plasma is the most promising treatment available now for hospitalized patients with COVID-19, says Dr. Hassan Taha, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Taha was instrumental in getting Stormont Vail involved in the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program.

“I feel like we are on the right track providing such a promising treatment to our community in Kansas,” says Dr. Taha.

Stormont Vail recently enrolled our 56th hospitalized patient with COVID-19 in the Mayo COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program (EAP). In the past week, Mayo Clinic announced its intention to discontinue enrollment in the EAP as the Food and Drug Administration authorized an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of convalescent plasma. What that means for our patients who are ill with COVID-19, is that convalescent plasma, if appropriate, continues to be a treatment option.

The FDA has authority to issue Emergency Use Authorizations in response to public health threats from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense and can allow unapproved medical products to be used to treat serious or life-threatening diseases such as COVID-19.  Convalescent plasma continues to be evaluated in traditional clinical trials, but it is now more widely available to patients in parallel with the research process.

“Fifty-six is a great number. However, I hope we use this resource available to us more frequently and provide this promising treatment to those with life threatening disease or those at risk for life threatening disease,” Dr. Taha said. Our patients who received the treatment reported few adverse reactions, and those who received it early experienced fast and quick recoveries, he added.

A retrospective analysis released by the Mayo Clinic, provided to the FDA prior to the change to Emergency Use Authorization, indicated convalescent plasma signals of efficacy are associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality. It has been linked to reduced seven-day mortality for patients infused within three days of COVID-19 diagnosis. Similar trends were reported at 30-day mortality. This analysis included 35,000 patients. Dr. Taha said our patients are included in this analysis.

Dr. Taha says that the criteria for hospitalized patients to receive convalescent plasma is simple.

  • Those at risk of developing severe disease, based on age and underlying comorbid conditions.
  • Those with severe life threatening disease.

He said the current data and literature indicates that most benefit is when plasma is transfused within three days of diagnosis. He notes those at Stormont Vail who improved and responded the best were patients who received the treatment early in their illness.

Several of our first patients hospitalized for COVID-19 who received the convalescent plasma treatment later donated plasma after their recovery, Dr. Taha said.  Patients who have recovered from COVID-19, whether hospitalized or with less severe symptoms, can potentially donate plasma and are encouraged to contact the Community Blood Center of Kansas at (816) 968-4081 or visit savealifenow.org.

Here are today’s updates:

 

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 32 17 65
Providers 4 1 5
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

 

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

Bringing health care services closer to home has long been a practice of Stormont Vail Health. Over the years, we have developed a network of primary care clinics across our region to serve patients in their own communities. We also have many specialists who provide care through those clinics and other regional locations as well.

With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the region, an initiative to create respiratory clinics for communities outside of Topeka was a natural move, says Dr. Mark Thomas, Interim Vice President, Primary Care.

“This is being done for patient convenience,” says Dr. Thomas. “Patients can now get testing and evaluation closer to home without the need to drive to Topeka. We are also setting up these respiratory clinics in anticipation of more people needing testing in the fall and winter months and as the schools reopen.”

The respiratory clinics are for patients who are exhibiting respiratory or COVID-19-like symptoms. They keep those patients separate from non-respiratory patients as a way to reduce the risk of exposing other patients and team members.

“We can isolate and thus protect non-respiratory patients from exposure,” says Dr. Thomas. “We are able to get the respiratory patients in quickly because there are dedicated spots on the schedule each day to be used for these types of visits.”

Our respiratory clinics collect specimens for COVID-19 testing. Soon these clinics will be equipped with point-of-care testing. This means that the tests will be run at the clinic with the results available during the timeframe of the visit.

The first respiratory clinic opened by Stormont Vail is at Cotton O’Neil North, 4505 N.W. Fielding Road. We have also opened respiratory clinics in Manhattan, Wamego and Osage City. In addition, there are plans to develop a Topeka clinic dedicated to pediatric patients, and expand adult respiratory clinic capacity later, if needed.

The respiratory clinics are appointment only. Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms can utilize Stormont Vail’s Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000. They should select “1” from the main menu then “4” to speak with a nurse who will assist them in determining the next steps.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Honors for Stormont Vail Team Members
  • Door Screeners Needed
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

 

Honors for Stormont Vail Team Members

Two of our team members are being recognized as Topeka’s 20 Under 40 2020 honorees.

Chad Yeager, RN, Administrative Director of Performance Improvement and Quality, and Rachel Ault, Nurse Manager, Pediatrics, Pediatric Intensive Care, Young Adult Center and Child Life, were notified Thursday that they will be recognized at the 11th annual 20 Under 40 banquet Nov. 12. We are extremely proud of both of these team members.

Chad helps Stormont Vail deliver care in the most effective and efficient ways possible to create a healthier community. He leads improvement efforts across the system, including a redesign of primary care models to place focus on preventative care and addressing social determinants of health. He has been very involved in our organization’s response to COVID-19. Chad is co-founder of The Fuse Foundation, an organization that provides opportunities for social networking, support and education for young adults with neuromuscular diseases. Chad serves on the Marian Dental Clinic board.

Rachel impacts the health of children in the region by advocating for their needs as inpatients. She works on initiatives to support families facing medical challenges. She is a member of the Society of Pediatric Nurses, a Pediatric Advanced Life Support Instructor, and chairs the Stormont Vail Research & Evidence Based Practice Council. She led the effort to help Stormont Vail become a Certified Safe Sleep Hospital. Rachel is co-coordinator of the Safe Kids Shawnee County coalition, serves on the Healthy Babies workgroup for Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods and is a certified child passenger safety technician.

Door Screeners Needed

There several opportunities for team members to have approved overtime to fill vacancies in the door screener role at the hospital or clinic. If you interested, please contact Sarah Elsen at (785) 354-6084 or sarah.elsen@stormontvail.org.

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 40 18 61
Providers 1 1 5
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

 

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

Soon after the pandemic reached our region in March, we launched an aggressive telehealth program to facilitate new ways for patients to connect with their primary care and specialty providers. This is accomplished through online and telephone appointments.

We continue to refine these methods to provide safe and convenient connections for our patients and our team. Over the past several weeks, we have seen steady increases in the use of telehealth.  The scorecard indicates we had 960 telehealth visits last week. That compares to 896 and 886 visits during the two weeks prior.  Monday through Wednesday this week we have had 605 telehealth appointments – a good sign that we are transforming the way we provide healthcare in appropriate situations.

Here is today’s COVID-19 scorecard: English | Spanish.

We together,

Dr. K

CLARIFICATION:
If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are feeling ill and have COVID-19-like symptoms will want to select “1” from the main menu and “4” to speak with a nurse who will triage them to determine next steps. Calls are answered in the order they are received.

Dear Community Partners,

With community spread of the COVID-19 virus in our region, it’s important to practice measures to keep you and others from getting infected. Wear a facemask in public, wash your hands frequently, social distance by at least six feet, and avoid crowded situations.

If people are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or two or more of these COVID-19-like symptoms: headache, fatigue or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, chills, congestion or pink eye, use our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 prior to visiting Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil location to facilitate the safest care.  An auto attendant at that number will provide prompts to help navigate callers to the appropriate services.  Individuals who are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms will want to press “3” and stay on the line. Calls will be answered in the order they are received.

Here is today’s COVID-19 scorecard: English | Spanish.

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Keeping a finger on the pulse of our organization’s culture is a group of team members called the Cultural Ambassadors. This group meets monthly to discuss how we can create and maintain an environment that upholds our Small Moments culture and supports our team members in their work.

Alison Wilson, Administrative Director of our Mother and Child Services, has been a Cultural Ambassador since the committee was started. This year she is serving as chair. “Our goal is to stay in touch with our team members and to encourage the embodiment of our Small Moments culture,” Alison says.

For most of us, living and working in a pandemic has been challenging. Maintaining a supportive culture for our team members and following the tenets that define our culture has also been challenging.

Alison says the Cultural Ambassadors are exploring ways to better connect and communicate with all team members, especially as more team members are working remotely. She said remote work has its unique challenges. “We want to make sure that communication is appropriate and timely,” she said.

Cultural Ambassadors are also working to address anxieties that impact the team members in the workplace, such as those who are trying to balance remote learning or a new school situation for their children, while they, the parent, go to work.

“During the pandemic we have had to focus more on our basic needs,” Alison says, noting that the temporary shutdown of schools and businesses early on, as well as shortages of certain products and services in the community touched a lot of team members. “We want to make sure that all team members feel like they are safe at work and feel safe when they go home and take care of their families,” she says.

Cultural Ambassadors serve four-year terms. Alison says the committee brings together individuals from across the organization and gives them an opportunity to brainstorm and find ways to build our team and support each other.  There will be openings for two physician members when Dr. Mehmood Hashmi and Dr. Babak Marefat will complete their terms at the end of this fiscal year.

 

Our Tenets:

  • Together we treat e​very patient, visitor, and team member with compassion and dignity.
  • Together we are aware of our surroundings and will purposefully connect by guiding others to their destination, making eye contact and greeting everyone with a smile.
  • Together we own patient safety and the patient experience. We provide safe, high-quality care with a kind and generous spirit.
  • Together we are sensitive to privacy and confidentiality in our conversations and use of technology.
  • Together we honor our heritage, embrace diversity, and work every day to improve the health of our community.​

Current Cultural Ambassadors are:

Kelly Baker, Marketing                                                     Kim Brown, Learning & Talent Development

Tyler Dieker, Cancer Center                                            Blake Edwards, Heart Center

Tara Harding, RN, Internal Medicine                           Mehmood Hashmi, M.D., Cancer Center

Austin Jackson, Planning                                                Kari Kelly, Employee Relations/Health & Compensation

Rob Kenagy, M.D., CEO                                                   Jackie Koch, RN, 3 /4 Pavilion

Marcy Lechner, Provider Rec & Support Svs              Babak Marefat, M.D., Ophthalmology

Shelly McMaster, RN, Care Transformation               Enedina Patch, RN, Infection Prevention

Carol Perry, RN, Administration                                   Alex Rojas, Nutritional Services

Paula Sanders, RN, Rheumatology                               Heather Schimmel, Revenue Cycle

Darlene Stone, Administration                                      Kirwin Watson, Information Systems

Julia Wiebler, PCMH                                                       Alison Wilson, Mother-Child Services, chair

Renea Wilson, RN, Patient Experience

 

Here are today’s updates:

  • Team Member Health

 

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

  Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 39 18 60
Providers 0 0 5
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Back to school is usually full of excitement as the door opens to a new academic year. It is a fresh start to learning. Children, especially the younger ones, are excited to find out who will be their teacher.

This year with the pandemic, everything is changed. School as we have known it is gone. Children may be doing online school, home schooling, in-person classes modified with safety features, or a hybrid style. Teaching may be virtual, managed by family members or friends, through extended day care programs, or teachers in school buildings. Each family has to decide what is best for their circumstances.

We should support our children – kindergarten to college – who are starting school in this unusual environment. Learning and providing knowledge about all the fascinating topics in the world is important in the development of our children. They are the adults of tomorrow. They are our future.

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher Mrs. Hamler encouraged a small group of us to read more advanced books, many with science and mystery focus. This experience contributed to my lifelong love of reading, and these genres.

Those who work in my area at Stormont Vail recently shared our favorite teacher memories. I was struck by how many people mentioned teachers because of their “encouragement” or “investment” in them as individuals. “Mr. See listened and shaped my view on science.”  “Mrs. Kinnan found a way to encourage each of us in our own way.”

Teachers have a special way of making their students feel special. They are so influential to young minds and can be the impetus to career choices and to the love of lifelong pursuits, such as reading or writing. Just as for our children, this will be a different kind of school year for all of the teachers as well. We need to support them, support our parents and our educational organizations in having a safe, healthy and successful school year.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stormont Vail Sponsoring Suicide Prevention Virtual 5K
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

 

Stormont Vail Sponsoring Suicide Prevention Virtual 5K

Stormont Vail Health is the proud sponsor of the 8th annual Shawnee County Suicide Prevention 5K Run/Walk. The event will be virtual and will be Sept. 6-12. With the current stresses upon us, suicide prevention is more critical than ever. SVH has several representatives involved with the coalition. Most all of the donations raised by the coalition goes to provide education on suicide prevention in our community.

With a virtual 5K, participants are encouraged to complete the 5K (or preferred distance) at a location of their choice, alone, with family or within their current social circle. For information, go to Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Facebook page. Registration for $35 or donation only option is available at: https://register.chronotrack.com/r/58826

Even if you can’t financially contribute, you are encouraged to think of one or two people in your life you can reach out to check on. Ask them how they are doing and take some time to genuinely listen. Even though we can’t be physically together now, it is critical that we watch out for each other.

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 28 11 59
Providers 1 1 4
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

 

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Here is today’s COVID-19 scorecard: English | Spanish. We continue to see metrics reflective of community spread of the virus.

If people are experiencing fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, sore throat, headache, sudden loss of smell or taste, intestinal distress or any other COVID-19-like symptoms, call our Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000 before coming to Stormont Vail or any Cotton O’Neil facility so we can facilitate the safest care.

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Trauma didn’t shut down with the arrival of the pandemic. Nor has it taken a summer vacation.

When many community services slowed in the early months of the COVID-19 virus in our region, our number of trauma activations remained steady. In June and July, as communities re-opened and summer activities began, we have seen our trauma volumes hit record level.

As an American College of Surgeons verified Level II Trauma Center, the Stormont Vail Trauma Team response is reserved for those with severe injuries likely to require emergent bedside procedures, advanced airway management, blood transfusion, or damage control surgery.  When called to action, the Trauma Response Team is at the bedside within minutes to provide these life-saving interventions. This response team is a part of the overall trauma team that come from multiple disciplines.

Brinton Baker, PA-C, Director of Trauma Services, said this past July we cared for 192 total trauma patients. That compares to Julys of past years: 183 in 2019, 159 in 2018, and 150 in 2017.

Brinton said, “Elderly falls have consistently been the most common injury mechanism cared for at our trauma center, with motor vehicle crashes in the number two spot.  However for the first time in our trauma center’s history we are now treating more injuries from violence than from motor vehicle crashes.”

Pandemic-related stress and social isolation may be contributing to the uptick in injuries.  “People were cooped up, and now with warm weather here, we’re seeing that added stress translate into more injuries,” Brinton says. “The pandemic is affecting mental wellness. We’re seeing more suicides, abuse, assaults, shootings and stabbings. That’s in addition to an already steady volume of motor vehicle, boating and ATV accidents that typically come in the summer months.”

A game changer for our trauma program is we now have two fellowship trained orthopedic traumatologists on staff: Dr. Shaun Steeby, who has been with Stormont Vail since 2015, and Dr. Michael Tilley, who joined the staff in April. Together they have arranged for 24/7 orthopedic trauma coverage, with the continued support of the general orthopedic surgeons. That ensures the region that a specialist in complex fracture management is always available.

In addition, Dr. Wade Stinson, a critical care and trauma surgeon, joined Stormont Vail this week and will provide new resources in caring for our trauma patients in the acute care environment. Dr. Stinson begins seeing patients in September. As our partners in the region become familiar with this expanded coverage, Brinton believes volumes will grow. Our mix of providers also now helps us expand our care to those with pediatric orthopedic injuries.

Another service enhancement has been the development of a trauma follow-up clinic serving our hospitalized trauma patients once they are discharged. The clinic supports patients to ensure they are progressing with their physical healing. Brinton said ultimately the clinic will provide emotional and behavioral health support services in addition to case management/social work assistance.

Injury prevention is also an important aspect of our trauma program. The department has a robust education and injury prevention program with fall prevention initiatives, bicycle helmet education and giveaways, and suicide and violence prevention efforts. The social distancing of the pandemic has paused some of those efforts, but they are being retooled and we are hoping to resume our innovative and safe ways to reach the community to keep injury prevention and awareness at the forefront. Teresa Taylor, RN, the Trauma Prevention Coordinator and Outreach Educator, says a gunlock giveaway event with community partners is planned for Oct. 10, and plans are being made for a drive-through bicycle helmet distribution event this fall.

No one wants to experience the trauma of injury. Thankfully, the Stormont Vail Trauma Team is serving our community around the clock when every second counts.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stormont Vail Recognized by U.S. News & World Report
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Stormont Vail Recognized by U.S. News & World Report
For the fifth consecutive year, Stormont Vail Health has been recognized among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Stormont Vail is ranked second in Kansas and achieved the highest rating possible in five procedures or conditions: abnormal aortic aneurysm repair, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, hip replacement and knee replacement. This is great validation of our tremendous team and the exceptional care you provide our patients and families. Thank you.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 23 11 57
Providers 2 2 3
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

We have experienced a significant increase in our number of COVID-19 positive inpatients over the past week. We went from a low of three inpatients with COVID-19 last Tuesday, Aug. 11, up to 14 this morning.

Dr. Clif Jones, an infectious disease specialist and Vice President of Subspecialty Care, said it’s likely we’ll continue to see fluctuations and increased COVID-19 positive inpatient numbers because of ongoing community transmission.

Community transmission activity can be tracked through the percentage of patients testing positive for COVID-19. For individuals being tested through Stormont Vail testing facilities, we’re seeing positivity in the 8 to 9 percent range. The rate was 8.9 percent today. Percent positive rates above 5 percent are predictive of active community transmission.

Our testing positivity rate indicates continued community transmission, and after a few days or weeks some of those positive patients will need hospitalization, notes Dr. Jones. The positivity rate is part of the puzzle in understanding virus transmission. Access to testing is also an important factor in getting people tested, then isolating them if they are positive so they don’t infect others.

Dr. Jones says the pandemic is not behind us and we need to be vigilant in following precautions to slow the spread the infection. This is especially important as schools and universities begin reopening.

  • Wear a facemask.
  • Social distance by six feet.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Avoid crowds.

Here is today’s COVID-19 scorecard: English | Espanol.

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Supporting patients, families and team members with spiritual care is intertwined in the Stormont Vail Health story. One of our founders was an Episcopal bishop. Through the years, Stormont Vail has encouraged clergy and spiritual providers from many faith groups to tend to the needs of our patients, families and team members.

Today, we provide assistance to people of all faiths and spiritual beliefs as well as those who have no religious or spiritual background. Spirituality may be expressed through beliefs, values, traditions, and practices. Spiritual needs are interwoven with the physical, mental and emotional aspects of each individual.

Explains Chaplain Regan Saoirse: “The Spiritual Care Department works with and has been open to multiple faith traditions. However, we want to demonstrate to the community our commitment to these efforts. By being more open about our acceptance and inclusion of many faiths, we invite those who may feel excluded to be a part of our Stormont Vail community and we emulate our Stormont Vail values that we hold dear. We together.”

The Spiritual Care team at Stormont Vail has re-tooled and expanded how they reach those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team can be reached from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is on call weekends and holidays. Prayer requests may be submitted on the Spiritual Care department. They also provide Care for the Caregiver one-on-one visits or group visits, either in-person or via Skype.

The Chapel on the first floor of the South Tower is an interfaith chapel inclusive of all religions, according to Renea Wilson, Director of Patient Experience and Spiritual Care. A Sacred Space has been created just to the south (or left) of the chapel.  Weekly meditations take place there from noon to 12:30 p.m. each Wednesday. Muslim Prayer is in the Sacred Space from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Fridays.

Outpatient consults are now available from Spiritual Care. These consults most often are one to three visits, 15 to 20 minutes long and can be in person, by video or by phone. Families can also request a Spiritual Care consult.

We very much appreciate our Spiritual Care team. They are integral to the care we provide to our patients and families each day, and help meet the spiritual needs of our team members.

 

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stormont Vail Showcased in Mayo Clinic Care Network Booklet
  • Wanted: Teachers or Elementary Ed Students
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Stormont Vail Showcased in Mayo Clinic Care Network Booklet

A collaboration between Stormont Vail Health and the Mayo Clinic Care Network team to assess our cardiothoracic surgery program was showcased as a success story in a recent booklet published by Mayo Clinic. Stormont Vail has been a member of the network for six years.

Four Mayo Clinic surgical subject matter experts joined the Stormont Vail team last year to do a thorough analysis and review of our cardiothoracic surgical services.  Recommendations were made following the assessment. Dr. Kevin Dishman, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, was quoted in the article as saying the collaboration with Mayo “set the stage for a successful transformation” and we are moving forward on some of the recommendations.

 

Wanted: Teachers or Elementary Ed Students

We are seeking school teachers or elementary education students who may be interested in paid full-time or part-time opportunities to support our school age program at Building Blocks Child Care Center. Building Blocks is owned by Stormont Vail and is open Monday through Friday. If you are interested, please contact Building Blocks at (785) 232-0441.

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 7 6 57
Providers 1 1 3
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

The guidance to slow COVID-19 transmission sometimes feels like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day when the TV weatherman played by Bill Murray finds himself living the same day over and over.

Ways to prevent the spread of the virus remain the same and the repetition should be practiced every day until we are through this pandemic:

Wear your facemask.

Social distance.

Wash your hands.

Avoid crowded areas.

 

Here is today’s COVID-19 scorecard: English | Espanol.

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

You’ve heard the phrase about “finding a needle in a haystack” when you’re searching for something that’s difficult to locate. Our Supply Chain Department has had that experience over the past months as team members worked to get us the proper personal protective equipment to safely provide care during this pandemic.

When the COVID-19 virus first entered our region, it was already spreading on both coasts. Supply companies were struggling to keep up with the demand and some placed customers on limited allocations. The characteristics of the virus were still being identified at the time and recommendations for PPE were continually changing. This variation made it difficult to stay stocked with the appropriate gowns, masks and other supplies. Adding to the difficult situation, many of these supplies came from China where manufacturing was shut down because of the pandemic.

Kirt Leyda, Director of Supply Chain for Stormont Vail, said that because we had a strong relationship with our distributor, we were able to get access to most supplies and maintain many of our allocations. During this process, we also created a lengthier list of substitute products and added new vendors to help us source needed products.

We began tracking our critical PPE supplies daily using a seven day rolling usage average, which we continue to monitor. Critical supplies include medical rated facemasks, gowns, gloves, face shields, goggles and N95 respirators. Prior to the pandemic we maintained a seven to 10 day supply of critical supplies. We now stock a 90-day supply of critical PPE. Kirt says that the 90-day stock also includes 20 percent growth, which mathematically means we are stocking 108 days of supplies.

What are supply lessons learned from this pandemic experience?

  • We need to continue work on the diversification of supply sources.
  • We need to continue identifying substitute products.
  • We have tremendous community support. The many donations of cloth masks and N95s given by members of the community early on helped us when we were unable to obtain those supplies to keep our team members and patients safe.

Our Supply Chain team stand amongst the vast number of extraordinary team members who have together worked to overcome the challenges presented to us by the pandemic. They work side by side with our PPE Committee to determine the appropriate supplies for each situation. They have provided expertise to secure the appropriate supplies. They are tenacious in their search for supplies and new vendor sources. Thank you to this part of our team for their many vital contributions.

Our gratitude for the community also remains strong today as we look back and recall how many individuals and groups stepped up with donations when they were most needed. We together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Wamego Respiratory Clinic Opens
  • Valet Service at East Door of 901 Garfield
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

Wamego Respiratory Clinic Opens

On Monday, we opened a respiratory clinic in a separate space of the Cotton O’Neil Wamego clinic. This is the third respiratory clinic in our system. The others are at Cotton O’Neil Manhattan and Cotton O’Neil North at 4505 N.W. Fielding Road.

We created these clinics specifically to see patients with any respiratory symptoms or COVID-19 like symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, respiratory issues, etc.) and to keep them separated from other patients as a way to reduce the spread of viruses. The Call Before You Go line is (785) 354-6000.

Valet Service at East Door of 901 Garfield

We began offering valet services for patients at the East Door of the Cotton O’Neil Clinic at 901 S.W. Garfield on Monday. Please let your patients and families know about this new service, available 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). In addition to this location, valet service is available at the hospital’s Main Entrance, the Robert O’Neil Building at 823 S.W. Mulvane, and the Cotton O’Neil Heart Center.

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 8 4 56
Providers 1 1 3
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

 

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

You’ve probably heard of pandemic gardening trend taking root. This started early in the COVID-19 pandemic when shutdowns were occurring in many communities. With limited access to grocery stores, people took up gardening in containers or in their yards.

From a healthy lifestyles perspective, interest in gardening is a benefit of the pandemic. Gardening is known to have a positive impact on mental health and moods, encourages movement and physical fitness, promotes healthier food choices and provides a sense of pride and pleasure.

Personally, I find the time I spend in my garden very regenerative. It is grounding and provides time to reflect. It makes me appreciate our Kansas ancestors who sustained themselves on what they grew.  Kansans are fortunate to experience four seasons and live in a region that gives us ample space to grow gardens and crops.

The idea of gardening in tough times isn’t new. During World War I and II, people were encouraged to grow victory gardens of fruits and vegetables in their own yards and public areas. While life in a pandemic is different, our priorities in trying times often shift to the basics. Growing your own food is basic.

I appreciate this quote from the English poet Alfred Austin: “The glory of gardening; hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

It’s not too late to put in a fall garden in Kansas. Consider some “cool season” vegetables like lettuces, spinach, carrots or radishes. Visit a farmer’s market this weekend and support your local produce growers. We can all use some nourishment at this time – for body and soul. We together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stormont Vail Recognized for Newborn Screening
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

Stormont Vail Recognized for Newborn Screening
Stormont Vail Health has been recognized as a “Best of the Best in Metabolic and Genetic Newborn Screening” for 2019 by the Kansas Hospital Association, Kansas Midwives Alliance and the Kansas Newborn Screening Program. This is a new recognition program for hospitals, facilities and midwives who provide newborn screening services.

This is a wonderful recognition of our team, from the phlebotomist and others in our Laboratory to our team members in Maternal Child areas who help with newborn screening: Birthplace, Breastfeeding Clinic and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Thank you for taking such great care of our littlest patients!

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 10 8 52
Providers 1 0 3
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

 

We together,
Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Regardless of what type of school option is selected for the coming year, there’s no doubt the school year will be a challenge for many families. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all areas of our lives.

The Mayo Clinic provides these back-to-school recommendations:

  • Practice safe distancing. Stay at least six feet apart, even when wearing a facemask. When eating in the cafeteria without a mask, social distancing is even more important.
  • Wear a mask. Also have a clean backup mask. Label masks with your child’s name. Teach children to never share or trade masks.
  • Clean your hands frequently. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Disinfect surfaces routinely, especially frequently touched areas like light switches, door handles, faucets and keyboards.
  • Perform symptom self-checks. Stay home if you are sick.

 

Here is today’s COVID-19 scorecard: english | espanol​. The percentage of patients testing positive for COVID-19 was at 6.6 percent, which is continuing a downward trend. This metric is a seven day average with four-day waiting period built into it to ensure the capture of all results. That compares to a high of 11.5 percent on July 11.

We together,

Dr. K

 

 

Dear Community Partners,

Our hearts are heavy today as we see the devastation in Beirut from the massive explosion that rocked Lebanon’s capital city. Please let your teammates who have family and friends in Lebanon know that they are in our thoughts.

The year 2020 has been a year of challenges – all layered on a global pandemic. It has also been a year of small (and large) acts of kindness, and showing respect and care for others. Take time to savor the small moments. Share virtual hugs.

Here is today’s COVID-19 scorecard.
English / Espanol

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

When the COVID-19 virus first entered our region, we experienced a dramatic slowdown in patients seeking emergent care in our Emergency Department. Many EDs across the region and country also reported the same trend, as noted in an article published Monday in the JAMA Internal Medicine. Some people appeared to stay home and not seek medical care because of their fear of contracting the virus. That was very concerning.

We have learned much about the virus since that time and have put into place many safety initiatives in our Emergency Department. In June and July, we returned to 83% of our regular patient volumes.

However, we are now caring for ED patients with a much higher acuity, meaning they are more critically ill. ED patients are needing more care and procedures for their conditions. We are admitting an average of 29% of our ED patients, and on some days as many as 40%. That compares to about 23% of ED patients being admitted prior to COVID-19.

There are a couple of scenarios about why this may be occurring. First, it may be people are seeking out the appropriate level of care. They may be receiving medical services from our urgent care and acute respiratory care clinics instead of emergency care. Second, there still may be people in the community who fear coming to the hospital for emergent conditions and hold off until their condition worsens.

Knowing what to do in a medical situation is sometimes hard to determine. If you are unsure of what level of care you need, you can call our nurse information line, Health Connections, at (785) 354-5225, contact your primary care provider or visit one of our three urgent care locations.  Cotton O’Neil Express Care offers services with extended hours. Express Care provides care for minor illnesses or injuries that can’t be immediately treated by one’s own doctor or are not severe enough for an emergency room visit.

Our Emergency Department is open 24/7 to care for emergent situations. If you believe you’re having a life-threatening medical emergency - such as chest pain, stroke, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness or a severe injury – call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Our Emergency Department has made many changes to ensure that patients and team members are safe and that care is always available. Our emergency team has done an amazing job through these past few months and is to be commended for the high level of care they provide our community.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Jana Tenbrink Honored
  • SVH Partnership with the 190th Air Refueling Wing
  • Make Your Vote Count!
  • Panda Express Supports Children’s Miracle Network
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

Jana Tenbrink Honored
Jana Tenbrink, BSN, RN, Nurse Manager, Pavilion Critical Care Unit and Intermediate Care, will be honored along with 31 other women as part of the YWCA Northeast Kansas’ 32nd Annual Woman of Excellence Awards. A virtual ceremony will be 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16. In addition to her work in the high acuity patient care departments, Jana manages the Rapid Response Team nurses in the Patient Flow Department and she is the key contact for Midwest Transplant Network. In 2018, she advocated to senior leadership and the Board of Directors to move forward in creating a recognition for all organ donors with an “Honor Walk.” Jana most recently has been involved in initiatives to help us provide care for patients who are COVID-19 positive.

SVH Partnership with the 190th Air Refueling wing
Stormont Vail recently signed an agreement of partnership with the 190th Air Refueling Wing of the Kansas Air National Guard. This continues a relationship between the two organizations in sharing training and educational resources. Twenty-eight individuals from the 190th are conducting their annual training at Stormont Vail, beginning Monday and concluding Aug. 12. There is didactic training the first week and concurrently will include bedside patient care in the intensive care units, Emergency Department and Surgery. The group will also visit IV Therapy, Respiratory Therapy and Rapid Response. These types of bedside experiences will continue under our agreement with the 190th.

Make Your Vote Count!
Today is the primary election in Kansas. Please exercise your right to vote. The polls are open until 7 p.m.

Panda Express Supports Children’s Miracle Network
On Saturday, Aug. 8, Panda Express will donate 28% of online sales to children’s health charities, including Children’s Miracle Network at Stormont Vail. Half of the donation goes to the Children’s Miracle Network and the other half goes to their foundation that supports other children’s charities.

Supporters need to use promo code PandaCaresDay to have Panda Express make the donation. Proceeds from the online sales in Topeka, Emporia and both Manhattan Panda Express restaurants benefit pediatric patients at Stormont Vail Health.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 12 12 47
Providers 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

In this tumultuous year of the pandemic, civil unrest, and the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring, it’s important to find time for reflection.

The past week has been filled with stories and tributes about the late Congressman John Lewis. He was known as a person who fought for freedom, equality and human rights throughout his 80 years. He has an amazing legacy of civil rights leadership. I encourage you to reflect on how he impacted our world and to learn more about him.

John Lewis had humble beginnings. He was the son of a sharecroppers, the third of 10 children. As a child, he experienced racism and segregation when he and his family went to town from their Pike County, Ala., farm.

In 1961, Lewis became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders, challenging segregation on public transportation. The non-violent Freedom Riders were beaten, arrested and taken to jail at times. Lewis was also one of the leaders to organize the 1963 March on Washington when Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1965, Lewis led marches from Selma, Ala.to Montgomery, Ala.  to demonstrate the need for equal voting rights.

Elected to Congress in 1986 from Georgia’s 5th District, Lewis served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been described as the “conscience of Congress.”

John Lewis has been lauded and honored for the many ways he worked to protect human rights and secure civil liberties. Among his honors are two with Kansas connections. He received the 2007 Dole Leadership Prize from the Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence for his courageous leadership in the Civil Rights movement and commitment to creating positive change through the political system.

In 2017, Lewis’s book, “March: Book Three,” received the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. The late Mike Printz, for whom the award is named, was a beloved librarian at Topeka West High School known for discovering and promoting quality books for young adults. The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.

Lewis’s “March” trilogy is an autobiographical account. It has been reported that Lewis created the trilogy as a way to help young people understand the history of the Civil Rights Movement through his eyes. All of us should try viewing the world through a different lens to gain greater understanding of all people and their experiences. We together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Exercise Your Right to Vote
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

Exercise Your Right to Vote
Elections matter, even in times of chaos created by COVID-19. The outcome of every election, whether it local, state or federal, affects everything in our lives from the taxes we pay, to the food we eat, to whether funding is available to take care of our communities during the current pandemic. Please consider exercising your right to vote during the primary election on Aug. 4.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 17 16 43
Providers 0 0 2
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,
Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Do your part.
Mask up.

Wash your hands.
Social distance six feet from others.
Avoid crowds.

Attached is today’s COVID-19 scorecards for english and spanish.

We together,
Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Taking precautions and monitoring of symptoms is extremely important to our organization and to our community in these pandemic times. Stormont Vail Health has made numerous changes in the past several months to ensure that our patients, visitors and team members are in a safe environment to receive and provide care.

We are now embarking on another safety initiative that we believe will efficiently screen our team members for temperature and symptoms of illness prior to starting their work day. Beginning this week, equipment is being installed at key entrances and a “soft roll out” will begin Aug. 3.

We will use thermal graphic cameras in high volume work areas so team members can move through the process expediently. In lower traffic work areas, there will be a different process with individual temperature checks.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, any team member with a temperature above 100.4 degrees or having COVID-19-like symptoms is required to stay at home and not report to work. This protocol has been in place since the virus entered our region.

We strive to keep patients, visitors and team members safe and to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Everyone in our facilities must wear a facemask, and we strongly encourage social distancing and frequent handwashing.

Here are today’s updates:

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 19 18 41
Providers 0 0 2
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world, it has also impacted our daily routines. For some that means a struggle to eat healthy, maintain physical activity and keep stress in check. The result: The Quarantine 15. Weight gain.

“The Quarantine 15 is real because there’s so much out of our control. Food is the one thing that we can control,” says Stephanie Sisk, APRN, WHNP-BC, CSOWM, Program Manager and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at the Cotton O’Neil Weight Management Center.

During the early months of the pandemic as people isolated and businesses closed, people stocked up on non-perishable, higher carbohydrate foods - junk food for the kids at home.

“They had access to all this food, were stuck at home and had the added stress of what’s going on in the world? Food became a source of comfort to us,” she says.

The Weight Management Center has stayed connected to patients through these pandemic months, converting to telehealth appointments when in-person clinic wasn’t feasible. All of the center’s education has been converted to online modules to support patients, making it accessible and convenient for people who may be dealing with schedule changes and children at home.

“We have had more people reaching out for our services,” says Stephanie. In part, she believes people have more time to focus on getting healthier. They have also learned that certain health conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, can place people at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

Stephanie says some people have seen weight gains of five to 30 pounds over the past several months. “All of that impacts your health. It’s time to hit pause and get back to those healthy habits.” Some tips:

  • Drink 64 ounces of water a day.
  • Eat three servings of vegetables a day, and one serving of fruit.
  • Do something active for 30 minutes a day.

On a related note, this is a great time to acknowledge the hard work of our interdisciplinary team that supports our bariatric surgery program – the bariatric surgeons, Weight Management Center, Endocrinology and dietitians. Last week we completed our 100th bariatric surgery. We started the program in June 2018. This is a tremendous milestone and one that serves the needs of the community. Thank you.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Myths About Masks
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

Myths About Masks
Ever think there that myths about facemasks might be why people shy away from wearing them? Stormont Vail’s Chief Medical Quality Officer, Dr. Sridevi Donepudi, recently did an interview with KSNT to bust some of those myths and tell the community how mask wearing can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Here’s a link to the interview:

https://mms.tveyes.com/MediaCenterPlayer.aspx?u=aHR0cDovL21lZGlhY2VudGVyLnR2ZXllcy5jb20vZG93bmxvYWRnYXRld2F5LmFzcHg%2FVXNlcklEPTgyNTQ3OCZNRElEPTEzNTExNDc4Jk1EU2VlZD00MzM4JlR5cGU9TWVkaWE%3D

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 21 16 40
Providers 0 0 2
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

 

Here is today’s COVID-19 scorecard. We continue to see evidence of community spread of the virus. This includes increased volumes to our Call Before You Go phone line. If people are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should call (785)354-6000 before coming to the Stormont Vail Emergency Department or any Cotton O’Neil clinic.

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

To help our schools open safely for our students and teachers, we all need to make a concerted effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and state.

There is still time to work toward a safe school year if all of us take the precautions seriously – wearing a facemask, practicing social distancing, washing our hands, avoiding crowds. These are what we know can limit the spread of the virus.

School is going to look different this year. Our educators and school leaders are developing many plans to meet the needs of their students and families. That may be in-person learning, online learning or a hybrid of both. There is no one way that is right as each family must determine what is best for their child(ren) and their situation.

We do know that not having any in-person learning creates a big inconvenience for families with school age children. In addition to giving children the opportunity to gain academic improvement, school is often a place of basic support and safety for youngsters.

I understand the importance of education. I come from a family of teachers. My mother, my wife and my daughter all were, or are, currently professional educators. Teachers make a huge difference in the lives of students. They serve as role models. They open the eyes and minds of their students to the larger world and to lifelong learning. Likewise, spending time with peers is an important part of social development. Beyond academics, schools serve as a support to our children in numerous ways, including providing nutrition, safe space and emotional support.

I like to hope that each of us will do our part to help in this massive undertaking of getting our communities back to school – in whatever fashion is best for students, families and teachers. We need to strongly encourage others to be responsible as well and follow the advice of our public health and infectious disease experts. Each person’s action is twofold – it protects them and it protects others. In this case, we need to do it for our children.  They need the opportunity to have a safe and important educational experience with their peers and teachers. Our kids are counting on us.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Respiratory Clinic and COVID-19 Testing in Manhattan
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

Respiratory Clinic and COVID-19 Testing in Manhattan
We opened a respiratory clinic that provides COVID-19 testing at our Manhattan Clinic, 1133 College Ave., Suite E-110. This new clinic opened Monday. Cotton O’Neil Manhattan is a primary and specialty care clinic. The clinic offers lab, ultrasound, bone density, mammography, CT and nuclear medicine services, as well as adult neurology and cardiology.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 31 17 35
Providers 0 0 2
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Sharing today’s COVID-19 scorecard to keep you updated on the metrics of how the COVID-19 virus is impacting our community and healthcare system.

COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Kevin Sundbye, M.D., has long been an advocate for the vulnerable residents of Kansas Neurological Institute. In the face of a recent COVID-19 outbreak among staff and residents at the facility, Dr. Sundbye has unfailingly supported the KNI staff in mitigating further spread of the virus.

"I have never seen a physician who was more caring and compassionate or more devoted to the care of those with physical disabilities or mental health challenges,” says retired Stormont Vail physician Dr. Ray Lumb. “He (Dr. Sundbye) is an unwavering advocate for their care. He is also truly gifted in his care of the elderly in long term care and demonstrates that exceptional skill at all times including nights and weekends when he is routinely available."

Dr. Sundbye has served as medical director of KNI for about 10 years. He is also the sole physician in the Post-Acute Care department at Stormont Vail Health, working with seven advanced practice registered nurses.

KNI has been in existence since 1960 and is a federally certified and partially federally funded intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disability. It is operated by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. The adults who live at KNI need 24-hour intensive support from direct support professionals.

In mid-June, it was reported that at least 12 people connected to KNI had tested positive for COVID-19. That included five staff members and seven residents. Health officials at the state and local level responded to help the organization contain the outbreak, and Dr. Sundbye consulted with KNI medical staff as well as local public health officials to develop plans for appropriate care.

Dr. Sundbye is quick to credit Dan Keck, the full-time ARNP at KNI, who he says does a fantastic job and is his partner in the care of KNI residents. “I could not do what I do without him,” says Dr. Sundbye.

Dr. Sundbye has been at the forefront of advocating for the care of KNI residents for years. In 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback proposed closing KNI for budget purposes. At the time, KNI was home to 168 developmentally disabled residents. Dr. Sundbye testified before the Kansas Legislature that moving KNI residents into the community would actually cost the state much more because they would end up in the hospital. He estimated that 75 percent of the residents couldn’t be placed in a skilled nursing or independent living environment because of the level of care needed. The plan to close KNI was ultimately defeated.

One of Stormont Vail’s five tenants is: “Together we honor our heritage, embrace diversity, and work every day to improve the health of our community.” Dr. Sundbye epitomizes this tenant in the steadfast way he has worked to maintain and improve the health of our community members living at KNI, both now and in the past.

Here are today’s updates:

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Beginning today, we have refined the COVID Positive categories to show current active cases and recovered cases since April 3.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive Active COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 34 17 34
Providers 0 0 2
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

For today’s communication to the community, I want to share the message that I sent to our Stormont Vail team. As you may have seen in the news, the community spread of the COVID-19 virus is also affecting our staff with exposures that may result in illness and quarantines. We continue to work through the staffing issues this presents – and urge everyone to practice precautions to slow the virus.

As our region and the state of Kansas continue to see increases in COVID-19 positive cases, it’s important to make sure we are taking care of ourselves and our team members. Early on in the pandemic, I encouraged Stormont Vail Health leadership to do a daily “check in” with their team members. It’s important that we communicate regularly, reinforcing the importance of our individual contributions and remind each other to be safe.

Leaders, please continue to check on your teams, and I also encourage each of you to reach out to your peers. It’s important to give each other support. That can be touching base on a regular basis to making sure everyone understands our processes (which have rapidly changed as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved). We don’t have to get through this alone. We are together.

There are many resources available for self-care – some provided by our own team members such as the professional assistance line through Stormont Vail Behavioral Health. I encourage you to seek out resources for support. A listing is available at https://www.stormontvail.org/resource-center/.

The Joint Commission recently provided insights on the importance of promoting psychosocial well-being of health care teams during a crisis. The Commission stated that predominant stressors reported by health care workers during the pandemic have been insufficient resources and lack of personal protective equipment (PPE); fears of infection; feelings of isolation from family; and harassment from the community for enforcing protective measures to reduce the spread of virus.

The Commission also notes that it’s not just those on the front lines who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Other team members such as those in environmental services, nutritional services, imaging, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, security, social work, chaplains and more are also affected.

I urge you to think about our tenant: “Together we treat every patient, visitor and team member with compassion and dignity.” Make a point this week to be considerate of your team members – in your own work area and across the system. Make eye contact and say hello as you pass in the hallway.  Check in with those you haven’t seen for a while by sending an email or making a quick call. Please reach out to other team members and let them know you care and want only the best as we continue to navigate this unusual journey. We together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • What the Metrics Tell Us
  • KSNT Town Hall on Coronavirus this Thursday
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

What the Metrics Tell Us
The increases we saw last week in the number of hospitalizations due to the virus and the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests continue this week. As of this morning, we are caring for 22 COVID-19 positive inpatients, the most we have had since the pandemic reached our region. We have additional inpatients who are “persons under investigation” with COVID-19 tests pending. The numbers indicate a definite trend up in the spread of the virus in our communities.

The rate of positive COVID-19 tests is based on a seven day average of the tests performed during that timeframe. The percentage of positive tests was 10% as of Monday. This does not include tests that are performed on patients prior to procedures. Patients being tested by our team come from 19 Kansas counties, with 73% of them residing in Shawnee County.

As public health officials have stated, and as the metrics indicate, there is community spread of COVID-19 virus in our area. This means we must work together to slow the spread.

  • Wear masks in public areas.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Social distance by at least six feet.
  • Avoid crowds.

KSNT Town Hall on Coronavirus this Thursday

Dr. Kenagy will be participating in a live “Town Hall” on coronavirus on KSNT, Channel 27, from 7 to 8 p.m. this Thursday. Dr. Kenagy will join a panel to provide information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community and state. Others participating will be Gov. Laura Kelly, Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, Shawnee County Health Officer, Mark Tallman, Kansas Association of School Boards, and Matt Pivarnik, Greater Topeka Partnership and who is recovered from COVID-19.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 36 50 31
Providers 0 2 2
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dear Community Partners,

We are experiencing increases in hospitalized patients for COVID-19 and higher rates of positive test results in our region. Now is the time as individuals and our organization can further step up our stance on precautions to slow the virus.

We are in the business of caring for people. The safety measures we practice protect us, our families and our patients.

Here are precautions you can take in this pandemic:

-Think twice before you travel, particularly to areas that are potential COVID-19 hotspots.

-Always wear a facemask at work and in public settings.

-Avoid crowded locations. Use your good sense. Social distance by at least 6 feet.

 

We know there is community spread of the virus. We have seen a near doubling of the positive rate of COVID-19 tests we have run over the past three weeks. This is very, very concerning. Three weeks ago on June 17, we were at about a 6% positive rate of tests and today we are at 11.1% positive. This is a good metric to monitor: the percentage of tests that are positive (excluding our testing of patients that have no symptoms for pre-procedure clearance) collected by Stormont Vail. This is a seven day moving average. I encourage you to track this on our Stormont Vail COVID-19 scorecard under the COVID-19 Testing area.

This week, we hit our highest daily number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients yet at 15. We also reached the 100 mark of total hospitalized patients with COVID-19 at Stormont Vail since the pandemic entered our region in March. Our COVID-19 drive-through testing clinic, acute respiratory clinic and Call Before You Go line are experiencing their highest volumes to date.

Our organization is busier and caring for higher volumes of patients. We have made huge enhancements in creating safe environments to care for patients and part of that is maintaining a healthy workforce. We are implementing protocol and policy changes to ensure we maintain critical staffing levels and a safe care environment.

Here are today’s updates:

  • All Patients Must Wear Masks
  • A Call for Blood Donations
  • Supporting a Patient and Family
  • Community Resources Online
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English and Spanish

 

All Patients Must Wear Masks

Masks are to be worn by all patients – both in clinic and hospital settings - with very few medical exceptions. For inpatient areas, this is required when there is another person (team member, physician, guest, food services, lab, etc.) in the room. Inpatients should be given a hospital mask for this purpose. Our team members are encouraged to support the adoption of this practice and remind patients and families to wear a mask to for the safety of the patient and others.

A Call for Blood Donations

Community Blood Center (CBC) is the primary supplier of blood products in northeast Kansas and provides Stormont Vail with blood products for our patients. Because of COVID-19, community blood drives were cancelled in April and blood collection occurred only through CBC donor centers, one of which is in Topeka. This resulted in a huge drop in blood donations. As we have reopened our clinics and procedure areas, our need for products from CBC has increased. We are also participating in the convalescent plasma program with CBC. That program encourages recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma and provides convalescent plasma therapy to current hospitalized patients.

Blood products donated to CBC stays in our community to benefit our patients. Please consider donating. You may schedule an appointment at www.savealifenow.org. Local businesses and organizations are also encouraged to contact Community Blood Center to host a blood drive. Future blood drive dates for Stormont Vail team members are Sept. 9 and Nov. 25.

 

Supporting a Patient and Family

Please take a few minutes to view a heartwarming story about how our team recently cared for a patient who discovered he had a brain tumor. Team members coordinated a special time for his children to visit him as he prepared for surgery, which was performed by Dr. Kelli Crabtree-Wilson. See the Keatley Family Head Shaving video on our “Now Playing” page:

https://www.stormontvail.org/covid19/now-playing/

 

Community Resources Online

A listing of community resources from food pantries to mental health assistance and meditation apps is available on SVnet and Stormont Vail’s external website. This information will be updated regularly as new resources become available to the community and our team members.

https://www.stormontvail.org/resource-center/

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

 

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 38 47 27
Providers 0 2 2
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

 

Please be vigilant in protecting yourself and others. Individually we must be responsible and consider others’ health as well as our own, collectively we have the power to slow the spread.

Wear your facemask.

Social distance by at least six feet.

Wash your hands.

Avoid crowds.

 

Early on in the pandemic, we together demonstrated our ability to slow the spread and protect each other. While working to facilitate the opening of businesses, supporting those preparing to open schools safely, we must exhibit the best of what it means to be a Kansan. Work together, support each other, set aside all of the politicized nonsense, and do what we know works, individually and collectively. Our economy, our schools, our health are the stakes.

We together,

 

 

Dear Community Partners,

Even in a pandemic, life goes on. For some families that is literal, with a new baby being born. Or two babies. Or three.

At Stormont Vail Health we have recently been experiencing a baby boom of multiples. “Every so often, we have a baby boom like this and we’re lucky enough to have one of those now,” says Alison Wilson, Administrative Director of Maternal-Child Services.

In the past week, we had eight sets of multiples being cared for in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – one set of triplets and seven sets of twins. That’s 17 babies if you do the math. They numbered ten boys and seven girls.

Our average census for the NICU is 25 babies. Over the past few days, our census has been in the 35 to 36 baby range. Since many of those are siblings to one another, they are able to share a room.

Our team members across the Maternal Child departments often help one another out. In this case, nurses from the Pediatrics, Pediatrics Intensive Care Unit and Birthplace have been shifting to the NICU to take care of these little patients. This teamwork is important as patient volumes fluctuate between the departments.

“It gives the patients and families more continuity because we try to have the same nurse take care of both babies, so they really get to form relationships. The nurses get to be closer to the babies and families,” Alison said.

All of the Maternal Child departments are practicing enhanced safety precautions to keep team members and patients safe in the COVID-19 world. Team members also advise new parents on staying safe once they are discharged, such as increased handwashing, avoiding crowds and staying at home with their newborns. Virtual breastfeeding assistance through the Stormont Vail Breastfeeding Clinic is also available to new moms who want breastfeeding guidance while at home.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Team Member Meditation on Skype
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Team Member Meditation on Skype
Spiritual Care will be providing meditation for team members from noon to 12:30 p.m. each Wednesday via Skype. Team members and volunteers participating will be led through a series of brief moments of meditation. Chaplains will guide them through three 5-minute guided meditations and three 5-minute quiet meditations with nature sounds. Team members may come and go as able. Whether on a brief break or lunch break, this will provide a pause in the work day to get team members rejuvenated.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 32 40 23
Providers 1 2 2
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

As we near the 4th of July, the federal holiday that commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States, we are experiencing enormous change and historic times in our country. This is a time to reflect on our country’s rich history, both the great things we have done and the times we have failed to live up to our ideals.  This is a time to learn from others who have different experiences than ours.  A time to openness to diversity and diverse perspectives.  A time to come together and learn from each other. Communication. Understanding. We together.

In the past, the July 4th holiday has been a day of parades, cookouts, fireworks, and family and friends. This year is different with the COVID-19 pandemic and new epicenters emerging. Counties, regions and states are reporting record numbers of infections. Traditions have been put on hold. Parades are cancelled or modified to reduce large gatherings of people. Social distancing six feet from others helps prevent further spread of the virus.

I encourage all of us to use this day to reflect. Reflect on how we can do our part to curb further spread of the virus. Reflect on how we can truly make a difference for those in our lives, our families, our team members, our patients. Reflect on how we can reach out to others who may have a different perspective or path in life than we have.

This is a time to be together even though we are physically distancing. Be safe.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Future Communications from Dr. Kenagy
  • Parking Garage and Lot Safety
  • Facemask Policy
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Future Communications from Dr. Kenagy

Beginning the week of July 6, this communication will be provided twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. This will coincide with the days that the Stormont Vail Incident Command meets to review COVID-19 issues. The next communication will be distributed Tuesday, July 7.

Parking Garage and Lot Safety

Please make sure that you lock your vehicle and don’t leave any valuables in your car. We have seen a recent uptick in incidents in the parking garage and parking lots.

Facemask Policy
Stormont Vail Health is committed to the requirement that all team members, patients and visitors are wearing facemasks when they are in Stormont Vail facilities. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued a statewide order earlier this week that requires Kansans to wear facemasks in public spaces. The governor’s requirement takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 23 33 22
Providers 2 2 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

As much as we may be feeling weary of COVID-19 precautions and guidelines – this is not the time to let down your guard. The virus is spreading in our communities, our region and our state. That means safety precautions should now be followed more than ever.

Dr. Clif Jones, our infectious disease specialist and Vice President of Subspecialty Services who has been a key advisor on COVID-19, told our team members: “Be vigilant and set a positive example not only at work but in public settings. We are all responsible for protecting each other and our patients and visitors in the hospital. This also requires us to protect ourselves and our families when we are in the community. Wearing face masks and maintaining social distance have been proven to be effective in decreasing the risk of transmission.”

By following precautions you are showing others that you care about them. You are a role model for practicing safe guidelines in the midst of a pandemic. You are making our community a safer place.

At Stormont Vail Health, our team members working in areas that require personal protective equipment are trained to use it appropriately. That lets our patients know we care about them and we are committed to providing a safe place to receive care.

We are also practicing social distancing. We hold some meetings virtually. If we do meet in person, we use social distancing at six feet apart. Need some help with knowing what six feet really is? Get a visual for yourself. Six feet is two shopping carts end to end, it’s the width of a car, two Golden Retrievers standing nose to tail, a bicycle, a kayak or a pool noodle. We ask our team to hold others accountable when they see them getting too close – it’s for everyone’s protection. Help educate others.

The Stormont Vail team is more than 5,000-strong. We strive to be the example of following safety precautions both at work and in the community. Take care of each other.  We together.

  • Wear a mask whenever you are in a public setting.
  • Social distance from others by at least six feet.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.

Here are today’s updates:

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 9 29 21
Providers 1 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

The month of June is LGBTQ Pride Month, a time to celebrate and recognize the influence that the LGBTQ population has in our communities and in the world. This is a time to recognize the performance and contributions of these individuals and community in spite of the struggles and biases of others they have endured.

Under our umbrella of “We Together” at Stormont Vail, we stand strong and support our team members, each of us, each individual.

Each person brings a unique perspective and experience to our whole. Together we seek to appreciate and involve diverse voices. We gain a fuller understanding and better serve our community as our together perspective is more inclusive and diverse.

I recently learned that the rainbow flag that signifies support for LGBTQ equality and pride was created by a Kansan. Gilbert Baker was born in Chanute and grew up in Parsons. Soon after high school graduation, Baker left Kansas because he didn’t feel accepted.

It was in 1978 that Baker, a visual artist and social justice activist living in San Francisco, was asked to create a symbol for the growing gay rights movement. He created the rainbow flag. He never dreamed it would become what it did. The rainbow flag is now flown all over the world as a symbol of LGBTQ diversity and inclusiveness. The colors of the rainbow flag have illuminated landmarks from the White House to the Eiffel Tower. Gilbert Baker died at his New York City home in 2017, at the age of 65.

As the world celebrates LGBTQ Pride Month, we also celebrate the LGBTQ community closer to home. We can also celebrate a Kansan who created the rainbow flag as a universal symbol for inclusion.

Here are today’s updates:

  • What the Data Shows
  • Hospital Visitor Hours Expanding
  • Gift Shop Has Weekend Hours
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

What the Data Shows
We’ve experienced a significant increase in hospitalized COVID-19 patients over the past week. On Thursday, we were caring for 11 inpatients who tested positive for COVID-19, our highest census since early April when we had 13 positive inpatients. Today, we have 10 inpatients who have tested positive for the virus.

The number of calls to our “Call Before You Go” COVID-19 line have been increasing since early May.  Each day this week, calls have surpassed the 200 mark, with 297 calls on Tuesday. That’s the highest number of calls we’ve had in a single day since we started tracking at the first of April.

Tests collected by Stormont Vail staff, excluding those for elective pre-procedures, are indicating 5.9% positive for the week of June 14. The weekly positive rate has fluctuated since mid-March, but since May has been in the five percent range. During that time, we have also increased the number of tests we are performing. As of Thursday, we have tested 11,730 patients through inpatient, the drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic and our Acute Respiratory Clinic at North Fielding.

To track data and trends we developed a COVID-19 scorecard early on and share it with team members and the community. The scorecard is produced daily by Brian van Doren, our Manager of Data Science. Brian has made enhancements to the scorecard to help monitor and trend COVID-19’s impact. He is well suited to the job from his past work in particle physics modeling and predictive analytics.

Hospital Visitor Hours Expanding
Beginning today, visitor hours at the hospital are expanding to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Gift Shop Has Weekend Hours
The hospital Gift Shop will be open this weekend and will continue to be open every other weekend going forward. The hours are 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 6 26 21
Providers 1 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Stormont Vail Health entered into a unique partnership six years ago becoming a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This partnership, that focuses on sharing knowledge and expertise to enhance the care of our patients and community has been instrumental, especially in the COVID-19 environment.

Examples of timely access we have had to expertise and services include:

  • As a Mayo Clinic Care Network member, we have access to COVID-19 resources from Mayo Clinic. This includes COVID-19 information within AskMayoExpert which provides Mayo Clinic vetted answers to clinical questions. We also have access to tools that Mayo has developed for internal use – from policies, procedures to scripts - that can serve as templates.
  • Stormont Vail providers have participated in COVID-19 webinars with Mayo Clinic physicians to receive updates about the latest treatment approaches, vaccine development, infection control and other topics. Additional webinars that our staff have participated in cover patient and staff experience, personal protective equipment planning, patient and staff safety guidelines, surge planning, and community assessment and triage.
  • We signed on as an early participant in the Mayo-led convalescent plasma program that encourages recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma and provides convalescent plasma therapy to current hospitalized patients.
  • We are utilizing the Mayo Clinic Laboratories as a reference laboratory for COVID-19 diagnostic and serologic (antibody) tests collected at Stormont Vail.
  • We have access to other health care organizations who are part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network to learn about their best practices for nursing, communications and other areas.

COVID-19 is nothing like any of us has ever faced in our personal or professional lives. Our valued relationship with an organization like Mayo Clinic has given us a broader team, a place to find timely and relevant resources, a place to share with other health care professionals.

Here are today’s updates:

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 4 24 21
Providers 1 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

As COVID-19 infections are increasing primarily in the South and West, we are seeing some states issuing mandatory mask-wearing to stop virus outbreaks. California, cities in Arizona and several locations in the South are now requiring face coverings for certain public settings.

Closer to home, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment provides strong guidance that people should wear a cloth facemask when in public. Local governmental units have instituted varied guidance and requirements. In Shawnee County, facemasks are required for employees in restaurants and barbershops because those business sectors are considered at high risk of transmission. Retail employees initially were required to wear masks, but the Shawnee County Board of Health last week changed that on the advice of the county health officer from a “requirement” to a “recommendation.”

All of those guidelines and requirements can be confusing. When you cross a county line, it might change. The simple and safest solution: Wear a facemask whenever you are in public.

At Stormont Vail Health, we have the requirement that all team members, patients and visitors wear a facemask in our facilities. This is to keep all of us safe. Wearing a mask appropriate for your work area has mitigated risk for team members and kept them safe and from having to quarantine in exposures.

The science behind wearing a facemask has evolved since the virus began its damaging spread and now points to mask wearing as a way to protect you and those around you. Simultaneously we now know that people who are COVID-19 positive, who are not showing visible symptoms, can spread the illness. Research is telling us that masks can help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

The combination of wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent handwashing is the best approach to keeping the virus at bay. These prevention practices are currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Please do your part and wear a facemask in public. Encourage others to do the same. Social distance. Wash your hands. We together.

Here are today’s updates:

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 4 23 21
Providers 1 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

It’s June 19th.

It’s Juneteenth, a holiday of emancipation, a day to celebrate the order of emancipation finally reaching Galveston, Texas some 2 ½ years after the emancipation proclamation and after the end of the Civil War. This is a day for us all to celebrate and look forward to when we can all be free from the aftermath of the scourge of slavery and its underpinning, racism. Aftermath, the math points with undeniable clarity to systemic racism that has produced inequities in health, employment and justice. Is this who we are?

We are witnesses and feel deeply the vacancy of humanity.

There is an energy, unrestrained by accumulation of injustice and emboldened by our witness, loose amongst us. Pulling us, driving us, forming us.

We are: created equal, endowed with unalienable rights, humans striving together for better lives.

Black lives matter.

At Stormont Vail our cultural tenets include our commitment to treat all with compassion and dignity, be aware of our surroundings so that we can purposely connect with others and to embrace diversity. Each tenet begins with “Together we.” We Together, is our opportunity, our way forward, our imperative. All of us, together. Black lives matter.

Below is shared from the John T. Milliken Department of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. It is instructive.  https://internalmedicine.wustl.edu/becoming-anti-racist/

Our IDEA Committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equitability and Access) will soon lead us to opportunities for personal action, for we together action.

Today June 19, please take a moment to appreciate and celebrate Juneteenth and let us commit ourselves to become who we are.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Supreme Court Ruling
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Supreme Court Ruling
Stormont Vail Health supports the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The federal act prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, religion, national origin and sex.

Stormont Vail’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy states that the organization is an “ equal opportunity employer and adheres to the philosophy and practice of providing equal opportunities for all employees and prospective employees, without regard to the following classifications: race, color, sex (including sexual orientation), religion, national origin, age, marital status, uniformed service, disability or genetic information.”

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 4 23 21
Providers 1 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

This week our organization experienced a virtual All Employee Meeting showcasing the amazing work of our team the past several months. Our leadership is grateful for the team’s efforts as the organization adapted and changed during the stressful weeks that COVID-19 moved into Kansas. There are amazing stories about how our team members came together to make a difference for our patients and communities.

It is important to reflect on what we’ve been through, noting our accomplishments and lessons learned. There are many team members who provided expertise in their bedside roles, remote roles and everything in between, to help us address COVID-19 issues, services and initiatives. These team efforts included every department in the organization. This teamwork continues as we navigate through reopening phases and future stages of the pandemic.

Just as when this journey began, we continue to communicate openly and candidly. We have provided these regular CEO communications to the team and community, our COVID-19 information pages on both our internal and external online sites, and updates through the virtual All Employee Meeting. Leadership is engaged and wants to hear from our team members and community. This is our time to make a difference together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • COVID-19 Drive Up Testing Clinic Relocates
  • Mayo Clinic Care Network Presentation
  • Visitor Hours Update
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

COVID-19 Drive Up Testing Clinic Relocates
The COVID-19 testing clinic at 920 S.W. Washburn will become Cotton O’Neil Drive Up Testing and will open Thursday, June 18, in the Surgery Parking Garage. This is the same location where the annual drive thru flu shot takes place.

The 920 S.W. Washburn location will close at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 17 and will reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 18 in the Surgery Parking Garage. Access to the drive up testing clinic in the Surgery Parking Garage is off of S.W. Garfield, just north of S.W. 10th. The lower level elevator entrance in the Surgery Garage will no longer be available for staff or patients to access the hospital.

Stormont Vail Health was the first to open a COVID-19 drive through clinic on March 17 followed by the Cotton O’Neil Acute Respiratory Clinic located at 4505 N.W. Fielding Road. These clinics have completed over 8,000 COVID-19 tests since March and has become a vital resource for our community. Moving the testing clinic to the new location will ensure that team members can continue providing this resource in a safe and secure location.

The Cotton O’Neil Drive Up Testing is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All COVID-19 tests must be ordered by a physician and tests are administered at Cotton O’Neil Drive Up Testing by appointment only. Patients can schedule an appointment by calling the Call Before You Go line at (785) 354-6000.

Mayo Clinic Care Network Presentation
Stormont Vail Health participated in the Mayo Clinic Care Network’s Marketing and Communications Affinity Group chat this week to discuss our focus on communications about COVID-19 preparations to allay fears and keep our team and community informed. Amy McCarter, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, shared that one of the top priorities was being transparent with each other, the team, media and community. During March and April, we developed a cadence of daily communications to team members and the community and weekly media briefings, as well as expanding other social media and communication efforts. These efforts gave us the opportunity to tell many stories about how the Stormont Vail team came together to prepare for the pandemic.

Visitor Hours Update
Visitor hours in the hospital have expanded to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily with one designated visitor still allowed for each patient. All visitors must enter the building through the Main Entrance for screening and wear a facemask.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 5 22 20
Providers 0 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Some describe it as “tickling your brain.” There may be a burning sensation. Your eyes might water.  It could cause you to cough. Getting the COVID-19 test is uncomfortable, but it’s done very fast.

At Stormont Vail, the specimen is collected through a nasopharyngeal swab. The swab looks similar to a long Q-tip. Depending on whether the patient is an adult or child, different sizes of swabs are used. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends use of nasopharyngeal swabs because for most people, the nasopharynx or the space above the soft palate at the back of the nose, is where the highest concentration of the virus seems to collect. To know where that is, think about when you were a kid drinking a carbonated drink and you laughed so hard it fizzed up through your nose. That’s where the nasopharynx is located.  Children ages 12 and under in an outpatient setting have an oropharyngeal specimen collected from the back of the throat.

This COVID-19 test is a diagnostic molecular test and is based on the genetic sequence of COVID-19. It differs from the antibody test that detects past exposure to COVID-19. The sensitivity of the diagnostic test varies depending on the timing and the way the sample is collected. That’s why it is important to collect a good sample.

Korri Phillips, M.D., Medical Director of Express Care, said the nursing staff performing the collection at Stormont Vail’s COVID-19 testing location and the Acute Care Respiratory Clinic at North Fielding watched YouTube videos to learn how to correctly perform a nasopharyngeal swab, then practiced on Dr. Phillips. “I’ve had it done to me 12 or 14 times,” Dr. Phillips said.  The staff also uses two mannequin heads to practice on. “It goes back further than what any of them was used to. There’s one place you think it stops, but that’s not far enough and you need to go farther to the pharyngeal cavity.”

Erica Castillo, LPN, said she tells patients having a test to “relax as much as you can.” Stacey Lamantia, LPN, said she asks the patient to sit on their hands so they don’t reactively try to grab the swab. Team members collect tests from six people through open vehicle windows every 15 minutes. Once the specimen is collected it is sent to the lab to determine if the virus is present.

That team has now trained others in the organization to ensure the process is standardized and performed correctly. Emergency Department and PACU team members have received training and soon a team of inpatient nurses who will handle most of the collection on patient floors will receive training as well.

Dr.  Phillips said the COVID-19 testing location at 920 S.W. Washburn will be moving this week to the Surgery Parking Garage. It’s the same location where we have the annual drive-through flu blitz. Testing begins there the morning of Thursday, June 18. All COVID-19 tests must be ordered by a physician. The testing location is open seven days a week by appointment. Appointments are made through the “Call Before You Go” number at (785) 354-6000.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Community Resources Listing
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Community Resources Listing
Community resources providing programs and services to improve and empower your health are now available on Stormont Vail Health’s external website. Resources include assistance programs that can help with financial matters, mental health, “on the go” mental health and healthy living.

Resources on stormontvail.org: https://www.stormontvail.org/resource-center/

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 12 22 20
Providers 0 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on us and our psyches. Never in our lifetimes have we seen such a widespread practice of quarantines, isolation and social distancing. Fear, risk and uncertainty have spread like the virus. That can’t help but take a toll on our emotional well-being.

As a healthcare organization, we help people with both physical and mental health issues. Many times the two are intertwined. When we see a patient, we assess and treat the whole person to the best of our ability.

We have seen an uptick in our adult behavioral health patient volumes the past several weeks. The pandemic, resultant economic struggles and other unrest and turbulence in the world contributes to an increase in mental health concerns. The pandemic has placed new and unexpected pressures on each of us. Our support systems may be taxed as well.

Our team at the Stormont Vail Behavioral Health Center is ready and willing to help. If someone is in need of help, they just need to call, says Angie Mendez, Director, Behavioral Health. Access to inpatient or outpatient care is available through the admissions number at (785) 270-4646, which is staffed 24/7.

We have recently streamlined the process for patients referred from Valeo, Family Service and Guidance Center and our Emergency Department, as well as walk-ins, to provide people with the help they need in a timely manner. Therapists are available for urgent needs. Help for healthcare professionals needing mental health services working in the COVID-19 environment can also be accessed through the admissions line.

Here are today’s updates:

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 16 22 19
Providers 0 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Just as we promote personal safety guidelines during the pandemic to lower our risks and protect those around us by wearing masks, social distancing and washing our hands, we also want to encourage other practices of self-care.

Find balance in your life.
Stay informed, but don’t overdo media exposure.
Be kind to yourself.
Stay connected.
Get plenty of sleep and exercise.
Look for positives in each day.
Listen to music.
Seek help if needed.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

We are grateful for those who have experienced COVID-19 and are now helping others by donating convalescent plasma. The plasma is an experimental treatment being used to boost the ability of people with severe COVID-19 infections to fight the virus.

Our own team member, Mark Davis, Director of Surgical Services, is one of those donating plasma. Mark first donated May 18. He plans to donate again next week, eventually donating up to five times.

“As soon as I recovered, I knew I wanted to give plasma,” Mark says. “Hundreds of thousands of people are struggling to get through this illness and I knew when I was eligible I wanted to donate.”

Mark first learned about convalescent plasma while he was quarantined at home for 25 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He watched news coverage about the virus spreading across the country and learned convalescent plasma was being used to help those ill with the virus. The plasma comes from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have developed antibodies to the disease in their blood.

During his quarantine, Mark also received a text from Mary Martell, Director of Clinical Research, telling him that Stormont Vail Health, a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, was going to be one of the first sites to sign up for the Mayo Clinic's convalescent plasma program.

That program was launched in early April. Dr. Hassan Taha has been instrumental in getting Stormont involved in the Mayo study. A Stormont Vail patient was eventually the first in the region and the 50th in the nation to receive a plasma treatment. Stormont Vail has now had 12 patients enrolled to receive plasma through the program, with 11 of those having been transfused with at least one unit of COVID-19 convalescent plasma, said Carrie Easley, Laboratory Manager.

For Mark, the day he returned to work after recovery was also the day he contacted the Community Blood Center, the convalescent plasma collection site in the Topeka and Kansas City area. Mark was the third person to donate through Community Blood Center. The center has now had 62 donors, which has resulted in 186 products available to ill patients. Each donation provides three products.

Mark said he wants to raise awareness and encourage others who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate as well. “The antibodies we develop should help other patients who are struggling,” he said. After giving his donation, Mark posted a photo of himself on Facebook, saying “Today I was blessed with the privilege of donating convalescent plasma.”

He credits his family and his work family with giving him needed support through his illness and recovery. While Mark went into isolation, he said his wife, Valerie, a nurse in the Clinical Research Department, was on her own caring for their children and making sure Mark had meals, while she worked remotely for Stormont Vail. Ironically, her regular duties shifted to taking calls on the COVID-19 hotline. “It was really a team effort,” Mark said.

To learn more about donating convalescent plasma or blood, please visit the Community Blood Center’s website at https://www.savealifenow.org/.

Here are today’s updates:

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 21 21 19
Providers 0 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Today we moved to Phase 3 of the Guide to Re-Opening Shawnee County, Kansas Under Ad Astra. The guidance to the re-opening phases comes from our local and state public health officials.

Phase 3 provides that all businesses may open with some restrictions. The mass gathering size or groups of people increases from 15 to 45 with social distancing of six feet. I encourage you to seek out information about what Phase 3 permits. It is available on the Shawnee County Health Department’s website.

Guidelines the plan provides:

  • Mask wear is highly encouraged by everyone, but is required for some employees and industries.
  • Social distancing rules apply in every location.
  • Hygiene and facility cleaning practices should be consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The guide also strongly encourages individuals to seek medical services when needed.

Each time we move to a new phase, it takes four to six weeks to realize the full effects of the transition on virus transmission levels. That means we are currently in the impact period for what was allowed in Phase 1 which started May 3.

Each of us is responsible to follow safe practices to mitigate risk of the virus spreading to ourselves, our families and our communities. Adhering to personal hygiene guidelines (washing our hands, wearing a facemask, disinfecting surfaces), social distancing of at least six feet and staying home when we are sick remains extremely important.

As a health care organization we need to be the example. We individually and collectively practicing and promoting safe practices to slow the spread of the virus. Together we can do this.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Kudos from the Kudoboard
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Kudos from the Kudoboard
The kudos to our team just keep coming. Here’s one from the Kudoboard at https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

“I want to give a shout out to all my coworkers at the North Fielding Drive Up Respiratory Clinic. Working with all of you has made this crazy time bearable. I am also thankful I have gotten the opportunity to meet some of our other coworkers from different departments.”

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 26 21 18
Providers 0 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

While adults have been wrestling with a world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes when we turn to the children in our lives they pull us back to what is important.

Consider a recent conversation that Dr. Sridevi Donepudi, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Quality Officer, had with a group of youngsters at Building Blocks Child Care Center.

“Can nurses get the virus?” asked one young girl during the discussion. Dr. Donepudi replied that because nurses are people, too, they can get the virus if they are not protected from the droplets. That’s why nurses caring for patients wear a lot of protective equipment to keep them safe.

The little girl shares her mom is a nurse. “My mom can’t give hugs until after she takes a shower and then she can give us hugs.”

Hugs are important. So is knowing how to stay safe from the virus and understanding how the novel coronavirus spread to our communities.

It’s important to talk to young people and reassure them that we will get through this pandemic. Please take a few moments to view the thoughtful discussion between the children and Dr. Donepudi: https://vimeo.com/stormontvailhealth/review/424177855/87640d353e

While hugs are good, virtual hugs and elbow bumps are also options during these times of enhanced safety measures.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Volunteers to Return
  • Social Distancing Remains
  • Team Member Health<
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Volunteers to Return
We are excited that Monday we will see the return of our volunteers who help us in many areas of the hospital and across the organization. Volunteers will wear facemasks at all times, following the same safety guidelines as our team members. We consider our volunteers as an extension of our team and appreciate all that they do to help us serve patients and the community.

Social Distancing Remains
The COVID-19 virus hasn’t gone away – and neither has the guidance that individuals need to practice social distancing of at least six feet. This is important to prevent the spread of the virus. As much as possible, we want to keep patients, visitors and team members safe and socially distanced as patients register for appointments, wait in waiting rooms, etc., while in our facilities. It’s important to also practice social distancing in your off hours as you go to the grocery store or visit with neighbors. Each of us has a part in keeping our community healthy.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 31 21 18
Providers 0 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,
Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

As we navigate through these pandemic times it’s important to step back and listen. Listen to our patients. Listen to our team members. Listen to our community. We learn from their perspectives, ideas and feedback to help us fulfill our mission of caring for others.

While we have a number of ways through which we listen – patient surveys, patient advocacy program and touching base with our patients, team and community, we also have an organizational forum that provides us insights: the Stormont Vail Health Patient and Family Partnership Council.

The council was formed in 2016 to help us improve health care quality, safety and the patient experience. This group meets monthly for discussion of a myriad of topics, from registration practices to nurse communication in critical care.

The past two months, the council has given us invaluable information about community perceptions. How safe do people feel coming to our clinics and hospital? What are their biggest health concerns in a COVID-19 world? How can Stormont Vail support our communities as reopening begins?

The thirteen council members are community and Stormont Vail representatives who come from different walks of life and are willing to give of their time to help others. They are articulate and passionate, and serve as a valued sounding board.

Some of the takeaways from a recent council discussion:

  • They appreciate that Stormont Vail is taking safety precautions and requiring all team members wear facemasks.
  • They liked the MyChart messages and calls before appointments to review new processes and safety procedures so that patients know what to expect for both in-person and telehealth visits.
  • They believe that we should continue to communicate about our safety initiatives so that people who need urgent or emergent medical attention will not delay their care.
  • Transparent communication – at all levels of the organization – is a good thing.

Listening to the patient voice is important today, and as we move forward to our new norm. Patients become engaged when they are part of the discussion about their own health and about their healthcare organization. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an isolating experience for many of us. Now is the time to take the time to ask questions and listen intently as we prepare for a new day.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Kudos from the Kudoboard
  • Guidelines to Know
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Kudos from the Kudoboard
The kudos to our team just keep coming. Here’s one from the Kudoboard at https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

“I would like to thank the dedicated, caring, and compassionate team of clinic social workers who are reaching out to Cotton O'Neil patients struggling through these new and uncertain times. The ability to hold space for a person and listen to such heartbreaking and difficult patient stories takes a special strength and heart.”

Guidelines to Know
For visits to a Stormont Vail facility, here’s what you need to know:

  • All patients and visitors (one per patient) are required to wear a facemask.
  • Everyone entering will be screened – temperature check and questions concerning risk.
  • Waiting rooms have been rearranged to accommodate social distancing.
  • MyChart patient portal app offers E-Check in from your smartphone.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 45 21 18
Providers 1 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

As a team and a community we mourn the senseless loss of life that results from all forms of violence. The events of the past week with the killing of George Floyd, who was in custody while a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, is tragic and a sad reminder of the ongoing racism in our country.

To have this occurring at the same time of the COVID-19 pandemic, further highlights the deep disparities and inequities that communities of color experience. We must resolve to do more.

We together, shaken and sorrowful

Yet again, senseless and wanton loss of life.

We together convulsed, with anger and disgust,

Yet again, repulsed by the vacancy of humanity.

We together acknowledge the extra,

dedication to community

measure of courage

strength to persist.

Required daily for some of us.

We together,

Dedicate ourselves to principles of equity,

non-discrimination and anti-racism.

Will stand in solidarity; meaningfully and peacefully.

Will seek to console those traumatized and especially

our black family, friends, team members and communities.

We together,

Will come together to make a difference.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Clinic Schedules Open More
  • Philips a Community Hero
  • Acute Respiratory Clinic to Move Inside
  • Health Heroes
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Clinic Schedules Open More
Today we opened clinic schedules to 100% of pre-COVID volumes, but are handling an increasing number of those appointments through telehealth. We also are adhering to social distancing in waiting rooms and will be doing regular monitoring to ensure that is happening. If waiting rooms are at capacity, patients will need to wait in their cars until it is safe to enter within the guidelines.

As we continue to reopen our services and clinics, we want to reassure our patients and communities that we are following safety processes and protocols to protect them and our team members. Many of these are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our local and state health departments.

Dr. Phillips a Community Hero
Dr. Korri Phillips has been named as Magic 107.7 Hero. Each morning, the radio station names one person who has been nominated for its Hero Highlight, and tells why that person is a hero during these unprecedented times. Dr. Phillips has been instrumental in leading our efforts to set up drive-through COVID-19 testing center and acute respiratory care clinic. Thank you, Dr. Phillips!

Acute Respiratory Clinic to Move Inside
Beginning Wednesday, the Acute Respiratory Clinic at 4505 N.W. Fielding Road will be moving from outdoor tents into the Express Care building. Patients who have respiratory symptoms or COVID-19 symptoms should use the Call Before You Go process at (785) 354-6000 to be evaluated for appropriate care.

Health Heroes
A big shout out to the Drive Thru Crew. These are our team members who spent their weekend planning a drive-through COVID-19 testing location at 920 S.W. Washburn, then opened it practically the next day. They are the latest team members to be featured in our Health Heroes video tributes. The team includes physicians and nurses, and representatives from facilities, IT, Lab, PEX and dietary services. Because of this crew, our drive-through clinic has provided tests for thousands of patients and has had a big impact in protecting our patients, team and community from the spread of COVID-19.

Watch the tribute to the Drive Thru Crew on our Now Playing page:

https://www.stormontvail.org/covid19/now-playing/

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Additional team members and a provider were placed on contact leave due to exposure to patients. The leaves extend through June 12.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 52 19 17
Providers 4 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,
Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

This has been a week of change and revision for our organization as we position for a future that sustains our mission: caring for our communities. The pandemic has left an indelible mark on us personally and as an organization. It continues to impact us in recovery.

This week, as we move to a core staffing structure, we have had a small group of team members begin to transition to new roles or leave the organization through severance. We thank them for their service, commitment and partnership in serving the health needs of our communities. This has been difficult for everyone involved, and especially hard for those leaving the Stormont Vail family.

None of us has ever experienced a crisis of this magnitude. It has been disruptive and chaotic. It has been scary and emotional. It has been felt by us individually and collectively.

As Kansans, we have faced tornadoes, floods and blizzards. We have seen the devastation of crops and encountered tragedies of many kinds. But those often have a defined ending. The COVID-19 pandemic is longer term and brings continued uncertainty. It will likely flare with new infections. It will confound us with new manifestations.

The virus has changed our reality.
Together we are rebuilding our services and our connections to our communities. We are developing solutions and innovations to ensure our patients and communities have access to health care services. We are delivering safe and timely care. This is our mission.

In partnership with our team and our community, we are molding and shaping Stormont Vail Health into its future state.  Together we are creating our future. We together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Thank you, Jim Parrish and Ramada
  • Now Playing
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Thank you, Jim Parrish and Ramada
We want to say “thank you” to the generosity of Jim Parrish and the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center for providing no cost lodging to some of our team the past few months. This helped team members stay close to the hospital and keep their families safe while they worked on the frontlines of COVID-19. The offer has concluded now that the community has moved into reopening phases.  We appreciate this wonderful support to help us serve the community.

Now Playing
A new page has been added to our external website, stormontvail.org, to house many of the videos celebrating our incredible team. It is at https://www.stormontvail.org/covid19/now-playing/

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. Additional team members were placed on contact leave due to exposure to a patient who was in our care and later tested positive. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 46 19 17
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

This morning we announced to our team that we are making workforce plan revisions as we position Stormont Vail Health for a mission sustaining financial future. This will result in a return to full compensation rates for most team members. It also establishes core staffing to determine staffing needs based on patient volumes and organizational initiatives. I believe it is important to share this information with our community.

As a non-profit, community based health care system, we are your neighbors, friends and family. We value the trust and partnership we have with you. It is important to us to ensure that you and your family have access to safe, timely and high quality health care services across the region.

Below is the message I shared with our team:

The COVID-19 pandemic has put Stormont Vail Health, like many health organizations across the country, into a paradox. We rapidly transformed in March to increase our capacity to test and care for patients who became infected with the virus.  At the same time, we stopped many non-urgent clinic visits and elective surgeries to keep patients and team members safe. This situation has had a deep financial impact.To forestall additional financial losses and adjust our workforce to meet patient volumes, we announced a pandemic Workforce Plan that was effective April 5. At that time, we pledged to keep our team whole by ensuring that team members continued to receive paychecks through trying times and reduced workloads in some areas. We created a labor pool to provide work opportunities for those who experienced a reduction in hours. We retrained team members to work in high need areas. The compensation portion of the plan had a tiered approach, with team members in non-patient facing positions taking a 10% salary reduction. The pay reductions also affected directors through executives at higher percentage levels.

During the crisis, our ability to be nimble and innovative positioned us well to care for our communities. Along with an aggressive launch into telehealth, we rapidly set up additional intensive care rooms and secured ventilators, moved and retrained staff across the system quickly, stood up testing and an acute care respiratory clinic in a few days, sourced personal protective supplies through new channels, and developed a new COVID-19 screening service for area businesses.  We have initiated many safety protocols and continue to develop more processes to ensure safe practices. We now have initiatives to create centralized clinic triage, further adoption of telehealth and development of a system wide staffing solution.

We are faced with the enormous task of returning the organization back to sound financial footing in a time when our overall economy is struggling. Our organization lost $7.6 million in April. While the reopening of services is helping us deliver care that was put on pause, it is uncertain if we will return to the level of business that we had prior to the pandemic.

We face uncertainty about whether payers will continue to reimburse telehealth visits at the same level as in-person rates. The move for full reimbursement of telehealth has been extremely helpful in allowing us to provide safe and timely care to our patients.

We are also bracing for a higher number of patients being unable to pay for their health care services as unemployment rates have skyrocketed. The impact of higher unemployment rates is compounded by the fact that Kansas did not expand Medicaid coverage.

Moving forward to adjust and right size to our new reality, we are revising our Workforce Plan. This will include restoring compensation rates for most team members, but it also involves the restructuring of some work areas that will result in the reduction of a limited number of positions. Attrition over the past several months will lessen the number of team members who are impacted, but this will still be a difficult time for those individuals who are unable to transition to another position within the organization and are provided a severance package. Team members impacted represent half of 1% of our workforce. Please be sensitive and respectful as we work through these changes this week.

In the coming days, I encourage you to talk with your manager or director if you have questions about these changes. They can help provide answers and clarification about your specific situation. Touching base with each other is important as we continue to navigate these unusual times.

Our work is ongoing. These actions will help ensure the long-term viability of the mission of our health system. We have seen the spirit and innovation of our team in this crisis. We will continue meeting the needs of our patients in our communities, now with the added resource of telehealth as a safe and convenient delivery method. Our goal remains to be the health care provider of choice and the employer of choice in our region.

Even now as the chaos of the crisis is settling, we do not know all of the challenges that lie ahead. We are on the frontline of caring for patients with COVID-19 and we are not immune to the economic fallout wrought by the crisis. Now, more than ever, we will remain focused on caring for our communities.

We together,

Dr. K

Here are additional updates for today:

  • 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley Schedule Flyover
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley Schedule Flyover
The 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley saluted regional healthcare works with a flyover today. This was a  thanks to healthcare workers for their support of Irwin Army Community Hospital and the Fort Riley community. The flyover featured three U.S. Army HH-60M Medical Evacuation Black Hawk helicopters (MEDEVACs) operated by the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade.

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 19 19 17
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Memorial Day weekend is when communities come together to honor military personnel who died while serving our country through parades and cemetery visits to decorate. We may have our own traditions launching summers of the past, from family reunions, fishing at the pond or neighborhood picnics.

While it is a good time to reflect on our past, this year we also need to face our reality. Our world, our communities and our families have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the guidance of our local and state public health officials, many of the ways we marked previous Memorial Day weekends may not be practical or safe this year.

We need to proceed with caution as we move into summer and face uncertainty with the virus. We need to wash our hands, practice physical distancing and wear a facemask. Those are individual steps we can each take to keep ourselves and our families safe. We also need to avoid large groups of people.

We have experienced many challenges and changes these past several months. My hope is that we can take this long weekend to embrace that which is important to us, to grieve what we have lost, to reaffirm what we hold dear, and to further our plans for the future. Together we can.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Health Heroes
  • Facemask Reminder
  • Kudos on the Kudoboard
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Health Heroes
Steve Peterson, RN, Clinic Nurse Manager, North Fielding/Primary Care, is one of our special health heroes. Steve recently helped us set up additional intensive care rooms to care for patients either suspected of or positive for COVID-19. He helped coordinate all facets of the expansion within a short timeframe. This tribute tells Steve’s story. https://vimeo.com/418790947/db1867f309

Facemask Requirement
We continue to have a requirement that all individuals in our buildings – team members, patients and visitors – wear facemasks. This includes patients coming into our facilities as well as when they are discharged. Wearing a facemask is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help slow the spread of the virus. We ask that all individuals provide their own facemask if at all possible.

Kudos on the Kudoboard
Check out the kudos to the Stormont Vail team on the kudoboard. Here’s one for the team: Thanks for all that you are doing! All of your hard work and sacrifices are not unnoticed! Our community appreciates you tremendously. #TopekaStrong  https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

Team Member Health
Additional team members were placed on contact leave due to exposure to a patient who was in our care and later tested positive. Based on the time of exposure, these team members may return to work between May 29 and June 1.

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 23 19 17
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Memorial Day weekend is when communities come together to honor military personnel who died while serving our country through parades and cemetery visits to decorate. We may have our own traditions launching summers of the past, from family reunions, fishing at the pond or neighborhood picnics.

While it is a good time to reflect on our past, this year we also need to face our reality. Our world, our communities and our families have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the guidance of our local and state public health officials, many of the ways we marked previous Memorial Day weekends may not be practical or safe this year.

We need to proceed with caution as we move into summer and face uncertainty with the virus. We need to wash our hands, practice physical distancing and wear a facemask. Those are individual steps we can each take to keep ourselves and our families safe. We also need to avoid large groups of people.

We have experienced many challenges and changes these past several months. My hope is that we can take this long weekend to embrace that which is important to us, to grieve what we have lost, to reaffirm what we hold dear, and to further our plans for the future. Together we can.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Health Heroes
  • Facemask Reminder
  • Kudos on the Kudoboard
  • Team Member Health
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Health Heroes
Steve Peterson, RN, Clinic Nurse Manager, North Fielding/Primary Care, is one of our special health heroes. Steve recently helped us set up additional intensive care rooms to care for patients either suspected of or positive for COVID-19. He helped coordinate all facets of the expansion within a short timeframe. This tribute tells Steve’s story. https://vimeo.com/418790947/db1867f309

Facemask Requirement
We continue to have a requirement that all individuals in our buildings – team members, patients and visitors – wear facemasks. This includes patients coming into our facilities as well as when they are discharged. Wearing a facemask is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help slow the spread of the virus. We ask that all individuals provide their own facemask if at all possible.

Kudos on the Kudoboard
Check out the kudos to the Stormont Vail team on the kudoboard. Here’s one for the team: Thanks for all that you are doing! All of your hard work and sacrifices are not unnoticed! Our community appreciates you tremendously. #TopekaStrong  https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

Team Member Health
Additional team members were placed on contact leave due to exposure to a patient who was in our care and later tested positive. Based on the time of exposure, these team members may return to work between May 29 and June 1.

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 23 19 17
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

We together,
Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

A flyover Tuesday by the Kansas Air National Guard’s 190th Air Refueling Wing will honor front line workers, including those at Stormont Vail Health. Operation Kansas Strong flyover will occur across four Kansas cities – Emporia, Manhattan, Topeka and Lawrence - to salute healthcare workers, first responders and other frontline workers.

We hope that our team members in each of these locations can take a pause in their day to experience the flyover. We are proud of what each team member has contributed in our efforts to care for our communities during this pandemic and services reopening.

The flyover will begin at 1 p.m. over Emporia, then be in Manhattan at 1:13 p.m. It will be over Stormont Vail Hospital at 1:26 p.m., followed by Lawrence at 1:34 p.m. Organizers said times are subject to change based on weather, air traffic and airspace requirements.

Colonel Lee Norman, state surgeon for the Kansas Army National Guard, will be flying on the refueling tanker with leaders from the Kansas National Guard. In addition to serving in the Kansas Army National Guard, Dr. Norman is secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

During the flyover, Dr. Norman will be in contact with Stormont Vail leadership via radio to give his thanks to Stormont Vail employees. There will be airmen on the helipad with Stormont Vail Incident Command during the flyover. In addition, there will be airmen along with representatives of area veterans’ groups standing on the east side of the hospital during the flyover, showing support for our team members and all that they do.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Expanded COVID-19 Testing In-House
  • Health Care-N-Harmony Recruitment
  • Safe Mask Use
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Expanded COVID-19 Testing In-House
Stormont Vail has invested in technology so our laboratory can perform the PCR (diagnostic) test for COVID-19 in-house. We already have the Cepheid GenXpert in place to perform 24/7 testing. This week we will go live with additional tests through the BDMax. Both provide rapid turnaround times. Criteria has been developed so that these tests are used for our highest risk patients as we to work within monthly supply allocations. We also continue to partner with reference laboratories to help us with our overall testing volume. As of today, Stormont Vail has administered 5,238 COVID-19 tests. A giant thank you to our Laboratory team for all of their great work in getting our testing capabilities in place.

Health Care-N-Harmony Recruitment
Calling all vocally gifted team members! Stormont Vail Health is currently looking for team members to join our new singing group, Health Care-N-Harmony. Recent medical studies show that music can be beneficial to healing. In addition, as we continue to work through this worldwide pandemic, Health Care-N-Harmony looks to spread joy and happiness through song. The choir is led by Dr. Sridevi Donepudi, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Quality Officer, and Steve Peterson, Clinic Nurse Manager, North Fielding/Primary Care

Safe Mask Use
As our communities re-open services and businesses, it is extremely important that we wear facemasks to help slow the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing face coverings in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. If possible, maintain 6-feet of social distancing. Here’s a video that shows safe mask use and handling: https://vimeo.com/407262995/1b2b2516d3

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. An additional team member has a COVID-19 positive result as of today. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 11 19 14
Providers 0 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
The donations and support we have received from our community has been phenomenal.  For information, go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Safety is the cornerstone at Stormont Vail Health as we get back to our business of caring for our community in our clinics and hospital. Those visiting our buildings will find:

  • Screening at the door, where temperatures are taken and safety screening and symptom questions are asked.
  • Everyone entering the buildings (patients, visitors and team members) are required to wear a facemask. Patients will be provided a mask if they do not have one.  Visitors are required to bring their own face coverings. If visitors don’t have masks they are asked to return to their cars to wait, unless the visitor is needed for assistive purposes.
  • Enhanced cleaning is being done, dividers have been installed at clinic registration areas, and waiting rooms are re-configured to ensure physical distancing from others while waiting.
  • Waiting rooms will be monitored to ensure the social distancing requirements are met.  If volumes are too high, patients will be asked to wait in their cars until we can safely allow more patients to be checked in.
  • For surgical procedures, patients will undergo COVID-19 testing and then are asked to socially distance until the procedure date.

With those and additional safety precautions, we continue the re-opening of our services. Beginning Monday:

  • Elective surgery will resume in the Main Operating Room. This will include total joint procedures and other electives. We will continue to perform many same day/outpatient surgeries at Stormont Vail Single Day Surgery and ExcellENT Surgery Center with surgical teams separate from the Main OR.
  • All clinics will see a return of up to 75% of our usual in-person visits. Patients who are high risk due to health conditions (diabetes, lung or heart conditions) are encouraged to utilize video visits or telephone appointments.
  • Patients seeking medical care for respiratory illnesses will continue to be redirected to a drive-through acute respiratory clinic at the Cotton O’Neil North Fielding location instead of being seen in other clinic locations. Patients with respiratory or COVID-19 symptoms should call the “Call Before You Go” line at (785) 354-6000.
  • The visitor policy for the hospital will move to the next phase which allows one designated visitor per inpatient. Exceptions are that no visitors may see patients in isolation or who are positive with COVID-19. Visitation hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Cumulative View
  • Health Heroes
  • Kudos from the Kudoboard
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Cumulative View
With each communication we provide a scorecard that provides daily data documenting how this virus has impacted our organization and community. We also maintain a cumulative view and will share that information. We had our first inpatient who was COVID-19 positive on March 24. Through today, here is the cumulative view:

Total number of inpatients confirmed COVID-19 positive 37
Total number of discharged COVID-19 patients 27
Total number of deaths of COVID-19 patients 6
Current inpatient number of COVID-19 patients 4
SVH Testing with Final Results 4,786
SVH Testing with Positive Result 202
SVH Testing Positive Percentage 4.2%

Health Heroes
This week we are celebrating Health Care Week to thank all of our team members for the great care they give our patients and families. It’s a time to remind them they are a special team of health heroes. Chelsea Meyers, RN in Neonatal Intensive Care, received that important message from her family. https://vimeo.com/418599869/6a7d47a4c2

Kudos from the Kudoboard
“Each and every one of you are the best, most kind, unselfish, and giving angelic workers there are. We know you are tired and stressed and we just want to say, job well done, and a big thanks to all of you.”

Read more kudos to our staff at: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 12 18 14
Providers 0 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
The donations and support we have received from our community has been phenomenal.  For additional information, go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

Opening our communities and our businesses while maintaining our best efforts to stop this virus are both vital to our recovery from this unparalleled crisis. We will achieve both by staying together, supporting each other, washing our hands, wearing our masks, maintaining social distance, following the rules of our county and state, overcoming our fear, and getting back to work and supporting our local businesses. We must all act responsibly, valuing our neighbor’s health and supporting our community. We can, we must, we together.

We together,
Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Listening to our patients is important at all times, but especially now as we navigate through the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. We have multiple avenues to listen to our patients – through the direct connections we have with patients at in-person and telehealth visits, through patient surveys following visits to the clinics or hospital, through our Patient and Family Partnership Council that meets regularly to advise us on timely topics.

We recognize that the pandemic has created apprehension and anxiety in the lives of our patients and our team members. We also know this is our time to be here for our patients and our communities like never before. We can offer a safe place, a place to address and meet the health needs of our patients and families, an opportunity to answer questions, to listen.

NRC Health performed a recent analysis to provide insight to health care providers and organizations during COVID-19. It found that patients trust and value their provider’s care, now more than ever. It also noted that the community is seeking information and education, patients remain anxious, and that the points of caring for patients are changing, partly because of the rapid deployment of telehealth.

In our own review of patient surveys, we find that our team members are rising to the challenges of caring for communities during the pandemic at the same time they are utilizing new telehealth tools to deliver that care. Consider these recent comments:

“This was my first video appointment due to COVID-19 issues, and my travel distance to the clinic from out of town. With explanation and guidance from the staff, it was easy and flawless. Very much appreciated.”

“I sent a message via My Chart and got a response very quickly. This appointment had to be done via Telehealth due to COVID and it was easily adapted to that.”

“My doctor (and team) continue to provide the same excellent service they routinely provide even during this pandemic…I really appreciate their commitment, patience and professionalism. A big thanks to Stormont Vail Health team. Their service is really appreciated!”

“I appreciate the personnel you have at the entrance with screening questions. That's reassuring.”

COVID-19 has been challenging to our team and organization and we have risen to that challenge in rapid and innovative ways. During all of the change, we need to be mindful to listen to our patients, to hear their thoughts and emotions at this stressful time. Taking a few moments to listen shows you really care.

Here are today’s updates:
• Celebrating Health Care Week
• Kudos from the Kudoboard
• Team Member Health
• Community Support
• COVID-19 Scorecard English|Spanish

Celebrating Health Care Week
During Health Care Week we want to say thank you to our awesome team: https://vimeo.com/416506512/422c09e922

Our week of celebration continues with special theme dress days, Throwback Thursday and Famous Friday, along with special treats and drawings. See SVnet for more details. Many thanks to CoreFirst and Frito-Lay for sponsoring Health Care Week.

Kudos from the Kudoboard
“As a nurse in a smaller hospital in the Stormont Vail area, I would like to thank everyone at Stormont Vail for being there for us and our patients. Transfers to Stormont are efficient and we trust you with our patients in critical need.”

Read more kudos to our staff at: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

Team Member Health
We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers’ category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 25 18 13
Providers 2 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
The donations and support we have received from our community has been amazing. Today we reached another big milestone in handmade mask donations! More than 7,000 handmade masks have been donated by our generous community. We appreciate the skill and time it takes to make each mask and know that our local sewers put their hearts into each one.

For additional information, go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

For a bright spot, we have been notified that one of our Children’s Miracle Network kids won a national contest to have her art included in Ace Hardware’s 2021 Children Miracle Network calendar. Lily’s artwork will represent April. In addition, Ace Hardware will make a $500 donation to Children’s Miracle Network at Stormont Vail.

The proverb that April showers bring May flowers has deep roots from the late 1800s and possibly before that. It is recognition that rainy seasons can bring the beauty of blooms. For some, the saying symbolizes that discomfort or dreariness can eventually lead to happiness and joy. It’s an appropriate reflection for what we have experienced in this pandemic. Better times are ahead for us, and Lily’s art certainly brightens our day and our world.

We together,
Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

While the pandemic has brought many challenges, our team has turned some of those challenges into opportunities. One such effort is a new service to provide COVID-19 Entry Screening Services for area employers. This is a joint effort between Cotton O’Neil Work Care, Regional Relations and Talent Acquisition. Cotton O’Neil Work Care provides a suite of occupational medicine services and workers’ compensation care for employer clients and their employees.

We are currently providing entry screening services for three area businesses. Services may be customized for any type of organization, from manufacturing to corporate offices. Gina Ochsner, Director of Regional Relations, said additional businesses and organizations have reached out to learn more about these services.

Contracted services may include an evaluation of existing policies and procedures, an environmental site assessment, employee screenings with symptom and travel questions, temperature checking, education about COVID-19 symptoms, instructions for symptomatic employees, and isolation protocol recommendations.

“Our services will help reduce the spread of infection in the community while assisting business to reopen and provide opportunities for our Labor Pool team members,” Gina says. Team members performing the screenings are identified through the Labor Pool and receive training for this new role.

The clinical oversight team includes our new Medical Director for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Soni Mathew, MD, MBA, as well as Elizabeth Gerhardt, Director, MSD Patient Care Services, Paula Sanders, MSD Nurse Manager, and Carolyn Kennedy, Clinical Manager, Cotton O’Neil Work Care.  Gina Ochsner, Director, Regional Relations, and Carrie Holliday, Manager, Employer & Partner Relations, promote the services and support area employers.  Krista Thacker, Director, Talent Acquisition, manages the labor pool for the service arrangements.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Thank You, Health Care Heroes Fund
  • Celebrating Health Care Week
  • Team Member Temperature Checks
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Thank You, Health Care Heroes Fund

The Stormont Vail Foundation, with the support of some amazing community donors set up the Health Care Heroes Fund to support our team members who incurred additional expenses as a result of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today we share a story about a team member who has been helped by the fund.

Though Amanda Schaffer only recently joined Stormont Vail Health, she already feels like it’s a second family. She started in October, moving to her current position as a registrar in the clinics when COVID-19 hit. That brought changes and challenges to both work and home life. Amanda is the sole provider for her family of three. Thanks to a Health Care Heroes Fund grant providing some needed financial relief, Amanda is able to shift her focus away from financial pressures and concentrate on her work and family.

 “Knowing members of our community care enough to contribute to help front-line workers does more than express appreciation,” Amanda says.  “It sustains us and encourages us to continue on even when things get tough.”

Celebrating Health Care Week

“We Together” is our theme for this week’s Health Care Week and all team members are invited to join in the activities. Coming up is Tie-Dye Tuesday, Around the World Wednesday, Throwback Thursday and Famous Friday. A giant thank you to CoreFirst and Frito-Lay for sponsoring Health Care Week.

Team Member Temperature Checks

We require all team members to take and log your temperature twice a day and to self-monitor for symptoms. If you exhibit a temperature of 100 or above or have COVID-19-like symptoms, do not report to work and call your leader. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can have a door screener at our entrances check your temperature.

Team Member Health

We provide regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication and on the scorecard. The Providers’ category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 36 18 9
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support

Thank you to our communities for your donations and support over the past few months. For additional information, go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Nurses are bedrock in the foundation of Stormont Vail Health. Nurses are at the patient’s side when the need is great. Nurses are at the forefront of designing new processes and policies. Never has that been more evident than during the COVID-19 crisis. Our nurses have been on every committee planning for the pandemic, many times leading the changes and expansions to care for our communities.

It is only appropriate that this week – Nurses’ Week – we express to our Stormont Vail nurses how much we appreciate them. We thank them for what they do for our patients and families, for our team and organization.

While nurses make up the largest single professional group in our organization, they have a myriad of job responsibilities. We have nurses in traditional patient-facing roles in our clinics and hospital. They are also in Information Technology, Radiology, Pharmacy, Employee Health, Risk Management, Population Health, Quality and Infection Prevention, Administration and more.

Nurses partner with providers and other clinical and professional peers to support our interdisciplinary approach to finding solutions and services to better meet the needs of our communities. They are the reason we have received the Magnet recognition for excellence in nursing three times from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

We are recognizing our nursing team this week through presentations of Excellence in Nursing Awards. We are honoring 16 extraordinary nurses and patient care staff from 97 nominees for these awards. They were nominated by peers, physicians and leadership. Each of our 1,800 nurse-trained team members – advanced practice registered nurses, registered nurses and licensed practice nurses – impact the care we provide every day. To them, we say thank you.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Celebrating Health Care Week, Stormont Vail Style
  • Kudos from the Kudoboard
  • Masks for Visitors
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Celebrating Health Care Week, Stormont Vail Style
The “We” in “We Together” is central to our celebration May 10-16 for Health Care Week!

We’ll be celebrating our team and all that you do each day for our patients, our communities and for each other. That’s especially the case this year as we have come together to protect our community and team from the spread of COVID-19.

This special week will include themed spirit days when you can wear your crazy shirts from tropical to tie dye. There will also be drawings for gift certificates and more. We’ll have special food trucks and treats planned each day. There’s also an opportunity to give back to the community that has been so supportive of us throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Nonperishable food items can be donated in Harvesters’ donation boxes located in the clinics and hospital.

Kudos from the Kudoboard
“I am genuinely humbled every single day by the hard work, generosity, compassion and empathy our staff have for the community and their co-workers. Especially in a time of uncertainty, challenge and difficulty you have all risen to the occasion and excelled…You truly do make a difference.”

Read more kudos to our staff at: www.kudoboard.com

Masks for Visitors
All visitors are required to wear a mask and are being asked to bring their own. If they do not have a mask, we can offer them a donated mask, if any are available. Otherwise, we will provide a paper mask. We encourage those who receive handmade fabric mask to keep it, wash it and continue to use it.

Team Member Health

We have been providing regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication as well as on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 39 17 8
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
We are appreciative of the outpouring of donations and assistance we have received over the past weeks.  For additional information, go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

As we continue to reopen our clinics and services, we are ensuring that our patients, team members and communities remain safe. Please do your part by continuing to hand-wash, social distance and wear facemasks in public settings to keep the curve of the pandemic flat. It takes all of us to protect all of us.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

While we are reopening health care services in step with our state entering the recovery phase of the COVID-19 crisis, it may be instructive to consider the below observations.

  1. There is amazing power in a team. A definition of power is the ability to get work done over a period of time. What seemed like a virus half a world away was quickly in our back yard. The power of our team enabled us to respond quickly. That response is now shaping the way we deliver care to our communities.
  2. Be transparent. The flow of communication is critical in keeping team members and the community informed. Uncertainty is scary. Communicating about preparations that ensure care and safety for patients and team members is always the right thing to do, especially in a crisis when life feels chaotic.
  3. Follow science. The science behind the virus has evolved rapidly and continues to evolve. This has meant frequent updates to practice protocols. We support the development of treatments, tests and vaccines. Science can allow us to stay focused without being derailed by competing agendas.
  4. Be a role model. We have asked our communities to wear facemasks, social distance by 6-feet and stay at home, if possible. We can help protect each other.
  5. Be vigilant. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Public health officials predict the disease will resurface until a vaccine is developed. When there are spikes of infection, we need to be open to stepping back to restrictive measures. We always need to be vigilant in handwashing and other health hygiene practices.
  6. Be adaptive. We need to be open and adaptive to new ways of living our lives, and providing and receiving health care services. The rapid increase in virtual care is one silver lining of the pandemic.
  7. People are our priority. We are formulating plans now to continue to provide safe care to our patients and team members in the weeks and years to come. The health of our community and our organization remains our mission. Our team is collaborating with partners, governmental leaders and others to provide the best care.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Elective Surgeries and Clinic Appointments
  • Celebrating Nurses in COVID-19 Times
  • Stormont Vail’s COVID-19 Web Page Updated
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Elective Surgeries and Clinic Appointments
We are a few days into the reopening of elective surgeries and non-urgent clinic appointments and all has gone well. We are appreciative of the community adhering to the new safety precautions in place to protect them and our team members. For the time being, elective surgeries and clinic visits are for patients who are younger than 65 or do not have high risk conditions, such as diabetes or heart or respiratory conditions.

-Elective surgeries require a safety screen and COVID-19 testing prior to surgery. Clinic visits are being scheduled at half the volume of previous visit levels to help us adhere to social distancing requirements. All patients and visitors must wear face masks. Patients will be met at the door by a screener who will take their temperature. We encourage the use of telehealth or virtual visit for appointments.

-Urgent and emergent services continue to be available at the Cotton O’Neil Express Care locations and the Stormont Vail Emergency Department.

Celebrating Nurses in COVID-19 Times
We always have great appreciation for our nursing staff, but this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that appreciation is magnified tremendously. As we celebrate Nurses’ Week this week, we want to recognize our nurses for the care they provide year-round to our patients in the clinic and hospital settings. We are an awesome team.

Stormont Vail has been been recognized three times by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet organization, which validates the high quality care our nurses provide. This week, we’ll recognize the distinction of individual team members as we present Excellence in Nursing Awards to 16 awardees. Instead of our usual awards ceremony, Chief Nursing Officer Carol Perry will make individual presentations to award winners in their work areas.  We are grateful to U.S. Bank, Security Benefit and the Stormont Vail Foundation for supporting these awards.

In addition, we’ve added a post and video thanking our nurses on the Stormont Vail blog:
https://www.stormontvail.org/blog/celebrating-our-nurses/

Stormont Vail’s COVID-19 Web Page Updated
We have updated our COVID-19 landing page at https://www.stormontvail.org/covid19/

Here’s what you’ll find:

-COVID-19 Updates – Read communications from Dr. Kenagy and access an archive of past reports.

-Virtual Care – Learn about connecting with your provider through telehealth, such as a video visit,

instead of in person.

-A New Beginning – Read safety guidelines as we open services to care for patients and team members.

-WeTogether – Donate to the cause and learn how others have been supporting our team.

-Now Playing – Watch various multimedia, from media briefings to thank you messages from our community.

Much of the information on the COVID-19 page is available in Spanish.

Team Member Health
We have been providing regular updates about Team Member Health in this communication as well as on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 42 17 7
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
We are very appreciative of all of the donations and kind offers of assistance we have received from our communities. For additional information, go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

As COVID-19 spread into our region, the need for change was fast and fast-paced. Stormont Vail Health met that demand with our Performance Excellence process. Our PEX team and operational leaders led and facilitated rapid change to address COVID-19 criteria that seemingly changed every day. With speed and an unwavering focus on safety, we developed a number of new services and processes. Here’s what was accomplished over eight weeks:

Rapid Improvement Events:

  • 920 Washburn Drive-Through Testing Clinic
  • North Fielding Drive-Through Respiratory Clinic
  • General Labor Pool Requisition / Fulfillment Process
  • N95 Re-Processing / Distribution Procedure

Projects:

  • Re-routing Traffic / Patient Flow a SVH Retail Pharmacy
  • COVID-19 Surge / Capacity Inpatient Planning
  • Development of Drive-Thru Clinic Set Up Guide
  • Calling COVID-19 results to patients
  • N95 Fit Testing Office
  • Medical Clearance at Behavioral Health
  • Employee Health Testing Process
  • Clinic COVID-19 Testing Supply kits / Fulfillment Process

The drive-through testing clinic was operationalized in three days, from a RIE over the weekend to go-live early the following week. It became a model upon which other communities developed their own clinics.

All of these efforts were possible because of our foundation of readiness. The foundation encompasses a large number of team members trained in Lean management and standard work, giving them tools to navigate change. The readiness allows us to be agile and make quick changes.

“I really feel like we are seeing the fruits of the A3 and Lean Management Systems training that we have done over the last number of years,” says Chad Yeager, MSN, RN, Administrative Director, Performance Improvement and Quality. “We have proven over the last few months that we, as an organization, have the ability to change rapidly and change reliably.”

Thank you to the PEX team and all of our team members who have helped us react to this pandemic through new services and processes to care for our patients and communities.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Team Member Health

We were notified Friday that three team members have tested positive for COVID-19. In one case, there were no other team members impacted. In each of the other two cases, five members (a total of 10) were placed on contact leave. Return to work dates range from May 8 to 13. Additionally, four team members were placed on contact leave because of exposure to a positive patient.

Below is additional detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 48 17 5
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support

We appreciate the ways our community has provided support the past two months as we have prepared for the pandemic. For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

This week we are changing distribution of this communication to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We want to keep you informed about patient safety and care we are providing through telehealth, clinic and hospital settings.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Monday marks a new beginning for Stormont Vail Health. In addition to the 24/7 emergent services we have always provided, we will begin to reopen our elective surgeries and clinic services. New processes are in place to keep our patients and team members safe. Safety is our priority.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. As communities slowly reopen we must remain vigilant in slowing the spread of the virus until a vaccine is in place. This is both a personal and organizational responsibility.

As an individual, wash your hands. Wear a mask. Practice social distancing of at least 6-feet from others at work and in public.

As an organization, we have put enhanced safety measures in place to care for team and our patients. This includes additional cleaning, new screening and safety precautions, limitation of visitors, expanded testing and more. We have rolled out robust telehealth services so providers and patients can connect through video or telephone visits, keeping everyone safe.

Stormont Vail is a safe place for care. We are here to empower your safety. https://vimeo.com/413201661/23883f79a0

Here are today’s updates:

  • Expectations for Patient Visits
  • Team Member Support from Parrish Hotels
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Expectations for Patient Visits

As our clinics and elective surgeries open up, our guidelines will enhance the safety of patients and team members:

-You will be screened for fever and symptoms at the entrances.

-You are required to wear a mask or covering over your face during the time you are in a Stormont Vail or Cotton O’Neil building. Our team members will also wear masks.

-Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance of most locations so you can practice good hand hygiene.

-Please maintain 6 feet of distance from other people while in the waiting room or common areas.

-Prior to elective surgery and procedures, patients will be asked to undergo a COVID-19 test and self-isolate until their procedure date.

-We encourage you to schedule a telehealth visit if it is appropriate for your health situation. Telehealth visits are available for appointments with primary and specialty care providers from the convenience of your home. Contact your provider if you want to schedule a telehealth visit – either video or telephone.

Always remember, if your situation requires an emergency room visit, know that we are here, our Emergency Department is safe and we’ll provide you great care and service.

Team Member Support from Parrish Hotels

Parrish Hotels has extended its offer to provide lodging at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center to healthcare providers and staff who are not able to go home or who have long commutes. This benefit is without charge and has been extended through May. To contact the hotel team, (785) 234-5400. Thank you to Jim Parrish, President and CEO of Parrish Hotels, for this generous support of our team.

Team Member Health

Our Employee Health Team leads our effort on contact tracers and helps prevent the spread of the virus, return team members back to work as quickly as possible and assists in the health and safety of our team members. We are very appreciative of their extra efforts to keep our team healthy during this crisis.

Thirteen team members were placed in contact leave yesterday due to exposure to a patient tested COVID-19 positive prior to discharge. Team members will be on leave through May 11 to 13, depending on the date of exposure

Below is further detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 33 14 5
Providers 2 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support

We appreciate the many ways our community has provided support to our organization these past few weeks. We had a real team satisfier earlier this week when we received donated “ear savers.” An ear saver is a short strap attached to the ear loops of a mask and is placed at the back of your head. It removes the pressure off your ears when wearing a mask. Team members receiving them were very appreciative and one provider noted he was very grateful as his ears were sore.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

Beginning next week, this communication will be distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We want team members and community partners to continue to be informed as we reopen our clinics and services with patient safety. Staying in touch remains important as we continue this journey toward our “new normal.”

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Throughout this COVID-19 crisis, we have focused on the team. It is through our extraordinary teamwork that we have risen up to more than double our intensive care capacity, stood up a community testing facility and a respiratory care clinic, developed a comprehensive COVID-19 testing process, created a labor pool to match team members to the right job at the right time, and designed a training process to educate staff for their changed roles. The list of all of the amazing work our team has accomplished in small and large ways is incredible.

Each of our team member’s efforts, from screening visitors at the door to keeping our patient rooms clean to gowning up to take the vitals of isolation patients to running the COVID-19 test in the lab, have all contributed to our great patient care. We’ve also observed cross-department teams working together to launch telehealth initiatives, develop new care delivery protocols and more. Within the team, we have witnessed some amazing individual efforts as well.

 

I’d like to highlight just a few of the many individuals who have been instrumental in our team efforts. This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many efforts across our system that have resulted in excellent and efficient care and services.

  • Korri Phillips, MD, helped lead the outpatient management of COVID-19 patients and set up the acute respiratory clinic and outpatient COVID testing center. This effort enabled us get our testing access in place in a timely manner. A shout out to all of those team members who staffed these services and were on the front line for our patients.
  • Jana Tenbrink, RN, nurse manager, Critical Care, managed new protocols, staffing and operations for the first intensive care area caring for COVID-19 patients. Team members say Jana didn’t miss a detail, big or small. As volumes of COVID-19 positive and PUI patients increased, both of our ICU staffs were caring for these patients – and our entire critical care team did an exceptional job.
  • Steve Peterson, RN, stepped up and led a team to operationalize 16 rooms on 7-South for intensive care patients. Steve coordinated efforts with construction, nursing, respiratory therapy, pharmacy and intensivists. Steve represents all of those team members on 7-South and across our system who took on new roles and responsibilities during the crisis.
  • Don Faith, Clinical Engineering, was instrumental on the 7-South project, converting medical-surgery telemetry rooms to intensive bedside monitoring rooms using existing hospital equipment. This involved reprogramming monitoring equipment, reconfiguring switches and much more. Don along with our other biomed experts kept our equipment ready for patients.
  • Brad Williams, Design and Construction, led the charge in 3-D printing efforts to make new parts for the PAPR hoses. Members of Design and Construction and Facilities Management teams also made face shields for the team and took on some extensive construction projects to ready space for patient care.
  • The Laboratory team forged partnerships with existing and new referral labs to facilitate COVID-19 testing as well as set up and trained for in-house testing capabilities to better serve patients.
  • The Intensivist team worked on the front line with very high risk patients with severe respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). They have also been instrumental, along with the Clinical Research Department and Laboratory, in Stormont Vail participating in the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 convalescent plasma program.
  • A Telehealth team in combination with Information Systems quickly developed telehealth options for providers to connect with patients in a new care setting. During this time, we have provided more than 18,000 telehealth visits.
  • There have been tremendous team efforts in the Emergency Department, Anesthesia and Hospitalists as well as in Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Pharmacy, Imaging, Infection Prevention and Clinic staffs across the system. In addition to clinical areas, Environmental Services, Nutritional Services, Financial Management, Registration, and all of those that support patient care have stepped up.

Each member of our team contributed to taking care of our patients and communities from Topeka to Emporia to Manhattan and in between. We have taken on challenges and turned them into opportunities. Most important now is the opportunity to serve our patients and communities in new ways such as telehealth and in the safe environment of our clinics and hospital.  We together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Team Member Health

Below is further detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 30 14 4
Providers 1 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support

We appreciate the many donated facemasks our organization has received. They have all been distributed to patients, visitors and Stormont Vail’s team members across our system, which is a large number of people. Donations to date are 6,233 facemasks. All of the cloth masks remain with the person who receives them so they can be laundered and worn again by the same user. There is a continued need for masks as we begin to re-open elective surgeries and the clinics.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

I was fortunate to visit with some new grandparents who were standing outside the hospital as they held up signs to our Birthplace windows to welcome a new grandson. They had driven to Topeka from McPherson earlier this week knowing they would not be able come inside because of our pandemic visitor restrictions. But they had adapted to the times. They were joyful and celebrating the new life in their family.

I share this story because I believe it is significant to the hope and energy we are experiencing as we re-open our clinics and elective surgeries on Monday, May 4. With precautions in place to protect our patients, visitors and team members, we are at a new beginning. During this crisis, we have developed new ways of delivering care and connecting with our patients, and we will continue to refine those. This is not a one-time change, but an evolution. Just as the grandparents have great hopes for the potential they see in their new grandson, we are embracing the potential we see in the new opportunities we are developing in the care for our communities.

As we return to a full spectrum of care for our communities we will adhere to new safety guidelines.

For both the clinic and elective surgery re-openings, the initial phase discourages routine visits or elective surgery for patients who are age 65 or older or who have heart or lung issues or diabetes. Those higher risk groups will continue to shelter in place as much as possible and utilize telehealth. If they do have urgent or emergent needs, then we have appropriate care options for them.

Clinic Re-opening May 4

All clinics will re-open Monday with safety protocols in place. The exception to the opening will be the

Emporia clinic that will continue more restrictive access because of the outbreak in that community.

  • Patients scheduled for an in-person visit at a clinic will be met at the door by a screener who will take their temperature and ensure the patient is wearing a facemask. One visitor may accompany the patient and must also have a facemask.
  • There will be several options for patients to check-in, depending on the clinic they are visiting. This includes MyChart check-in, telephone check-in for those without MyChart, or kiosk check-in.
  • All waiting rooms have been rearranged to allow for 6-feet of distancing. The screeners will help regulate the number of people in the building to assist with social distancing. Enhanced cleaning is scheduled for all clinic reception areas, waiting rooms and exam rooms.
  • The acute respiratory clinic at the North Fielding Clinic will remain in place to provide care for patients with respiratory issues. To be seen at that location, patients should utilize the “Call Before You Go” line at (785) 354-6000.
  • Patients who arrive for early morning lab draws may need to wait for a short time so we can maintain social distancing in those waiting areas.

Initially clinics will have a patient schedule that is 50 percent of the normal capacity. That will allow us to have appropriate social distancing in the waiting rooms. Other appointments will be handled through telehealth options – video visits or telephone visits.

We will continue to utilize and promote the use of telehealth for many of our appointments. To date, we have completed 18,257 virtual care appointments. We appreciate that our major payers, including Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, are reimbursing those visits at the same level as in-person visits. It is vitally important that this level of reimbursement continue indefinitely to facilitate the on-going provision of care in this safe and convenient fashion.

Elective Surgeries Start May 4

We will begin elective surgeries on Monday, May 4, at two locations, Stormont Vail Single Day Surgery at Kanza Park, 2660 S.W. 3rd, and ExcellENT Surgery Center, 920 S.W. Lane.

  • Patients have been screened to make sure they are appropriate for surgery or procedure. Patients will undergo drive through COVID-19 testing two to three days prior to surgery, then practice social distancing and isolation until their surgery date.
  • The surgery center waiting room areas have been re-configured to allow for proper social distancing. If there is not enough room in the waiting area, a visitor may be asked to wait outside or in their car. They will be provided regular updates via telephone.

Here are additional updates:

  • Washburn Law Clinic for Health Care Workers
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Washburn Law Clinic for Health Care Workers
Volunteer attorneys with Washburn University’s law clinic are offering free legal assistance to health care workers during the pandemic. This includes services such as drafting living wills, simple wills, and durable powers of attorney. To qualify for the free services, a person must be currently employed or recently furloughed by a Topeka hospital and meet the law clinic’s income guidelines. Contact the clinic by emailing help@washburnlaw.edu or calling (785) 670-1191.

Team Member Health
Below is further detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 36 14 4
Providers 3 1 1
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
We appreciate the many kind gestures and donations of support for our team members and organization. We have 5,950 masks as of today and continue to have a need. For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

When Stormont Vail Health launched a virtual nursing platform last year in 48 rooms in the South Tower the goal was to add an extra layer of support for bedside nurses. During the COVID-19 pandemic a year later, that virtual nursing program has not only provided enhanced care for our patients, but also aided in team member safety.

Team member exposure to patients positive with COVID-19 or under investigation has been lessened with virtual nursing. Using audio and video technology, team members complete rounds and respond to patient needs without going into the room. Personal protective equipment has been conserved by reducing the number of times team members enter patient rooms, utilizing virtual nursing instead. Staff also “batch” care being delivered to isolation patients resulting in fewer trips into rooms. Medication double-checks are provided with one nurse in the room and the other performing the task remotely.

Thirty-two of the 48 rooms equipped with virtual nursing are located on 7-South where COVID-19 patients and suspected patients have been cohorted. These rooms underwent conversion a month ago to make them capable for use as an intensive care setting with a negative air pressure environment.

Tracy Duran, RN, Director of Medical-Surgical, says team members utilizing the virtual inpatient care delivery model has greatly expanded beyond nurses, patient safety monitors and case managers. Those using the system to deliver care now includes hospitalists, specialists and psychiatrists as they provide care to these patients. Even chaplains have provided virtual spiritual care.

“Patients have said they like having the virtual visits because when they are in isolation they only see staff in the room wearing a full face shield or a PAPR,” says Tracy. “With the virtual visit, they can view the caregiver clearly and see them as they are talking to them.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the focus on telehealth as a means to connect patients and providers in the clinic setting, a virtual system for hospitalized patients used by the team at Stormont Vail Health has also provided for safe and efficient care.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stormont Stories
  • Therapeutic Music for Stormont Vail Team
  • Team Member Health

Stormont Stories

Be kind, have confidence, be patient and “smile with your eyes” under all those layers of personal protective equipment. That’s some sage advice from Blake Edwards, CV Ultrasound, who has experienced the pandemic from both patient and team member perspectives. Blake shares his observations in a recent post in Stormont Stories, and encourages his fellow team members to “have hope and believe in a better tomorrow.”

https://www.stormontvail.org/blog/be-kind-have-confidence-be-patient-and-remember-to-smile/

Therapeutic Music for Stormont Vail Team

Over the past two years as a Stormont Vail Health volunteer, P. Allen Macfarlane has played soothing music for patients served by our palliative medicine team. Because of pandemic restrictions in place, he has been unable to play for patients and staff. Today, he sent our health care team a link to a YouTube video he created. “Please pass along to someone who needs a little comforting or healing,” he says. Thank you for this wonderful gift of music.  https://youtu.be/9RZPLCgjWe8

 

Team Member Health

Team Member Health is provided through this communication and also on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 52 14 4
Providers 4 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support

We are grateful for the many kind offers of support and donations that our team has received. One of the greatest outpourings of support has been from those who have made homemade fabric masks for patients, visitors and team members to wear in our facilities. We have received 5,808 to date and continue to have a need. For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a degree of fear and risk to our communities. But it has also brought opportunities to come together as a team, a community and a state. Kansans are known for pulling ourselves up by our boot straps and tackling problems with ingenuity and hard work. Together, we have flattened the curve of this pandemic in its sweep across our state.

As an organization, we are seizing opportunities to re-tool services and processes to ensure we are meeting patient needs for efficient, effective and safe care. As we move into the recovery phase, new processes will be in place. Here is what to expect:

  • Elective surgeries will resume May 4 using a deliberate process to schedule appropriate cases. Our offices have started contacting surgical patients this week for re-scheduling. New testing and safety screens are a part of the process.
  • We are re-opening our clinics for in-person patient visits beginning May 4, at half the volume of previous visit levels. This will allow us to maintain social distancing requirements. Initially, clinic visits will only be for patients who are not over 65 or do not have high risk conditions such as diabetes or heart of lunch conditions. All patients and visitors in our clinics must wear a mask.
  • Providers are still available for telehealth visits. – Patients can contact their provider’s office to make appointments for a telehealth visit. Telehealth is the preferred delivery model for patients not requiring an in-person assessment.

We celebrate that our team has done an amazing job of caring for our communities. On the inpatient side, we continue to care for four patients who are COVID-19 positive as well as persons under investigation (PUI) for the disease.

We have two great recent examples of team members in our Emergency Department and at our Emporia clinic using safe practices with personal protective equipment when caring for patients later determined to be COVID-19 positive. Through contact tracers team members were found to have no or low risk based on their careful adherence to PPE guidelines. Thank you for these tremendous efforts.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stormont Vail Foundation’s Health Care Heroes Fund
  • Scrubs for Staff
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Stormont Vail Foundation’s Health Care Heroes Fund
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the criteria and application for assistance through the Stormont Vail Foundation’s Health Care Heroes Fund is now available. The Stormont Vail fund was created to help team members who incurred additional expenses as a result of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations to the fund are still being accepted.

Applications for assistance will be reviewed to determine whether the request meets the fund’s criteria. The fund provides emergency financial assistance for the basic living needs of healthcare and other patient-facing employees and their families including lodging, food, utilities, transportation, elder and childcare and prescriptions filled at the Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy. Requests may be approved up to a maximum of $500 per household. Upon approval by the team member’s supervisor, requests will be reviewed by Employee Relations and the Stormont Vail Foundation.

Scrubs for Staff
Stormont Vail has received donated scrubs for team members who may have a need for scrubs as the result of being placed in a new role through the Labor Pool. Team members may contact Sarah Elsen, Director of Volunteer Services, at Sarah.Elsen@stormontvail.org or (785) 354-6084.

Team Member Health
Below is further detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 60 14 4
Providers 4 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
Our community has reached out in countless ways to support our team and organization. We have received donations of meals, 5,765 fabric masks, surgical caps and personal protective equipment. For information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

On a walk around the hospital this week, I noticed small brightly painted rocks tucked into the landscape. “Thank you” is painted on many of them. Others have a design of a heart, a flower or colorful polka dots.

The rocks have been placed around the perimeter of the hospital where team members see them as they come into the building. Some rocks are on curbs or near the pillars at the main entrance. Others balance on top of larger rocks or rest near the edge of a garden bench.

They are vibrant and cheerful. A sign that people care.

Our community is our rock. We together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Planning for Re-opening of Services
  • Meeting Patient Needs in Behavioral Health
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Planning for Re-opening of Services
Preparations are underway to reopen our clinics and resume elective surgeries. This includes new safety protocols. The clinics will continue to utilize telehealth (video and telephone) visits for many of their visits. There will be new processes for elective surgery, including COVID-19 testing for patients prior to surgery. Final plans will be communicated to team members and the community. Non-emergent clinic visits and elective surgeries for those 65 and older or with high risk conditions will continue to be carefully limited to protect the most vulnerable from unnecessary exposure by leaving their homes.

Meeting Patient Needs in Behavioral Health
We have developed a rapid triage process for patients who meet specific criteria in the Emergency Department and need behavioral health services and transfer to Stormont Vail Behavioral Health. This process provides a medical screen exam at triage by a provider, and fast tracks the patient for transfer to Behavioral Health and reduces time in the Emergency Department.

In addition, if patients do not fall into certain risk categories, our community mental health partners can directly take patients to Behavioral Health. The goal is to better meet patient needs and get them to the appropriate care setting. Prior to going to the facility, please call Behavioral Health admissions at (785) 270-4646 to review the appropriateness and acceptance for inpatient treatment.

In the first week, approximately 10 patients have utilized this more direct route to receiving inpatient Behavioral Health services. The process is not for all behavioral health patients, only those who meet a specific criteria and need transfer to Stormont Vail Behavioral Health.

Team Member Health
One team member was placed in contact leave yesterday due to exposure to a patient who later tested COVID-19 positive. The team member is required to be on leave through May 7. Below is further detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 73 14 4
Providers 5 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
Community support has been awesome in many ways. It has included donated meals for team members, homemade fabric masks for patients and visitors, personal protective equipment, and more. We have had 5,527 masks donated to date. Thank you to all those who are supporting our organization and our communities.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

We are grateful that the human impact in Kansas from the COVID-19 pandemic has been less than what was originally projected. I describe the curve of the pandemic as more like one of our Flint Hills instead of a Rocky Mountain. While our communities have been affected by the virus in many ways, we are thankful it wasn’t an overwhelming surge as experienced by some.

Individually, we must remain diligent about practicing social distancing, wearing a facemask and washing our hands. As a regional health care system, we will continue to provide safe and appropriate care for all of our patients.

One troubling trend that is being played out across the country is people holding off care for urgent and emergent conditions because of fear of going to a health care facility. There are many anecdotes of lives lost, not because of COVID-19 infections, but because people waited too long to seek emergency care that they needed.

As a Level II Trauma Center, Stormont Vail Health continues to provide care to patients needing emergency or trauma services. Our Emergency Department stands ready to care for those suffering from accidents, falls, stroke, heart attacks and more, just as we have always been. We also continue to provide care for birthing mothers and their newborns, with a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, if needed. Our Behavioral Health team continues to provide treatment and support to those who need the acute mental health services.

Our hospital team members are here to serve, 24/7. We have new safety checks and measures in place, experts trained in how to clean rooms, and screening for those who comes in our doors. Our friends and neighbors who have COVID-19 or who are suspected to have COVID-19 are cared for in a separate area of the hospital. That is our “new norm” in this environment to keep you safe.

It’s true that during this pandemic we have strongly encouraged everyone to stay at home to prevent the spread of illness. But when you are experiencing pain or symptoms that need emergent care, or other conditions that require hospital care, we are here to take care of you.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Team Member Home Access to API and Lawson
  • Workforce Plan and Dress Code Exceptions Continue
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Team Member Home Access to API and Lawson
There are now links on Stormont Vail’s external web site, stormontvail.org, to provide offsite team members access from their home computers to API (including access to your schedule) and Lawson/Infor. The links are located near the bottom of the home page, near where the SVnet link was formerly placed.

Workforce Plan and Dress Code Exceptions Continue
The Workforce Plan, announced March 31 and effective April 5, will continue until further notice. The plan includes system-wide crisis compensation rates and no work activity administrative leave pay. Our goal remains to preserve our team and provide some level of compensation for all.

The relaxed dress code exception will also continue until further notice. Team members may wear jeans that are in good condition with no rips or tears. Clinical team members may wear fun scrubs tops or organization appropriate T-shirts with scrub bottoms.

Team Member Health
Two additional team members, including one provider, were placed in contact leave yesterday due to the exposure to a patient who later tested COVID-19 positive. They are required to be on leave through April 29. Below is further detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 86 14 4
Providers 6 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
The kind gestures of thanks to our team are appreciated and uplifting. Our team members have been nourished by this support as well as the meals that have been donated to them during their work times. Meals for 1,820 team members have been provided, with 900 more meals scheduled. These are donations from 25 individuals or companies.

As of today, we have received 5,249 donated homemade facemasks, with 116 coming in yesterday. These are being used to provide to patients, visitors and team members in our facilities.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

As a regional health system we support patients and providers across a large geography. In Coffey County, south of Topeka, we witnessed the tremendous example of a health care team working tirelessly and effectively to control the spread of the virus after an outbreak in a local nursing home. Dr. Dishman and our clinical team have stayed close to the teams at Coffey County and have been complimentary of all their efforts.

“They have been managing it beautifully,” says Kevin Dishman, M.D., Stormont Vail Health’s Chief Medical Officer. “The efforts that have been made in Burlington and surrounding areas have been tremendous and it has kept the virus from spreading further, saving the community from a larger outbreak.”

John Shell, M.D., Chief of Staff, Coffey Health System, Burlington, says the outbreak is different than any experience the county has faced in the past, but the basics are the same.

“We’ve dealt with infections before, but there was uncertainty with this and there was more concern and people died from this,” he said. “As healthcare providers, there was anxiety associated with that. I think how we’ve dealt with the infection is how we’ve been trained. I think there was anxiety initially, but that has waned with correct hygiene and PPE practice.”

Coffey County has had 47 positive COVID-19 residents. Forty-six of the cases were connected and one was travel related. The Coffey County Health Department reports there have been six deaths and 22 recoveries.

Dr. Shell confirmed much of the care for patients was managed in Coffey County. “We can only do so much and when we need help, that’s when we go to a tertiary hospital like Stormont Vail,” he says. He added Stormont Vail is a primary referral site for patients, so transfers are convenient and a place familiar to patients.

Stormont Vail has been providing “real time care” and support to Coffey County providers through the expertise of Drs. Salah Najm and Hassan Taha, with the intensivist team, and Drs. Jason Austin and Traci Cuevas leading the hospitalist team.

“The relationship between Coffey County and Stormont Vail has been in place for more than 20 years as we have collaborated, cooperated and supported each other,” says Dr. Dishman.

He noted that with the current situation, the providers collaborated to keep those patients infected with the virus close to home for their care. “Coffey County and Stormont Vail want to bring state of the art medicine to these patients regardless of their geographic location,” says Dr. Dishman.

In addition to Dr. Shell, other physicians with Coffey Health System who have been managing COVID-19 patients are Chris Jarvis, M.D., Jon Sides, M.D., and Jeff Sloyer, M.D., in Burlington, and Beverly Clark, M.D., in Yates Center.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Kudos from the Kudoboard
  • McDonald’s Shows Appreciation
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Kudos from the Kudoboard

“Thanks to the cleaning and other support staff for keeping things going under tough conditions. Thanks to the lab techs and the nurses and the docs and everyone on the front lines or behind the scenes. And thanks to their families for loaning us your heroes!”

See more kudos that have been posted on our Kudoboard for team members: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

McDonald’s Shows Appreciation
McDonald’s restaurants are showing their appreciation to first responders and healthcare workers by providing a free “thank you” meal starting today through May 5. The McDonald’s franchisee in our area asks that healthcare workers show a valid ID. There are six meal options. The franchisee, Dobski & Associates Inc., MT Dobski, LLC and KD Family Management, LLC, operates 19 restaurants in the area: nine in Topeka, five in Lawrence, and one each in Atchison, Leavenworth, Bonner Springs, Shawnee and DeSoto. Thank you for supporting our team!

Team Member Health
Team Member Health is detailed below and also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 93 14 4
Providers 5 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
We hit a milestone for donated homemade fabric masks: more than 5,000! The exact number is 5,133. Yesterday we received 351 masks that will be provided to all patients, visitors and team members in our facilities. Thank you for these masks and all of the donations made to our organization.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

We know moving forward and into recovery we are going to be a different organization and different community. It is unlikely we will return to our pre-COVID-19 world. We have been changed in many ways during this historic pandemic, including our organization and the way we care for our communities.

As we begin to relax social distancing guidelines and re-open access to businesses and schools – following the guidance of our local and state leaders – we will be operating under protocols rooted in safety and protection. Until a vaccine providing protection is developed and widely utilized, we will have potential for pockets of infections and outbreaks to erupt.

Safely reopening services during recovery is dependent on the availability of testing and testing supplies. The situation we face today is the lack of testing supplies. Allocations of our state and our organization have been sent to other locations and states with outbreaks. When there is adequate testing established, there will also be a need to establish a protocol of testing of patients before procedures and testing the staff working in healthcare facilities. Our testing protocols have all been established to match a limited number of tests available.

As a regional health care provider with a service area across eastern Kansas, we must have a robust testing system in place.  This will include both the regular COVID-19 testing and antibody testing that will soon be available. We have just started our in-house COVID-19 testing, which can provide results within an hour. We also continue working with partner laboratories for additional testing capabilities and faster turnarounds. Our goal is to process as many tests as needed to enable us to safely re-open service areas that have been paused because of the pandemic.

As of today, we have administered 2,086 COVID-19 tests through our acute respiratory clinic, COVID-19 test center, our Emergency Department and our inpatient areas. This number includes both Shawnee County residents and others from within our service area. This is an astounding number. The availability of testing helps to identify positive cases early and then move to isolate or quarantine others who may have had exposure, thereby slowing the spread of the virus.

Working in tandem with the Shawnee County Health Department in this effort, we believe this may have helped curb the spread of the virus in our area along with community adherence to the stay at home orders. Consider today’s data (as of noon) from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on testing rates in Shawnee County and other area counties:

COVID Positive Cases Number of People  Tested Rate of Testing Per 1,000 People
Shawnee 92 1,865 10.54
Douglas 43 1,112 9.10
Osage 4 113 7.09
Jefferson 6 123 6.46
Morris 2 34 6.05
Lyon 39 196 5.90
Jackson 1 74 5.62
Wabaunsee 2 40 5.77
Pottawatomie 6 119 4.99
Geary 10 47 4.64
Riley 26 251 3.38
Outside Region
Sedgwick 248 2,489 4.82
Johnson 384 3,947 6.55
Wyandotte 433 1,833 11.08
Leavenworth 136 953 11.66

Here are today’s updates:

  • Flyover for Team Support
  • Child Care Assistance Subsidy
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish


Flyover for Team Support
Beechnutz and the KC Flight Formation Team flew past Stormont Vail in two formations of eight this afternoon as a show of support for health care workers through the COVID-19 pandemic. This was an awesome sight to see and another reminder of the support of our communities. I hope that many of you were able to enjoy this tribute to your hard work.

Child Care Assistance Subsidy
The Kansas Department for Children and Families has started the “Hero Relief Program” to expand child care assistance subsidies for families. The program targets healthcare workers, first responders and other essential workers who financially qualify for the subsidies. Families must have countable gross income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four that equals a monthly income of $5,458. Families will receive the full DCF subsidy amount based on their family size, with no family-share deduction. For more information and for instructions on how to apply, visit http://ksherorelief.com/

Team Member Health
Below is further detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 99 14 4
Providers 3 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support
We continue to receive amazing support from our community for donated homemade fabric masks that are provided to all patients, visitors and team members in our facilities. As of today, we have received 4,782 donated face masks, with 378 being donated yesterday.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Our team and our communities have reacted to this crisis with amazing efforts. In our acute care setting we have expanded our intensive care beds to 70 from 30, secured an ample supply of ventilators to care for COVID-10 positive patients, set up protocols in our Emergency Department to immediately manage suspected or positive COVID-19 patients, have intensivists in place to attend to patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), have hospitalists managing an influx of seriously ill patients, and have developed a system to cohort like patients so that our protocols and processes can be standardized by work area.

In the midst of that, we are on the cutting edge of patient care for the COVID-19 positive patient through our participation in a COVID-19 convalescent plasma research program that is led by the Mayo Clinic. Plasma is the liquid that carries blood cells and antibodies made by the immune system to attack viruses.

Stormont Vail is the first organization in the Community Blood Center service area to transfuse COVID-19 convalescent plasma, which includes the Kansas City area. There are approximately 500 people in the United States who are currently enrolled in the research.

To date, we have registered five patients in the Mayo research project through the efforts of Hassan Taha, M.D., and the intensivist team. The patients range in age from 37 to 60. Our first convalescent plasma recipient recovered soon after her transfusion. The intensivists have received a number of inquiries from their peers and providers in the region about the program.

Our plasma has been acquired via the New York Blood Center Enterprises.  Once there is a supply in Kansas, we will be able to acquire convalescent plasma transfusions more quickly through the Community Blood Center of Kansas.

We are also working to identify potential donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to provide plasma for future treatments for those who are ill. Each donor can potentially treat two to three patients.

Potentially eligible donors must meet the customary eligibility criteria for blood donation, although the criteria have been slightly widened due to COVID-19.  People who have previously tested positive must be 14 days post symptom.

To donate, register at the New York Blood Center Enterprises website; they are coordinating the national effort.  Those from Topeka and the surrounding area can donate plasma at the Community Blood Center, 6220 SW 29th St., Topeka, KS, 66614 (785) 233-0195. To register to donate convalescent plasma, go to:  www.savealifenow.org/cpdonor.   Those from communities with an American Red Cross can donate by registering at: www.redcross.org.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stormont Stories
  • Team Member Health
  • Message to the Team from Early Childhood Students
  • A Giant Thank You to Polo Custom Products
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

 

Stormont Stories
Cayla Main, Department Assistant at Family Practice at the North Fielding Clinic, says when she first found about the virus, she was scared. Then she remembered why she started working at Stormont Vail. The nurses and doctors here had helped her several years ago “save my baby” and get some answers and care for her immune-compromised son. Now she loves working with the clinical staff and supporting them.

“This has affected all of us, but not once have I felt alone during it. I have so much support and I am not even patient-facing; it means so much,” Cayla says.

 

Read all of Cayla’s story on her blog “I was Scared” on Stormont Stories: https://www.stormontvail.org/stormontstories/

 

Team Member Health
Additional team members are now on contact leave due to exposure to a patient who was in our hospital and tested positive after the patient was discharged. This places 67 team members went on contact leave. Based on the time of exposure, these team members may return to work anytime between today through April 29. With each risk level, different requirements must be met before a team member can return to work. These individuals are being monitored through Employee Health and in collaboration with the Shawnee County Health Department.

Below is further detail concerning Team Member Health, which is also provided on the daily scorecard. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the scorecard for previous days totals.

 

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 115 14 4
Providers 5 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

 

Message to the Team from Early Childhood Students
Our team received the following message from Dr. Tiffany Anderson, Superintendent of USD 501.

Dear First Responders:

Thank you for all you are doing to keep us safe. Our early childhood students have a message for you and your staff as we celebrate The Week of the Young Child. Our children and families in our community are safer because of you. Our city and state officials, public service providers, hospitals, clergy, shelters, health department staff, law enforcement, firefighters and many more are on the front lines and we thank you very much for all you are doing for all of us. We appreciate you very much!

Week of the Young Child - Thank You to First Responders

A Giant Thank You to Polo Custom Products
We want to give a giant thank you to a longtime Topeka business for making repairs to the hoods of our PAPRs, which are powered, air-purifying respirators used to protect our team in certain situations while caring for COVID-19 positive or persons under investigation. Because of extensive use, the hoods for the system needed some repairs. Kent Lammers, president and CEO, and his team at Polo Custom Products, came to the rescue. They are systematically repairing 43 hoods as needed at no charge, while we wait for new hoods that are on backorder.  Thank you!

Community Support
We are so appreciative of all the support our team, our patients, our neighbors, our peers on the frontline, and our communities are receiving. This has been so thoughtful and reassuring as we come together in this effort.

We continue to receive an outpouring of support of donated homemade fabric masks that are provided to all patients, visitors and team members in our facilities. Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone must wear a face mask. As of today, we have received 4,404 donated face masks, with 391 being donated over the weekend.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Community Partners,

We are celebrating that 10 patients who were COVID-19 positive and cared for at Stormont Vail Hospital have been discharged over the past 10 days. Three of the 10 were discharged yesterday. As of today, we are caring for four COVID-19 positive patients.

This speaks to the excellent care these patients received at Stormont Vail. The teamwork exhibited by our providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, ancillary clinical staff and support team members is amazing. Together we are helping our patients regain their health.

It’s important to note that our team extends much farther than our hospital campus. As a regional health system, we are working in sync with some excellent providers and health care organizations in the communities across eastern Kansas to care for patients.

One of our recently discharged patients was transferred to us by Newman Regional Health in Emporia. We were able to provide this patient with an extra level of care, then discharge her to an appropriate level of care back in Emporia. She has been able to recuperate near her family through management with her primary provider.

We are grateful for the relationship we have with Newman Regional to be able to provide this continuity of care between the two communities. We have a presence in Emporia with our Cotton O’Neil Emporia Clinic and our providers there are integral to the success of how Emporia has responded to the pandemic. Newman Regional set up an acute respiratory clinic and testing center to care for those in their area, similar to the clinics set up by Stormont Vail in Topeka.

Charisse Symmonds, D.O., an internist with Cotton O’Neil Emporia, sits on the board of trustees at Newman Health. She says that the collaboration between Stormont Vail and Newman to care for COVID-19 patients is working well. Dr. Symmonds says it is a huge benefit to patients that providers and health care organizations in the region are working together to share information about management of the disease and to ensure patients receive the most appropriate level of care.

“We’ve got this set up where that can happen now and into the future,” she says.

In addition to celebrating our discharged patients regaining their health and our team collaborating with others in the region for a broader reach of care, we should also recognize the efforts of our communities and our state. By adhering to the stay at home order and maintaining social distance, we have flattened the curve of this pandemic and lessened the surge to hospitals. Those efforts have had a tremendous impact on where we are today and will help us as we begin our journey to recovery.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stormont Stories
  • Kudos on the Kudoboard
  • Team Member Health
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

 

Stormont Stories
These are unusual times and we all need to monitor anxiety and stress in ourselves and others. Alicia Vincent, LSCSW, Behavioral Health, shares that even therapists can be shaken by a pandemic. Check out her blog “Not Alone” on Stormont Stories: https://www.stormontvail.org/stormontstories/

Alicia writes: “As much as I wanted to ignore these intense waves of anxiety, my body was communicating it needed a break. I remembered the wise words of Brene Brown: ‘vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.’ The truth was, I was struggling, and I needed to have the courage to let someone know. So I did, and the coolest thing happened. I was reminded I’m not alone.”

Kudos on the Kudoboard
The Stormont Vail Kudoboard is about care and caring not only for those we serve, but for one another. Check out the online board where team members are sharing their thanks and encouragement to one another. We Together. https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

“Thank you to the recruitment team for running the labor pool and for doing all you can to help team members find roles and hours to help support the organization!”

“I want to give a huge shout out to my co-workers who are still in the office at Kanza Park Bldg 1 - Reimbursement Dept…They show up every day, put on their masks and take a break at Noon daily to bust out in song and dance to keep the atmosphere as good as it can be during these trying times.”

Team Member Health
Here is detail concerning Team Member Health. The Providers category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the Scorecard for previous days totals.

 

  Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 60 14 3
Providers 12 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

Community Support

Thanks to the generosity of our community, we are able to provide donated homemade fabric mask to all patients, visitors and team members coming to our facilities. To date, we have received 4,013 fabric face masks, with 192 donated yesterday. Thank you!

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Community Partners,

Our community is reaching out in big and small ways to help one another. A big way came recently in a letter to Stormont Vail Health from 9-year-old Gideon Foster.

Gideon printed across a white piece of paper in pencil:

Hi, my name is Gideon. I just saying that I hope there are not that many people that are sick.

P.S. Here is some change.

Gideon taped three quarters to the letter. A donation of 75 cents.

We asked Gideon how a 9-year-old was able to make such a generous donation.

It was part of my tooth fairy money,” he said.

Gideon’s grandma helped him write and mail the letter, an assignment for his 4th grade class. His mother, Becca Foster, didn’t know about it until after it had been mailed.

“He helps people, but I don’t think he’s donated money before,” Becca said. “He’s a very sweet kid.”

Gideon, thank you so much for your letter and donation, which we are providing to the Stormont Vail Health Foundation.

We’ve also heard from a group of young community members – the children of Advisors Excel employees - who wanted to say thank you to our team. We are so grateful to receive and share their expressions of art and appreciation: https://vimeo.com/408136670/ce2a5064bb

Here are today’s updates:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Update
  • 7 South Rooms Completed
  • Speech Therapy via Telehealth
  • Team Member Health
  • New Sunflower Terrace Options
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Update

  • Stormont Vail Health is following Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization guidance on transition to droplet precautions for confirmed and suspect COVID-19 patients.
    • WHO recommends standard, contact and droplet precautions with eye protection for routine care of COVID patients. The addition of airborne precautions with the use of a respirator is warranted during aerosol-generating procedures.
    • CDC recommends staff wear gown, gloves, eye protection and a respirator (N95 or PAPR) when caring for COVID patients. However, they do acknowledge that medical masks with eye protection are an acceptable alternative when supply of respirators is limited.
    • SVH has identified that there are not enough N95 masks for all staff to be issued these for care and that many of the PAPR machines are breaking, thus reinforcing the decision to move to droplet precautions with eye protection as a safe measure against preventing the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Many other institutions have implemented a similar change to droplet with eye protection precautions across the nation and within our region, including KU Med, St. Luke’s Health System and Mayo Clinic. During a Mayo Clinic Care Network webinar with two facilities from Wuhan, China and South Korea, they shared that their healthcare worker exposures rates decreased once they started treating this virus with measures against droplet transmission.

Here are some additional PPE topics of importance:

  • To further reduce our healthcare worker exposures to COVID-19 suspect and confirmed patients, we should be asking patients to wear a mask if staff are interacting within 3 feet of them.
  • Expanded our usage of extended surgical mask usage to be worn with isolation and non-isolation patients to extend the life of these masks. Team members should be wearing a face shield into all isolation patient rooms and will need to disinfect the face shield after each encounter.

7 South Rooms Complete
The construction to convert 16 additional rooms on 7 South into negative air flow intensive care rooms has been completed. Dependent on the need, the rooms can be used for ICU or for medical/telemetry beds for COVID-19 positive patients or persons under investigation (PUI). All 32 of the 7 South rooms have undergone this conversion. 7 South also has virtual nursing which allows nursing staff, providers, patient monitors and others to provide care through a virtual system when hands-on care is not required. The conversion of this entire unit has been a true team effort, with many departments involved in the project. Thank you for all of your efforts to care for our patients and for each other.

Speech Therapy via Telehealth
Today our outpatient speech therapy department conducted their first telehealth visits with three patients. These patients would not have otherwise been seen due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Doxy.me solution was used. This is a trial for the outpatient therapy area and we plan to add a telehealth option to occupational therapy and physical therapy.

Team Member Health
Beginning today, we are providing additional detail on the daily scorecard concerning Team Member Health. Providers’ category includes physicians and advanced practice providers. Refer to the Scorecard for previous days totals.

Contact Leave1 COVID Positive2 COVID Positive Recovered2
Employees 81 14 3
Providers 12 1 0
1. Daily Total of employees and providers on leave for potential contact with COVID positive patient or coworker
2. Total since April 3

New Sunflower Terrace Options
The Sunflower Terrace Cafeteria now offers new fresh fruit and vegetables, groceries, paper goods and other items to provide convenience to team members. Additional items will be available soon, including family meals.

Community Support
For the second consecutive day we were able to provide a homemade fabric mask to all patients, visitors and team members coming to our facilities. This is due to the amazing generosity of our community. To date, we have received 3,821 homemade fabric face masks, with 306 coming in yesterday. Thank you to our community for keeping us supplied with face masks for patients, families and team members.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

As a community we are working together to flatten the curve. Continue to stay home. Keep a distance of six feet from others. Wear a facemask or covering in public. Wash your hands. Together we can do this.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Community Partners,

While the headlines today are about our “cluster zone” designation by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment due to having three clusters of COVID-19 positive employees, it’s important not to lose sight of the entire arc of this story.

It is about our team members’ rapid response to prepare for a pandemic during a time when our business model has turned completely upside down.  It is about the development of a workforce plan that allows all team members remain on the payroll while moving as many as possible to work from home, and it is about our committed team members who continue to report to work to care for patients with emergencies, traumas, births and critical treatments. It is also about our launch into telehealth to connect and care for our patients through virtual visits and over the phone.

We are just a month into experiencing the impact of this pandemic on our region – with our first COVID-19 positive inpatient arriving March 23. During that time, we have made many difficult decisions as we retooled the scope of our health system and how we deliver care.

As of today, 15 team members have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of those are back at work. The other team members are recuperating at home. None have needed hospitalization. We have 98 team members who are on quarantine or staying at home due to exposure. By the end of the week, we expect 60 of those will return to work as long as they complete their 14 days without symptoms. We are adding the number of team members who have tested positive and are quarantined to our daily scorecard.

Being at the forefront of this pandemic and being exposed as we care for COVID-19 positive and suspected patients is a reality that all health care organizations face. We know that we are not alone.

More than 9,000 U.S. healthcare workers have tested positive. Healthcare workers account for 3 to 11 percent of all U.S. cases. Because of the varied testing capacities and strategies across the country, it is difficult to ascertain the actual impact of the virus on health care workers. We have been very aggressive in our COVID-19 testing through our laboratory partners and we will continue that stance as we start our own in-house testing next week.

In addition to the testing strategy and other initiatives to protect team members and patients, we are committed to securing and providing appropriate personal protective equipment to our team members in patient-facing roles. We are continually monitoring our supplies and we have all we need. We must ensure that it will last by being good stewards, using it always when indicated, and by following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Our Marketing and Communication team developed a video that we will air publically that expresses our  gratitude for each of you for being a part of our team in caring for our patients and communities:  https://vimeo.com/407351616/86df88f220

Here are today’s updates:

  • Sharing Our Story and Scorecard
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Spanish

Sharing Our Story and Scorecard

Stormont Vail is making efforts to keep team members and its communities updated with daily communications, available through email and online, which includes a daily scorecard providing Stormont Vail’s COVID-19 statistics. This effort was chronicled in an article published by Kansas Public Radio stations, including KMUW, KPR and KCUR, in Wichita, Lawrence and Kansas City.

https://www.kmuw.org/post/kansas-hospitals-wont-say-how-full-theyre-getting-coronavirus-patients

Community Support

Here’s a WOW for today: We have received 3,515 homemade fabric face masks, with 415 of those coming in yesterday. This tremendous outpouring of support by our community has helped us provide masks to patients, families and team members. Thank you!

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

A special thank you to the communities that Stormont Vail serves and to all Kansans who have stayed at home to help us flatten the curve of this pandemic. The Kansas projections have flattened dramatically due in part to these efforts. That has helped us and other health care organizations manage the level of the patients we are providing care for during this time.

We together,
Robert, Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Community Partners,

We continue on an uncharted path of a world pandemic, now in our backyard.

  • We are communicating daily with our team members and with our communities about our preparations to care for our patients, particularly those impacted by COVID-19.
  • We are sharing a scorecard as a daily snapshot of our hospital resources and supplies, our COVID-19 patient census and testing statistics, our clinic volumes related to potential COVID-19 patients and our telehealth efforts to maintain connections between providers and patients.

Our organization has had a long-standing belief that we are honored to be entrusted with the care of our patients and our community. COVID-19 does not change that belief. Trust is a powerful word. We do not take it lightly. The trust shared with our community is why we have chosen to be extremely transparent in our communications – to email and to post a community message each day on our website: https://www.stormontvail.org/covid19/

In addition to the daily posting, there is also an archive of all of the previous reports. We have also been meeting with our media partners weekly to provide updates and answer questions.

We are making every effort to let you know about changes, even when they are difficult decisions. We have listened to our team members and to our community, and have utilized ideas and suggestions to help us care for our communities. We are proud of what we have accomplished together.

Our organization has made major changes in the past few weeks:

  • Increased COVID-19 testing capacity and soon in-house testing;
  • Dedicated COVID-19 testing location;
  • Urgent care center devoted to respiratory illnesses;
  • More than doubled our intensive care rooms;
  • Workforce plan that ensures Stormont Vail team members remain employed;
  • Team members shifting work responsibilities to new roles where patients need them most;
  • Secured supplies for the protection of our team members and patients in a market that has experienced severe shortages;
  • Expanded telehealth initiatives to keep providers and patients connected.

Every day has brought new and unexpected challenges. Just as many others are, we are waiting for science to help us determine our next steps. Dealing with a pandemic is new to all of us. Through it all, we are thankful for the individuals, organizations and partners who are supporting our team members and our communities. Your trust in us is appreciated. Thank you.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Stay Safe: Watch These Videos
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard: English | Español

Stay Safe: Watch These Videos

Stormont Vail is providing information about safe mask use and safe glove use. Please check out these two videos:

Safe Mask Use: https://vimeo.com/407262995/1b2b2516d3

Safe Glove Use: https://vimeo.com/407263426/a326e0427c

Community Support

What an amazing community we live in! We have received 3,100 homemade fabric masks – with 473 of them coming in yesterday. That’s incredible and so appreciated. We continue to provide these to patients, families and team members so they have access to a mask or face covering when they are in a Stormont Vail facility – or anywhere in public. For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

Together we can meet the needs of our community.

We Together,
Robert, Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Community Partners,

During this pandemic we have made some changes in how care is provided to protect both our team members and patients and to support the stay at home efforts. In some cases, it may be a different location of where to receive the care, such as a physical therapy appointment or imaging service. In others, the care may be provided through a telehealth visit with a provider – either a virtual visit or a telephone call.

We continue to provide emergency care for the conditions that can’t wait or be managed by telehealth, things like heart attack, stroke, and other acute illnesses.  We also continue to enjoy welcoming newborns into the world. For those in the midst of a treatment plan, such as physical therapy or cancer treatment, we remain dedicated to seeing you through your journey uninterrupted. ExpressCare locations remain open to conveniently assist with your urgent needs.

Someday, soon hopefully, we will resume non-urgent elective services.  Our team is beginning to plan ways to provide these services safely without fear of spreading the virus.  We will partner with public health officials and area providers to determine when the time is right.

For now, please continue the routine of social distancing and hand hygiene.  Stay at home, avoid groups of more than 10, keep a distance of at least 6-feet away from others, wear masks in public settings, and wash your hands. These precautions have had a huge impact in limiting the spread of the virus and flattening the curve.  Thank you!

Here are today’s updates:

  • Telehealth Update
  • Kudo Board Gives Kudos
  • Headlights for Heroes
  • Topeka Lodging for Health Care
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard English | Spanish

Telehealth Update

Last week we provided nearly 4,300 telehealth visits to our patients. This is an amazing team effort to maintain the connection between our providers and our patients. Of those telehealth visits, 43% were conducted using Doxy.me, 43% were through telephone encounters, 13% were through video visits and 1% was through E-visits. We now have 208 providers in 23 clinical areas utilizing telehealth.

Kudo Board Gives Kudos

Want to know how much you are appreciated? Check out the Kudo Board where our community is sharing thanks and encouragement for all that team members are doing. https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

Here’s a recent post:

“Thanks to all for your dedication and devotion to humankind during these dark times. You all make the world a better place.”

Headlights for Heroes

A drive-by parade to show support for our team members will be at 6:15 p.m. tonight. They will drive around the perimeter of the hospital and also gather in a nearby parking lot to pray for everyone at Stormont Vail who is helping to care for our patients. Thank you to our community for showing us this support.

Topeka Lodging for Health Care

Effective immediately, Parrish hotels will provide lodging at the Ramada Downtown Hotel and Convention Center to health care providers and staff who are not able to go home or who have long commutes. This will be provided without charge as needed during the month of April and possibly beyond if circumstances warrant. The hotel team is standing by ready to help at (785) 234-5400. Thank you Jim Parrish, what a tremendous showing of community support.

Community Support

The community continues to support us through the donation of handmade masks and other items. We received 468 donated handmade masks over the weekend, bringing the total donation of masks to 2,627. We continue to accept fabric masks to ensure each team members, patient and visitor has access to a mask or face covering.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

Thank you for supporting our patients, team members and communities.

We together,

Dear Community Partners,

Yesterday I was struck by the editorial written by David Brooks and published in the New York Times. Preparing for the peak while delivering healthcare during this time of pandemic has sharpened and narrowed our focus. This composition expands our view to include elements of suffering and impacts which may have been out of our focus.

Dear Friends,

Last week I asked you to tell me about your mental health — how you are faring in this hard time. I don’t know what I expected; maybe some jaunty stories about families pulling together in a crisis. What you sent gutted me. There have been over 5,000 replies so far, and while many people are hanging in there, there is also a river of woe running through the world — a significant portion of our friends and neighbors are in agony.

A college student in State College, Pa., wrote that at first the lockdown seemed like a lark — a chance to get out of certain obligations. But “now almost a month into staying here, I’ve been gripped by a deep depression. My appetite is very low. I’m sleeping far too much to feel as lethargic as I do.

“My future, which seemed so bright a few months ago as I anticipated graduating in May, now seems bleak and hopeless: How will I find a job with the economy tanking? How will I pay hundreds of dollars per month when my loan bills kick in during August?”

A college junior from Vienna, Va., is going through the same thing. His career hopes now seem dashed. “I’ve spent days crying alone and feeling helpless as I’ve been stuck at my parent’s house and I find myself difficult to be around even as I don’t want to be.”

Senior citizens are especially hard hit, particularly the widows and widowers. For many, it’s the painful sense of missing their grandkids, the precarity of living with a disease that could kill them at any time. For others, it’s the wrenching loneliness.

“The combination of isolation and stress is having compounded impact. I am 65, and a single woman with no nearby family. My surviving sibling lives several hours away. Six months ago, my older brother died (I am the youngest). My neighbors are not very friendly, and not once has anyone asked if I needed anything. … I cry a lot, which is my new norm. … So to sum it up, I’m feeling totally alone in this crisis and hopeless.”

A woman from Fresno wrote, “I am normally a very positive person, outgoing, happy, energetic. Definitely a glass half-full. However, lately I cannot get through a day without tears, often sobs. I am terrified for myself and my family and everyone in the world. All the things I love to do, I’m now afraid to do. …

“The anxiety is also very challenging. I have not been able to eat much. I have experienced anorexia previously during times of stress — divorce, death, etc. I’ve lost 8.5 pounds in the past month. That might not sound like much, but I’m tiny and it’s 8 percent of my body weight.”

Then there are those already suffering with mental health issues. People with anxiety disorders wrote in to say that they were paralyzed by the possibility that they hadn’t washed their hands well enough, that they hadn’t disinfected enough and that they would cause their own death.

“I’m struggling. I returned to my family’s home earliest this year,” one woman explained. “I’ve placed myself back at the center of a highly dysfunctional household — generations of trauma, sexual abuse, alcoholism, depression and anxiety.”

Another person wrote that there was no way to distract yourself from your unhappiness now. Indeed, you are hogtied to your unhappiness.

One reader said this pandemic was causing “invisible stress” — a pervasive, ever-shifting, hard-to-define anxiety. Many people are experiencing shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, exhaustion.

One man from Placitas, N.M., said he used to have five things he wanted to accomplish in a day, but now it’s down to two — maybe baking bread or planting a small garden. A woman from Pennsylvania said the anxiety leaves her mentally drained, more irritable, unable to focus. “I think of it like having a few large apps on my phone that are running and draining the battery, even when I’m not using them,” she said.

Some people are active for days, frantically cleaning the house, and then one day they just shut down and cry. A person from Denver is worn down by being so suspicious of others and asked, “Why am I suddenly afraid of the mail carrier or the food delivery?”

There’s a heroism in the vulnerability you display in these letters, a courageous willingness to share your fears. You can read several more of them here, and you’ll see that spiritual growth pulses through the paragraphs. An atheist wrote that he prays daily, though he doesn’t know to whom. Many people are reading Viktor Frankl. “I am looking at this as a type of monastic retreat. I am hoping that we come out of this crisis as a nation with a renewed sense of perspective, a new sense of our dependence on each other.”

I’m reminded that this is a time to practice aggressive friendship with each other — to be the one who seeks out the lonely and the troubled. It’s also true that character is formed in times like this. People see deeper into themselves, bravely learn what their pain is teaching them, and become wiser and softer as a result.

So much respect,

David

This holiday weekend

Set aside time to reflect:

Vibrancy of renewal

Joy of together

Meaning of community.

Seek out the lonely and fearful.

Find ways to support and befriend.

Discover your better character.

Let’s together. Become.

Wiser and more understanding.

We’re here for you.

STAY AT HOME.

For all of us,

Together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • Testing Capacity Expanding
  • Flowers of Appreciation
  • Community Support
  • Kudos Board
  • COVID-19 Scorecard in english | spanish

Testing Capacity Expands
We have had a rapid expansion of our testing capacity for COVID-19 since the virus was detected in our region. We have received our in-house testing system and hope to be operational soon. This will expand our capacity, with an initial goal of 150 tests a day.

A look at where we have come over the past month:

March 6: KDHE Laboratory can perform the testing for COVID-19 under strict guidelines:  Fever and lower respiratory symptoms and travel history to certain locations, or close contact with COVID-19 positive person. Tests had to be approved through KDHE.

March 10: The first two COVID-19 tests from Stormont Vail were approved by KDHE Epidemiology to be sent to the state lab.

Late-March: Began utilization of reference labs as they were approved to do COVID-19 testing. Stormont Vail sent first tests to LabCorp March 25, Quest Laboratories March 27, Mayo Medical Laboratories March 30, and Viracor-Eurofins March 31. Because of volume of testing and limited options, some results took 7 to 14 days.

Early April: Continued expansion of reference labs being utilized, including MAWD Pathology April 9.  Turnaround time improved to ranges of 1 day to 11 days.Under the guidance of the Shawnee County Health Department, we expanded testing criteria to allow more community members the ability to be tested.

-We continuously monitor turnaround times and our process. Tests are sent to different labs depending on acuity of patient’s symptoms and physician’s direction.

-Stormont is testing over 100 individuals a day primarily through our Cotton O’Neil Express Care COVID-19 Testing Center (920 S.W. Washburn Ave.) and Acute Respiratory Clinic (4505 N.W. Fielding Road). We also test Emergency Department and hospitalized patients.

-Stormont Vail is using the “Call Before You Go” process for patients experiencing symptoms or having potential exposure to COVID-19. They should call (785) 354-6000 and they will be evaluated by a member of our clinical team.

Flowers of Appreciation
It’s going to be tulip time in the Main Entrance Lobby, thanks to the First United Methodist Church. The church ordered 100 potted tulips and will use them for their online Easter service Sunday. They are donating the tulips to Stormont Vail, with delivery Monday. Team members may take one home on a first come-first serve basis. Thank you to the First United Methodist Church for brightening our world.

Community Support
The community continues to support us through the donation of handmade masks and other items. We received 427 donated handmade masks Thursday, bringing the total donation of masks to 2,159.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

Kudos Board
We had a suggestion from a team member to offer a “kudos board” for the community to post messages to Stormont. This is now available on our “We Together” web page and we already have some nice messages from our community. https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/4C1GQFrm

Thank you to our team members for all of your hard work, and thank you to our community for the outpouring of support for our team. We are together.

We together,
Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

We see the creativity and sincerity of our communities through the ways they support and appreciate your vital work during this pandemic.

I was particularly warmed to see photos of colorful chalk messages on the sidewalks outside of our Lebo clinic. “Thanks for taking such good care of our community!” “Our heroes wear scrubs.” “#leboproud” We love those sentiments and have shared the photos on our Stormont Vail Facebook page.

Last evening in Topeka, a group of community members organized a “Headlights for Hope” event and drove the perimeter of Stormont Vail with their lights flashing and pausing for prayers. The tribute is shared in this video: https://vimeo.com/405878747/8ac4a97596

We are coming together in unique ways when we all need it the most. We are here to care for our communities. We are grateful they have been so responsive in sharing their caring moments with us.

Here are today’s updates:
• Daily Check-ins
• Stormont Stories
• Community Support
COVID-19 Scorecard English / Español​

Daily Check-ins
Our team members are asked to check in with a manager each day of work and to let them know how they are doing. We are all in this together. Share information about how you are feeling – both physically and emotionally. Conduct a self-check: If you are experiencing any signs of illness or if you have a temperature 100 or above, do not report to work and call your leader.

Stormont Stories
The Stormont Vail family is pulling together like never before, says Jackie Koch, Charge Nurse, in her blog on Stormont Stories. “Team members are learning new skills so we can care for all the patients who need our help. Programs and initiatives that usually take months to roll out are being implemented in weeks….When we get through this, and we will get through this, there will be nothing that we cannot do together,” Jackie writes.
You can see Stormont Stories at https://www.stormontvail.org/stormontstories/

Community Support
The community continues to support us through the donation of handmade masks and other items. We received 307 donated handmade masks Wednesday. We continue to accept fabric masks to ensure each team member, patient and visitor has access to a mask or face covering.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

We together,

Rob Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Our communication plan during the pandemic crisis includes these daily emails, which are shared amongst our team and with a large group of partners across our community. Additionally, I meet with representatives from the media on Wednesdays with the purpose of sharing our preparations and status. These are recorded and available on SVnet.

Today I was asked, “What does the new normal look like?” As we emerge from the current state I see a few facets of what might be our new normal:

• Testing for COVID-19 will be widely available with quick turnaround times. This will facilitate the resumption of services we now classify as elective.
• Ultimately the development of an effective vaccine will allow us to return to a more normal state.
• Telehealth will remain an important means to service our patients.
• We will return to many of our traditions and customs of socializing.

The most recent projections from the various models used to estimate the number of hospitalizations, ICU beds and ventilators required and deaths show a significant decrease in all factors. Some of this improvement is most certainly from all the efforts you and our community have made to maintain social distancing and stay at home. The models are updated regularly and may change again, but for now showed marked improvement. We will still face challenges in the coming weeks, but they appear less formidable and we have the resources to respond.

Here are today’s updates:
• Temperature Checks
• Face Masks and Personal Protective Equipment
• Stormont Stories
• Dress Code Relaxed for Clinical Staff
• Community Support
COVID-19 Scorecard English​ / COVID-19 Scorecard Español​

Temperature Checks
All Stormont Vail team members are required to check their temperatures twice a day and record the values in a self-maintained log. This action is recommended by the Shawnee County Health Department. Team members who do not have their own thermometer can go through temperature checkpoints at public entrances to Stormont Vail buildings. As a reminder for the safety of our team, if you are running a temperature of 100 degrees or more you SHOULD NOT report to work and call into your leader.

Face Masks and Personal Protective Equipment
We are requiring that all team members, patients and visitors have a face mask or some type of cloth covering their face upon entering our buildings. This can be a bandana or scarf if a face mask is not available. This is based on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation. Please also remember to maintain 6-feet of separation from other people.

In addition, we have a plan and Standard Work for managing our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure sufficient supplies to see us through this crisis. This entails appropriate allocation of PPE to team members in face-to-face patient situations, and any additional utilization to be prudently managed by a designated manager in each department.

Stormont Stories
In a Stormont Stories blog post three team members share that there is compassion in every step they take during their shifts on 6 North. “Those steps and those small moments are what bring us together as a team,” writes Melanie Miller, RN. Melanie collaborated on the blog “Together We Are Family” with Sarah Llamas, PCT, and Samm Glenn, RN.

-Marcy L. Scott, LSCSW, Behavioral Health Intervention Team, tells us in her blog that she feels blessed to come to work each day to support her community during this crisis. Marcy shares tips for dealing with anxiety: be proactive, take short breaths throughout the day, connect with others and practice accepting your emotions.
You can see Stormont Stories at https://www.stormontvail.org/stormontstories/

Dress Code Relaxed for Clinical Staff
During our relaxed dress code for April, clinical team members may wear fun scrub tops and organization appropriate T-shirts with their scrub bottoms.

Community Support
We are very appreciative of the community donating 118 handmade masks Tuesday. We still have needs to fill and continue to accept fabric masks.

-A big thank you to the Washburn University bookstore for donating 250 paper bags with handles that we will use for storing our N95 masks.

For more information about donations or offers of assistance go to https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or contact our manager of community management at (785) 270-4096.

Our team members and organization feel a great sense of gratitude to the community for the support we are receiving. Individuals, community groups, churches, elected officials and more are helping in these efforts. This is a time for us to stay positive and to stay together. That’s how we’ll make it through – together.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

We communicated today to our team members that we each must be accountable and responsible for the personal protective equipment we are using for patient care. This is extremely important at this stage of the COVID-19 crisis. We must manage our supplies now to carry us through the next few weeks when we will see an increasing number of patients with COVID-19. We need these supplies to care for our communities.

Team members should follow criteria that has been provided concerning the type of PPE they need to be wearing to protect themselves and others in specific care situations. They have been provided guidelines, a team that is providing PPE guidance in critical care and medical-surgical areas, as well as the daily scorecard (provided with this daily communication) to see which supplies are in the red, yellow and green zones and do their part to conserve all of it. Our Scarce Resource Allocation Team is tracking usage and supplies on a daily basis.

PPE is a vital resource in this crisis. Each of us must do our part. We want to make sure we have PPE available for our team members as they care for our patients. We each must do our part consistently, every day, and now.

Here are today’s additional updates:

  • Stormont Stories
  • Team Members Who Are Ill
  • Listen to the Music
  • Study for COVID-19 Treatment
  • Fabric Mask Care
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard

Stormont Stories
Do you have a story to share about how you or your co-workers are supporting the team in the face of the pandemic? It’s about care and caring not only for those we serve, but for one another. Check out our first story from Barb Columbus, Manager of Telehealth, about why she is Stormont proud: https://www.stormontvail.org/stormontstories/

Listen to the Music
As a way to share some love and good tunes, we started our musical moment for team members today. Every day at noon we will play an uplifting song through the hospital intercom system. “Rise Up” by Andra Day was today’s musical interlude. Our future playlist combines Elvis, MC Hammer, Michael Bolton and the cast of High School Musical. Feel free to sing along or break into dance.

Study for COVID-19 Treatment
Stormont Vail is part of a Mayo Clinic clinical research protocol that explores investigational treatment for COVID-19 using convalescent plasma collected from individuals who recovered from COVID-19.  Two Stormont Vail Health patients were registered on Monday, April 6. The eligibility criteria includes: at least age 18, lab confirmed COVID-19, severe or life-threatening COVID-19 or judged to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.  We will begin supporting a donor referral program over the upcoming weeks.

Fabric Mask Care
Thank you to everyone who has provided your own facemask or facemasks for team members.  We will continue to distribute handmade masks as they become available.  Please add laundering your fabric facemask to your regular hygiene routine.

Community Support
To date, the community has donated more than 1,300 cloth masks to Stormont Vail. This is much appreciated. All patients, visitors and team members must now wear a mask when at Stormont Vail locations based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that all people wear a mask in public. Guidelines for how to donate masks is on the website below.

We have a web page that provides details about donations and offers of assistance at https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or you can contact our manager of community management at (785) 270-4096.

Our community is coming together to lift each other up and overcome obstacles at the same time we are physically staying apart for social distancing. Cody Foster, a Stormont Vail Board member and co-founder of Advisors Excel and owner and founder of AIM Strategies, shared this observation in an opinion piece. Cody’s article supporting our team during this crisis is attached.

We also appreciate Mayor Michelle De La Isla’s mention of our team’s efforts in her Facebook post and the importance of supporting each other in our community. Her message can be found on her Facebook page, Michelle for Topeka.

We together,

Dr. K

Dear Community Partners,

Tuesday marks the first day we are requiring all team members, visitors and patients to wear a facemask at Stormont Vail locations. You are encouraged to also wear a mask when in public as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A scarf or bandana can substitute for a facemask. The virus can be spread by people who may be unaware they have COVID-19. A face covering lessens the likelihood that they will unknowingly infect others. This is to protect all of us.

At Stormont Vail, our team members, visitors and patients are asked to wear a homemade fabric mask, bandana, scarf or other breathable face covering from the time you walk from your vehicle to your appointment or work area, and through the entire time in our facility. Team members who work in an area that requires them to utilize personal protective equipment (PPE) for patient facing duties, will change to PPE, then return to their other mask when not using PPE.

The donated fabric masks we have received are currently in short supply, but through the generosity of the community we hope to have more in coming days. Your facemask is yours to launder and take care of appropriately.

For our team members, their role within the organization determines what type of mask and personal protective equipment (PPE) they will wear.

  • These practices are consistent with guidelines issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Team members who fall in the “face to face with patient” definition will be provided Stormont Vail appropriate PPE each day.
  • All other team members, visitors and patients should wear a simple homemade or store-bought mask, bandana or scarf. Team members, patients and visitors are encouraged to bring their own mask. If supplies are available, Stormont Vail will provide a handmade fabric mas
  • Patients with respiratory symptoms will continue to use a mask to protect those in proximity.

Here are today’s additional updates:

  • Dress Code Exception
  • Expansion of Intensive Care Areas
  • Testing Capacity Broadens
  • Sounds of Music to Begin
  • Community Support
  • COVID-19 Scorecard

Dress Code Exception

Beginning Tuesday, we will have a relaxed dress code for all team members for the remainder of April. This was approved today by Incident Command as a way of saying “thank you” for all of the hard work that team members are putting in.

Team members reporting to work may wear a professional top with blue jeans if department-specific requirements allow. All tops and jeans should be free of rips, holes and tears while still upholding Stormont Vail's tradition of professionalism and excellence. We hope this exception will allow for easy laundering and comfort while at work.

Expansion of Intensive Care Areas

We have converted regular patient rooms into additional intensive care rooms.  We will have another 16 rooms available within the coming week, bringing our total ICU room count for COVID-19 positive patients to 64 rooms.

Expanded Capacity for Testing

We have expanded capacity to test for COVID-19 and have broadened our criteria for those who are appropriate for testing. Individuals with fever or respiratory symptoms, or potential exposure should follow the “Call Before You Go” process and call (785) 354-6000 for evaluation. We are providing testing through our Acute Respiratory Clinic, COVID-19 Testing Drive-through, Emergency Department and in the Hospital.

Sounds of Music to Begin

Hearing music - and making a few spontaneous dance moves - is a great stress reliever. Beginning Tuesday, we will play an uplifting song at noon on the overhead system in the hospital. The idea for music and “dance breaks” comes from team member Erica Parker, MSN, RN, Performance Excellence Specialist. Erica says: “As I was getting ready for work, I found myself dancing to the music playing. I was thinking how it helps set the mood for my family so that we all start the day with a positive vibe and are ready to tackle the hurdles we may encounter.” Thank you, Erica, for your suggestion.

Community Support

Our community support continues in so many thoughtful ways. We had 486 cloth masks donated over the weekend. These are being used by patients, visitors and staff. Thank you! Guidelines for how to donate masks is on the website below.

A giant thank you to Koss Construction for the donation of 400 N95 masks, and to the many other individuals and organizations providing donations or offers of assistance. We have a web page that provides donor details at https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or you can contact our manager of community management at (785) 270-4096.

We together,

Dear Community Partners,

We are receiving wonderful support from our community partners and affiliates who have made tremendous offers to help us manage and provide vital care to patients during this tumultuous time. Some are businesses and organizations with whom we have worked side by side for many years. Others are new acquaintances who have joined with us in this time of need. They support the Stormont Vail mission of serving our communities.

The pledges of support, partnership and encouragement take the definition of team to a higher level – to that of a true community team. Thank you to those who have generously stepped up to support us and to be sensitive to the challenges we face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For community members who would like to provide donations or offers of assistance, we have created a web page that provides details at https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/ or you can contact our manager of community management at (785) 270-4096.

We are working through statistical models to predict the surge of COVID-19 patients in our service area and the resources required to provide them care. This work has been in coordination with a group convened by Kansas Department of Health and Environment. As we further refine the models, we will share the predictions of patient numbers and required resources. Our response to meet these needs will stretch our organization to new levels of teamwork and performance.

Here are today’s updates:

COVID-19 Scorecard

Updated Face Mask Requirements

-Everyone should wear a mask (all visitors to the hospital/clinics and team members) effective Tuesday, April 7. If you have a mask available Monday, you can begin wearing then!

-Team members who fall in the “face to face” definition will be provided Stormont Vail appropriate PPE each day. Updated PPE Recommendations and Extended Use Documents are on SVnet.

-All other team members, visitors and patients should wear a simple facemask. If supplies are available, Stormont Vail will provide a handmade fabric mask.

-Patients with respiratory symptoms will continue to use a mask to protect those in proximity.

Donation of Homemade Face Masks

We received a donation of 267 homemade cloth facemasks on Thursday. We developed Standard Work for donation offers, mask delivery, laundering and distribution. Updated Standard Work is available on SVnet.  Further information on how to make a mask is located at https://www.stormontvail.org/wetogether/

Donated masks may be dropped off at a collection bin inside the Main Entrance of the hospital from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Donor information forms are available at the drop off location.

Behavioral Health Support Line

 

A call line to provide support to health care workers in the region has been developed by the Stormont Vail Behavioral Health team. This is a professional assistance line for those who need someone to reach out to during the crisis.

Family and Friends Virtual Visiting Tips

Tips and Tricks sheets are available for visitors who wish to connect with their family or friends during their hospital stay.  A limited number of SVH iPads are also available for patient use.

Individually and together, we make a difference. Stay at home. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Cover your cough. Wearing a mask in public seems to protect those in proximity to the mask wearer. We will all begin wearing masks at Stormont Vail locations.

Thank you for all you do. We journey without a map, staying closely connected remains vitally important. Flexing into new roles, supporting in different ways, adapting to constant change will see us through this crisis to our new normal.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Our teamwork and ingenuity is strengthening our ability to provide healthcare to our communities. An excellent example of this teamwork is our rapid deployment of our telehealth infrastructure.

All our clinics are now engaged in some type of telehealth. This means providers continue a vital connection with our patients through video visits and telephone visits using a variety of tools. In the past two weeks, the Information Systems team has deployed 60 telehealth workstations, and we have 340 providers set up with Doxy.me accounts, one of the tools we are using. During the first three days of this week, we completed 1,726 telehealth visits, and our volume is increasing each day.

Clinics that have some of the highest telehealth numbers so far include Family/Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Behavioral Health, Cardiology, Neurology and Bariatrics.

To witness our team embracing this change for a safe and efficient care delivery is amazing.  We have been able to deploy this with team members identified through the Labor Pool and through clinic nursing staff training and mobilizing super users in every clinic. Providers have stepped up to make adjustments in workflows and to take us to a new level of care. There are many hands helping.

We are managing and planning for our future. We are doing it the Stormont Vail way - with a team effort.


Here are some additional updates:

COVID-19 Scorecard

Today we begin sharing our COVID-19 Scorecard that provides a snapshot of our readiness. The scorecard has three sections:

-Hospital Resources: Medical and intensive care beds in use, negative airflow rooms in use, ventilators in use; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) status

-COVID-19 Hospital Volumes/Testing:  COVID-19 Inpatient census, SVH COVID-19 positive test results, COVID-19 tests administered to date; COVID-19 tests per day, average test results turnaround

-Clinic Volumes: Visits to COVID-19 testing clinic, respiratory care clinic, telehealth visits (video and telephone); calls to “Call Before You Go” Hotline

Virtual Visiting

To assist patients who may want to virtually visit with family members or friends during their hospital stay, we have added Skype Personal and Zoom apps to Stormont Vail iPads within the hospital. iPads with these apps are those currently used in departments for translation purposes or access to MyChart Bedside.

Spanish Version of Communications

The Stormont Vail website, stormontvail.org, has a Spanish version of the COVID-19 communications at https://www.stormontvail.org/covid19/

Just click on the “Espanol” button on the top right portion of the page.

Community Support

-Donations and offers of assistance to Stormont Vail may be coordinated with our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

-Many individuals and organizations have stepped forward to help this community cause, including a donation of 488 handled bags from Sam’s Club, and personal protective equipment from Harbor Freight. Thank you for these generous donations.

Your individual and collective efforts are making a difference for our patients and our communities.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Each day I am inspired by our team members and how we are rising to the challenges of this pandemic. Our teamwork is having an impact on one another and our communities. Teamwork, staying connected, supporting each other magnifies our contributions to our communities' welfare.

An example of this is a perspective from Dr. Aileen McCarthy, an internal medicine and palliative medicine physician and member of our Board of Directors. Dr. McCarthy graciously agreed to let me share her observations:

“We have the greatest nursing staff and they are on the front lines of all this. Our Magnet designation is a true differentiator, and our nursing staff throughout the organization are rising to this challenge with their amazing skill, empathy and can-do attitudes. All of the telehealth initiatives start with staff willing to jump in and learn new work flows, and educate patients on how to use these visits. We providers just click a button once it is all set up and ready to go.

“I had the privilege to work with an isolated patient on 7 South to have a very difficult goals of care discussion. We used the virtual nurse set up to complete this. Though it was uncomfortable to not be able to be at the bedside, this was far better than what other systems have had to do with having these conversations on the phone to a patient's room."

Thank you, Dr. McCarthy, for sharing your observations.

Updates for today:

Status of Positive COVID-19 Testing

Total COVID-19 Positive Inpatients Wednesday: 7

New COVID-19 Positive Tests Tuesday: 2

Total COVID-19 Positive Tests Since March 23: 21

By the Numbers (Represent Previous Day)

Visits to Cotton O'Neil Express COVID-19 Testing Center: 23

Visits to Cotton O'Neil Express Respiratory Clinic: 85

Cotton O'Neil Telehealth Visits Completed: 473 (Telephone-351, Video-122)

Number of Calls to SVH “Call Before You Go": 155

Visitor Policy Updates

Effective Friday, April 3, Stormont Vail will allow visitors that meet the following criteria:

- Birthplace/MFM: Mother and Baby = 1 Patient = 1 Visitor

- Breastfeeding clinic: Mother and Baby = 1 Patient = 1 Visitor

- NICU - 1 Visitor (ONLY the Mother or Father)

- Pediatric (17 and younger) = 1 Guardian

- Operating Room Waiting Room = 1 Visitor

- Family for patients receiving End-of-Life, Language Services or with extenuating circumstances must be approved by Department Director.

-No visitors younger than age 18 are allowed.

-Visitors over 65 and those with heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes are highly discouraged from visiting the hospital or accompanying a patient to a clinic.

New Mask Requirement

Effective Friday, April 3, all visitors to the hospital and all clinic patients/visitors are required to wear a mask. Homemade fabric facemasks will be provided, if available.

Donating Homemade Masks

We have launched a page on stormontvail.org that provides information to the community on how to make a fabric facemask to donate and how to donate.

LINK: www.stormontvail.org/wetogether

Team Member Benefits

There is no good time to announce a Workforce Plan as our organization did Tuesday. We apologize that some of our team members learned of the changes through outside sources, and not directly from Stormont Vail Health. We are striving to maintain our workforce and provide each team member a paycheck.

Thank you all for your professionalism and dedication to our mission, especially during this time of crisis. We are adapting to a dramatic change, implementing new ways to care for our community while we prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients requiring care in the hospital.

The surge will test our capacity, both from a space and resource perspective, but also test the capacity of our teamwork, our togetherness. Some will need to step into roles performed previously or perhaps for the first time. Others will need to be temporarily supporting from the sideline. All of us together will be challenged, but I am confident we will rise to meet the challenge.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

 

Dear Community Partners,

While the pandemic threatens the health and lives of those in our communities, it is also greatly disrupting our organization’s financial foundation. This juxtaposition is an ongoing challenge for all of us.

Our goal is to preserve our team. When sacrifice is required, we have vowed to share it equitably. Team Stormont Vail has been inspiring, exhibiting a remarkable flexibility and adaptation.

We have developed a workforce plan that makes every effort to provide a paycheck for all team members. This plan is effective April 5. We will review it every 30 days, knowing that the impact of the pandemic will be continuing for many months.

We need clinical team members to continue to step up during the anticipated influx of COVID-19 positive patients, as well as care for all other patient needs. We are preparing, training and investing in individuals who move to these areas of critical need. We have developed a Labor Pool to direct team members to those positions and may temporarily reassign team members to other critical roles.

The workforce policy overview is below.

  1. Implementation of system-wide Crisis Compensation rates:
  • Protects and preserves the team members who are in essential face to face patient care roles working in acute care and ambulatory settings. They will have no salary change.
  • All other team members will take a decrease in base pay rate:

-CEO – 35%

-Senior Vice President – 25%

-Vice President– 20%

-Administrative Director/Director – 15%

-All staff continuing to work onsite in non-patient facing roles or at home – 10%

-Team members on no work requirement administrative leave – 50%.

  • No team member’s base rate will drop below the Wellpower Wage of $12.45 per hour.
  • Physicians and Advanced Practice Clinicians will experience comparable decreases in compensation.
  1. Labor Pool assignments may be available for team members who have no work requirement or are on Low Work Activity.
  2. PTO and EIB will only accrue on hours worked. If a team member severs employment, then PTO will be paid at 50% at termination.

The plan ensures that all team members still have income even if they don’t have a work requirement.

Thank you all for your individual contributions and the work we do together. The challenges we face are unprecedented and our course unchartered. We are all experiencing a mix of pride, professional commitment, fear, anxiety and uncertainty. I am continuously inspired by your care for each other, our communities and our patients. We will rise to this challenge together.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

 

Today’s updates at Stormont Vail:

Status of Positive COVID-19 Testing

New COVID-19 Positive Tests Monday: 6

Total COVID-19 Positive Tests Since March 23: 19

Total COVID-19 Positive Inpatients Tuesday: 5

 

By the Numbers (Represent Previous Day)

Visits to Cotton O’Neil Express COVID-19 Testing Center: 19

Visits to Cotton O’Neil Express Respiratory Clinic: 122

Cotton O’Neil Telehealth Visits Completed: 529 (Telephone-386, Video-121, Doxy.me-13, Evisits-9)

Number of Calls to SVH “Call Before You Go”: 240

Dear Community Partners,

I am in awe of all the teamwork I have seen in recent weeks to position our organization to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are working as a team to amass needed supplies and equipment, we are setting up new ways to deliver care, we are caring for each other, and now caring for those suffering from COVID-19. I am deeply grateful for all of your individual contributions and for the work we do together.

Today’s updates at Stormont Vail:

Status of Positive COVID-19 Testing

New COVID-19 Positive Tests Since Friday through Sunday: 5

Total COVID-19 Positive Tests Since March 23: 13

Total COVID-19 Positive Inpatients as of 4 p.m. Monday: 5

By the Numbers - All Represent Prior Day Unless Noted:

Visits to Cotton O’Neil Express COVID-19 Testing Center: 10

Visits to Cotton O’Neil Express Respiratory Clinic: 38

Number of Calls to SVH “Call Before You Go”: 28

Cotton O’Neil Telehealth Visits Completed Friday: 353 (Telephone-260 and Video-93 Visits)

Additional Negative Pressure Rooms

-We are working to convert an additional 16 rooms on 7-South to be Negative Pressure Rooms. These will be in addition to 47 other negative pressure rooms we have for suspected or positive COVID-19 patients.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

-We have a physician now assigned to support team members in the hospital with appropriate use of PPE.

-We continue fit testing for our limited supply of N95s and are working to secure more. We have a prioritization list of individuals in high need areas who are getting fit tested at this time.

Spanish Translation

Our COVID-19 communications are now available in Spanish on SVnet for team members. We will soon provide this in Spanish on our external website, stormontvail.org.

RQI Machines

Wipes are available to sanitize RQI machines after each use. Team members should not use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when using the RQI machines.

EPIC Indicator for COVID-19 Positive

-A positive COVID-19 test result displays an infection of COVID-19 in the patient storyboard in EPIC. This is in all clinical storyboards (Inpatient, Ambulatory, Pharmacy, etc.)

-Additional changes Monday provide two different statuses that may appear for a patient: COVID-19 Rule Out (means testing has been done, but results are not complete) or COVID-19 Confirmed (test was positive).

Community Support

-We continue to feel tremendous support from our communities through messages and donations. An example of this generosity was the donation of 250 bags for PPE storage from Cashmere Popcorn. Thank you.

-Donations and offers of assistance to Stormont Vail may be coordinated with our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096.

Over the next few weeks it remains critical for all of us to adhere to the statewide “stay at home” mandate. Help Kansas flatten the curve. Stay home. Practice social distancing. In a neighborly Kansas way, remind those around you to do the same. Together, we will limit the impact and weather that which does occur.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Community Partners,

Generosity is a kindness that has great meaning in these days of uncertainty. Our community is a true example of generosity as you’ll learn in today’s communication. We thank you as an organization and individually. We are truly working together for the health of our communities.

Today’s updates at Stormont Vail:

Status of Positive COVID-19 Testing

New COVID-19 Positive Tests Since 4 p.m. Thursday: Ambulatory – 3; Inpatient - 1

 

By the Numbers - All Represent Prior Day:

Volume of Visits to Cotton O’Neil Express COVID-19 Testing Center: 26

Visits to Cotton O’Neil Express Respiratory Clinic: 109

Number of Calls to SVH “Call Before You Go”: 227

Cotton O’Neil Telehealth Visits Completed: 178 (Telephone-127 and Video-51 Visits)

 

Celebrating Community

A big thank you to John Dicus and Capitol Federal for generously donating personal protection equipment to our clinical team. The donation included 1,107 N95 masks and 1,700 hand sanitizer spray bottles. Thank you!

To utilize our current limited supply of N95s, the PPE team has developed a prioritization list of those in highest need areas and will be scheduling fit testing as soon as possible.

 

Community Response

Our community is coming together in a big way. Our manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096 is coordinating donations and offers of assistance to Stormont Vail. We are accepting homemade fabric face masks.

 

Ways to Help

While we fully endorse the “stay at home” order, the United Way of Topeka notes there is a need for volunteers to help provide food assistance in the community. A list of volunteer needs is at www.topekavolunteers.org.

 

Chaplain Clarification

The Spiritual Care Department will provide in-person visits to patients, family members and team members, but also can provide visits via telephone or video, if technology is available in the patient room. Spiritual Care can be reached through Vocera in the hospital, or through Health Connections.

 

Spanish Translation

We will soon provide this communication in Spanish. The Spanish version will be available beginning next week on stormontvail.org.

At this time, we have to be together. We are so humbled and appreciative of all that our team members and communities are doing to support our efforts.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Team,

Life has changed for all of us – and in just a few short weeks. We must limit person to person interactions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Please act responsibly and follow the “stay at home” order.

Today’s updates at Stormont Vail:

Status of Positive COVID-19 Testing

New COVID-19 Positive Tests Today: Ambulatory – 2; Inpatient - 0

By the Numbers - All Represent Prior Day:

Volume of Visits to Cotton O’Neil Express COVID-19 Testing Center: 37

Visits to Cotton O’Neil Express Respiratory Clinic: 33

Number of Calls to SVH “Call Before You Go”: 200

Cotton O’Neil Telehealth Visits Completed: 77 (Telephone-47 and Video-30 Visits)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

-A PPE protocol is being implemented to protect our team members and patients. The allocation for each area will be determined by the Scarce Resources Allocation Committee. It is imperative we conserve our PPE.

-Safety teams are rounding to ensure staff receive education for donning and doffing PPE, and answering questions.

-N95 masks are on order. A plan is being developed to do fit testing which will be immediately conducted upon receipt of the masks.

Clergy Available by Telephone

-Stormont Vail spiritual care team members are available by telephone for patient and team member needs. Inpatient rounds have been discontinued. Please call the Spiritual Care Department through Vocera in the hospital. Outside of the hospital, call Health Connections to have a chaplain paged 24/7.

Community Response

Our healthcare efforts are being supported through many kind offers. Groups interested in offering PPE supplies or donations should contact the manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096. Stormont Vail is now accepting homemade fabric face masks.

Our world is going to see many changes in the coming days and weeks. While some in our community are staying home to help “flatten the curve” with social distancing, our team members are stepping up to provide the best in care during challenging times. Thank you to our team. Together we can do this.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Community Partners,

Today we received two positive test results for patients of Stormont Vail Health. Both are residents of Shawnee County.

The team at Stormont Vail followed all safety precautions and guidelines set forth by the Centers Disease Control and Prevention as well as local and state health departments.

University of Kansas Health System-St. Francis Campus also received a positive COVID-19 test result today.

Preventing and delaying as many COVID-19 cases as possible is imperative. “Flattening the curve” of this pandemic will help to keep our health system from being overwhelmed. We fully support the recent “stay at home” orders implemented by Shawnee and Lyon counties.

This is our chance as a community to help ensure we are able to treat those who become sick without the conditions we are seeing in New York and elsewhere.

Clinic visits and hospital patient volumes have dramatically decreased. We are also now rescheduling all non-urgent clinic visits to support the “stay at home” initiative. This is our time to fully implement telemedicine. Delivery of care by virtual means will be crucial during the crisis and a significant part of our delivery model post-recovery.

A comprehensive workforce plan is being developed and will be communicated soon. We currently have a labor pool established where any available team members needing work can connect with our labor pool team to potentially pick up other hours or duties in areas where help is needed. An example of this is team members who are now screening visitors.

When we emerge from this crisis it is not going to be business as usual.  We will use this 30-day “stay at home” order to expand our new delivery and model of care for patients, such as the video visits and telephone visits we are setting up today. These tools are not a Band-Aid in a crisis. These new delivery tools are extremely important to us as a regional provider. This is our future.

Most importantly during this 30 days, each of us will responsibly follow the “stay at home” order – and stay home and social distance as much as possible. In contrast to hand washing and other personal health measures that we should already be doing, social distancing is not about one person. It is about all of us together working in unison, to make a difference through this public health intervention. This is a measure that will take a long time to see results, and each of us must do our part and stay at home.

In today’s communication, we also want to share a video from Mayor Michelle De La Isla to healthcare workers.

Lab Testing Update
-Stormont Vail provides COVID-19 testing. Individuals with COVID-19-like systems or potential exposure should the “Call Before You Go” process and call (785) 354-6000 for evaluation.

-Stormont is averaging 200 calls daily to “Call Before You Go” and seeing 60 individuals at our testing center at 920 S.W. Washburn.

-Stormont is now utilizing two private labs for testing: LabCorp and Quest. Within the two weeks, we anticipate having testing available within our Stormont Vail Lab allowing for same day results.

Telehealth Efforts
-We are making progress. Physicians began telephone visits Wednesday. These are billable encounters when necessary documentation components are complete. Telephone visits can be used when a face-to-face visit is not needed or desired, or when video visits are not yet available.

-Thus far, we have done 53 video visits through Epic’s My Chart in 14 clinical locations.-It is imperative providers get involved in telehealth processes. To get set up, please contact your physician leader.

Notification about Team Member Potential Exposure
Infection Prevention and Control works with Employee Health to track any team member potential exposure. We track from when the point of isolation started and go backwards to see who may have been exposed when the patient was not in isolation, asking unit managers/directors to help find out which team members were involved. Employee Health will notify team members with appropriate guidance.

Personal Protective Equipment
-We have created the Allocation of Scarce Resources Committee, which is a sub-committee of Incident Command. This committee will be tasked with reviewing the supply and equipment levels daily and making recommendations to Incident Command on how it is distributed. The first area this committee will review is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

-Team members must use PPE appropriately. It is imperative we conserve our PPE stock. We are actively seeking additional supplies.

-Community groups interested in offering PPE supplies or donations should contact the manager of community engagement at (785) 270-4096. Fabric face masks are not needed at this time.

By the Numbers
-Negative Pressure Rooms Status – We have 47 negative pressure rooms to be used by suspected or positive COVID-19 patients.

-Ventilators – We have 42 ventilators that are COVID-19 patient appropriate, some of these are transport vents.-PAPRs – We have 53 PAPRs.

-Intensive Care beds – 42 / Medical-Surgical beds – 234

Food Service in Physician Lounge
The food service for the Physician Lounge has temporarily been discontinued for breakfast and lunch. There will still be frozen meals available in the Physician Lounge for physicians. “Grab and go” meals are available for physicians in the Sunflower Terrace Cafeteria. The cafeteria hours are 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Stay at Home Order
The “stay at home” order for Shawnee County goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Team members have been provided a letter that can be used if you are traveling to a Stormont Vail work location. You will also need your employee badge.

There are many questions about the “stay at home” order. Here is one from one of our team members.

Q. I get picked up and dropped off daily by my husband; will he also be required to have some sort of letter of permission?

A. It is OK to print two copies of the letter and a copy of your badge so that your husband can use them if he encounters any issues.

Thank you to our team members and our community partners for all they are doing to help us care for our communities. In the days and weeks ahead, please do your part and follow the “stay at home” order. We will all be safer for it.

We together,

Dr. Kenagy, M.D.

Dear Community Partners,

Today, at approximately 2:30 p.m., we informed our team of our first patient with a positive test for COVID-19. We prepared for this patient and for this news. We know that in the coming days and weeks we will see more positive test results – and we are prepared to handle the care for those patients as well.

Our team knows patients have a right to expect confidentiality and protection of their health information. Our team members will comply with HIPAA and protect the privacy of all patients.

This is also a time to remind our staff and our community to make sure they are taking care of themselves. We are working from a stance of constant effort and vigilance. This enhanced performance takes a toll. We need to find time to be attentive to our own physical and emotional health.

Make sure to take time out of these hectic days to regenerate. This means letting the clarity of the mission fall away for a time, and taking a pause from the day’s headlines and pressures. That rebalancing will give us clearer vision for the challenges to come. It will drive our engagement and performance, and provide protection to our physical and mental health. We’re in this for the long haul so please be mindful to take care of yourself.

We also want to share some encouraging words the Stormont Vail team received from our friend ZDoggMD, Dr. Zubin Damania.

Today’s communication provides updates about initiatives underway at Stormont Vail:

Board Proclamation Supporting Staff

The Stormont Vail Board of Directors issued a resolution Tuesday morning recognizing and appreciating team members, providers and volunteers for working together to ensure an efficient and comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The proclamation is attached.

Acute Respiratory Clinic Opens Wednesday

An acute respiratory clinic will open Wednesday, March 25, at the North Fielding Express Care clinic location. Patients who have respiratory symptoms and fever that need clinical evaluation will be sent to this clinic via the Call Before You Go process in order to limit the exposure of staff and well patients to those with respiratory illness.

Continue to direct patients to Call Before You Go (785) 354-6000 for evaluation of symptoms and appropriate routing to the testing site at 920 Washburn, the respiratory clinic at North Fielding, or to receive home care instructions.

The North Fielding Express Care will be devoted entirely to respiratory patients. Regular urgent care patients and imaging ordered for North Fielding will be directed to other Express Care locations.

Telemedicine Push

As of Tuesday, we have set up six clinics locations with 11 workstations that have video visit capabilities. Since starting last week, our providers have done 41 video visits. These clinics include: Rheumatology, Family Practice-901, Internal Medicine-901, Family Practice-North Fielding, Dermatology, and Oncology.

These are video visits through Epic’s My Chart. We continue to roll out additional clinics with this telehealth solution.

In addition, we are evaluating and trialing another telehealth platform – Doxy.me - to use in the short-term to meet demands. This is not currently ready for providers to use because a billing workflow has not been approved for this solution.

Our long-term strategy remains to have one solution for telemedicine. This is the start of our new future.

Appropriate Use of PPE

Team members should always use Personal Protective Equipment when appropriate per current organizational guidance. We have limited supplies of PPE so inappropriate use means there is one less for when we need it.

Acute Care Operations

We completed eight additional negative pressure flow rooms on 7 South, which brings us to 44. Negative pressure flow rooms are currently utilized in the care of patients with suspected or positive COVID-19.

Hospital Visitor Policy

Please note that we are continually updating our visitor policy to reflect the latest guidelines provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. As KDHE adds additional communities or states to the screening criteria, we will also update.

Our current visitor guidelines include:

  1. No VISITORS younger than age 18.
  2. No VISITOR allowed if a patient is being tested for COVID-19
  3. Birthplace: Mother and Baby = 1 Patient = 1 visitor
  4. Breastfeeding clinic: Mother and Baby = 1Patient =1 Visitor
  5. NICU - One visitor (Can ONLY be the Mother or Father)
  6. Waiting Rooms/Area:
    1. Closed
    2. (Visitor needing to step out of room during sensitive procedure may utilize waiting room while maintaining social distancing)
  7. For Surgical Services:
    1. There will be no visitors in Operating Room, and Cath Lab recovery areas.  One Visitor is allowed to wait in Waiting Room.

PAPR Video Available on SV You Tube Channel

In addition to having our educational video on PAPRs available on SVnet, we providing the video on the Stormont Vail You Tube channel to provide quick access to staff.

Team Member Self Screening

All team members need to self-monitor for fever or respiratory symptoms. If you are experiencing this, do not report to work and call Employee Health (785) 354-5151 and your supervisor.

Supply Chain

Please make sure that all purchases for supplies are going through the normal acquisition process.

Together we are managing this crisis and will come through as a stronger and more resilient organization and community. Together we are a team of individuals who collectively care for our patients and families like no other. I am so proud to be a part of this team.

Thank you.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

As we journey through this crisis it is easy to become worried and anxious. I remember mentioning this quote at our recent All Employee Meetings from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the World Health Organization:

This is a time for facts, not fear.

This is a time for rationality, not rumors.

This is a time for solidarity, not stigma.“

We need to stay focused on science and facts. We need to stay close in our communication. We will take care of our patients and our communities and our team, as these are our guiding principles.

Today’s communication details the latest efforts:

Personal Protection Equipment Team

We are developing a PPE safety team who will support frontline staff with donning and doffing of equipment to ensure it is done safely. We will be assigning this team to critical care units, Emergency Department, 7 South and an Express Care Clinic where we are developing an acute respiratory clinic. The PPE team will be staffed by qualified individuals from the Labor Pool.

Acute Respiratory Clinic

An Acute Respiratory Clinic will be set up at an Express Care location. It is expected to be open Wednesday for patients who follow the “call before you go” protocol. The clinic will centralize care for patients with acute respiratory illnesses, to treat them away from primary care offices and other Express Care locations.

Travel Permission Letter

A letter was sent out earlier today by email to all team members to provide the necessary information you will need for stay-at-home orders. To date, these have been issued in Kansas City metro area and Douglas and Leavenworth counties. The orders go into effect Tuesday, March 24, to at least April 23. This letter needs to be accompanied by the team member’s Stormont Vail issued identification badge. Leadership should ensure that all team members at or working from home receive this letter.

Potential Postponement on Capital

All current capital expenses and projects are being reviewed by Incident Command to determine if they can be postponed during this time of economic disruption.

Additional Telemedicine Push

Our team continued Monday launching the video visit platform so providers can give care to patients remotely. We are viewing this as a long-term strategy to help us better serve our communities. Additionally, we will start Wednesday with telephone appointments with providers.

Blood Drive Update

We are unable to do an on-site blood drive with the Community Blood Center as they have cancelled all outreach drives at this time. There is a shortage of blood and plasma supplies. Blood can still be donated at Community Blood Center locations where social distancing requirements are maintained. All donors need to make an appointment and that can be done by emailing Melissa Boohar with the CBC at mboohar@cbckc.org

COVID-19 Information

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has created an educational flier that provides a chart comparing the symptoms of COVID-19, cold, flu and allergies. We have posted this information on our internal and external web sites, and additionally are attaching it to today’s communication.

A pre-screening tool for COVID-19 has been added to our external website, stormontvail.org. The screening tool walks the person through travel questions, contacts and symptoms.

As we move through this unparalleled time, it is heartwarming to witness how our team and our community has come together. I have heard numerous stories about how individuals, community groups and businesses are supporting our team and each other. Each of those efforts is noteworthy. Thank you.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

We are in the midst of a very challenging time. The clinical response to COVID-19 is complex and fraught with fear and uncertainty. We are in the midst of severe economic disruption. Our responses to date have been guided by our overriding aim to treat and protect our patients and communities, and protect and support our team. Together we have made tremendous progress as well as many tough decisions.

As we make decisions with regard to the financial health of the organization, our principle is that when sacrifice is required, it will be equitably shared. Our goal is to preserve our team. All of us, together.

Today we are entering a pause in hiring new team members and adding new positions. This will allow us to better preserve our existing team. Our work activity across many areas is drastically decreased because of impact from the pandemic. We have instituted a labor pool through which team members may be assigned to alternate work areas thereby avoiding low work activity (LWA). Many have been given authorization to work from home. All of us must remain productive in the work we are assigned.

Our business model is dramatically changing. We now have a clinical imperative to provide as much service as possible to patients in their homes electronically. One major commercial payer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, has stepped up to this need and will reimburse us equivalent to face to face services. The rules have changed in a beneficial way for Medicare as well.

Our pioneers who have taken us to the next level in virtual care include Dr. Edward Letourneau, Dr. Susan Bryan, Dr. Melissa Herrman, Barb Columbus, Manager of Telehealth, Austin Jackson, Director of Strategy and Business Development, and our Information Systems team.

On Friday, we had our first video visits in Rheumatology through the implementation of a virtual clinic platform. This went extremely well and the virtual system will continue to be rolled out to additional primary and specialty areas. Twenty-two clinical sites are in the first phase to be completed by April 3.

Telemedicine will become a significant portion of our business during the crisis and for the duration. All clinicians need to embrace this model as it will remain an important part of our delivery model.

As this crisis has developed, we have increased our communication even in the face of social distancing. Staying engaged with each other is vitally important, now more than ever. Early on we made the decision to proceed with the Team Member and Provider Engagement Survey as a means to measure our success in staying engaged. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

Additional items for today’s communication:

Acute Respiratory Clinic

An Acute Respiratory Clinic will be set up at the one of the Express Care locations. The clinic will centralize care for patients with acute respiratory illnesses, to treat them away from primary care offices and other Express Care locations. Details on criteria and how to refer patients will be communicated Monday. Patients with chronic lung conditions should continue to be managed by pulmonary providers.

Public Hospital Entrances

Effective Saturday, March 21, there will only be two public entrances into the hospital – the Main Entrance and Emergency Department. The South Tower entrance will be employee access only.

It is a privilege to journey through these challenging times with you. I am confident our team is ready for the challenges and opportunities that we have before us. Thank you for all that you are doing, your individual contributions and all the work we’re accomplishing together.

We together,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

We have many tough decisions and our guide is the protection of the health of our communities and our team members. We are developing new processes and pathways to ensure access to health services so that we can continue to meet the needs of our patients.

We play a vital role in our community and our region. Today’s communication will describe some of the ways Stormont Vail is leveraging our technology and culture to prepare us for this pandemic.

Utilization of Technology for Provider Access

We have been utilizing telehealth in some practice settings already across the system and are now ramping up to provide greater access to both primary and specialty care areas. Virtual visits will begin in some provider areas next week and then continue to roll out to additional areas. In addition, we are expanding our virtual system in our hospital to provide virtual visits by providers in rooms designated for potential COVID-19 patients.

Acute Care Upgrades

We have completed eight additional negative pressure rooms in the South Tower to care for potential COVID-19 patients. Eight more will be completed by next week.

Visitor Screening Criteria

We have standardized our screening criteria for visitors to match the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) quarantine mandate. This guideline has been changing as COVID-19 advances and we will regularly update our criteria to be consistent. A Standard Process has been developed that provides an algorithm for staff to follow when screening.

Testing Protocols

We continue to provide the COVID-19 drive-through testing location at 920 S.W. Washburn. This is for patients in our service area who have followed the appropriate triage protocol and have a referral by their provider to receive testing.

All staff should continue to encourage patients with COVID-19-like symptoms to call before they go – (785) 354-6000 – and they will be triaged and get next steps.

Laboratory Supply Conservation Strategies

Supplies that are related to COVID-19 testing are becoming scarce. As a result we’ve developed conservation strategies:

  • Restricting respiratory viral panel tests to only those patients who are requiring hospitalization.
  • Implementing an algorithm for COVID-19 testing for low acuity patients and high acuity patients. (See attached)

Promoting Blood Donations

The 190th Air Refueling Group based at Forbes Field has offered to assist us during this time. They will be organizing a blood drive for Stormont Vail Health team members to donate blood in conjunction with our blood supplier, Community Blood Center. All blood donated will then be credited to patients at Stormont Vail.

Sunflower Terrace Cafeteria and Food Connection

Seating will no longer be available in the dining areas of food service operations at the hospital. This change is to comply with the Shawnee County Health Department’s mandate.

We all are anxious and have many questions. It’s important to take this a day at a time and be flexible and adaptive as the situation changes. We are a great team and the strength of our connections will carry us through this crisis. Thank you again for all of your individual contributions and for the great work we are doing together.

Thank you,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

As we move through these unprecedented times facing a world pandemic, our team at Stormont Vail Health is doing everything possible to care for each other and our communities.

We are one team. It’s all hands on deck as we prepare and adapt to the fluid and ever-changing environment that coronavirus and COVID-19 has created. We must come together as the staff and individuals who make up our health care system and communities to prepare for this pandemic. Our team must be ready and willing to fill in where needed. We are partners in this endeavor.

I want to thank people for supporting and advocating for Medicaid expansion in Kansas. It is unfortunate that we are not able to rely upon Medicaid expansion as we had anticipated and during our recovery out of this crisis.

Here are today’s updates from the Incident Command team:

 Surgical Services and Procedure Changes

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect to our staff, patients and visitors, we are taking steps to mitigate the spread of illness in our community in our Surgical and Procedural areas. A new policy changing operational processes will go into effect Monday, March 23 and will be in place for two weeks. It will be reviewed prior to the two-week end date.

This policy impacts services provided in the Main Operating Room, Single Day Surgery, ExcellENT Surgery, Digestive Health Center, Cardiac Cath Lab, Hospital Endoscopy/Bronchoscopy and Interventional Radiology. The changes are based on recommendations of the American College of Surgeons and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Only emergent surgical and procedural cases that are an emergency or are high acuity, such as for cancer or highly symptomatic patients, will be conducted. All elective surgeries and procedures will be cancelled and rescheduled at a later date.

All cases will be consolidated to the Main OR, Single Day Surgery and ExcellENT Surgery sites will be temporarily closed.

Stormont Vail is committed to staff members and providing them with the best work opportunities to fit their circumstances. Utilizing the Labor Pool Policy, impacted team members will be re-assigned to other work locations to help us maintain a sustainable workforce. More details are being developed and will be communicated with all team members.

Patients will be contacted by their physician’s office or surgery scheduler.

COVID-19 Temporary Pandemic Policy

A new policy that sets out employment expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic has been developed for health care workers, which includes Stormont Vail employees, medical staff, volunteers, students, contractors and vendors. The policy provides expectations for workers to protect themselves to prevent the spread of the illness. It also addresses the process for high-risk employees and temporary work options.

The policy also:

-Provides guidelines for stay-at-home quarantine requirements for those employees who have had exposure to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic or symptomatic. Compensation support for quarantined employees specific to COVID-19 is also detailed.

-Provides information about attendance policy modification and the procedure employees must follow for notifications to a supervisor of COVID-19 absences from work and required return to work screenings. The policy is effective Wednesday, March 18.

Acute Care Preparations

Our acute care area has many initiatives underway to prepare for any COVID-19 patients from our communities. This includes specific needs for COVID-19 patients, such as negative pressure rooms and ventilators. Here’s a recap of where we are:

 -Negative Pressure Rooms Status - Currently have 28 negative pressure rooms throughout the hospital.

We are adding 16 rooms on 7 South, with completion of all by next week that will bring us to 44.

We are working to get equipment to convert another 10 rooms in the MICU.

-Ventilator Status - We have 35 ventilators that are deemed COVID-19 patient appropriate and some of those are transport vents. We are working to lease additional ventilators.

CDC Updates COVID-19 Screening Criteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the screening criteria for COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 18.

 Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing

We have set up a drive-through COVID-19 testing site at 920 S.W. Washburn Ave. Only patients who have been screened first to determine if they are appropriate to be sent for additional screening can be seen at this location.

Patients with COVID-19-like symptoms are required to call Stormont Vail before they go – (785) 354-6000 – and they will be triaged and get next steps.

-Patients going to the drive-through must follow the process and meet the criteria for testing. We want to be as responsible as possible with our supplies.

-We are working through how we can best help our communities and counties we serve with this screening process.

Visitor Policy Clarifications

A new stricter Visitor Policy was released Tuesday, March 17, and we are working to get all staffing and signage in place to communicate that to visitors.

-Beginning Tuesday, March 17, we have three entrances available for visitors to enter the hospital – Main Entrance, South Tower and Emergency Department.

-Effective Saturday, March 21, there will only be two public entrances into the hospital – the Main Entrance and Emergency Department. The South Tower entrance will become employee access only.

-A Standard Work is being developed for the Emergency Department, Main and South Towers and Clinics.

-We are working to implement the ability to take temperatures of all visitors at entrances.

-The new policy states that there is one visitor per patient at a time in most inpatient, outpatient and clinic areas.

-The South Tower entrance will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to provide access to those coming to the Surgery area.

Food Service Changes

The Sunflower Terrace Cafeteria has made these changes in the retail service area:

-All self-service food areas – salad bar, specialty area, soup, deli and physician’s lounge - have been converted to “grab-and-go” items. This includes packaged salads, packaged sandwiches, and packaged reheat meals only.

-In cafeteria seating and service areas, we will use social distancing. Patrons can use the Catertrax grill ordering at www.svh.misofi.net or phone in ordering at Ext. 26914 to preorder items. The service will include “grab-and-go” items as stated above, entrée’/specialty bar are being served by staff and grill items. In Expresso seating area, patrons are asked to follow social distancing.

-All catering will be cancelled until May 15, 2020.

MyChart Changes

-The self-appointment function in MyChart is being shut off so that patients will call and can be screened.

Thank you for supporting the Stormont Vail team. Each of our team members is incredibly important to our organization and our community as we work to prepare for the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. We are also extremely grateful for our partners in the community. Together we can do it.

Thank you,

Rob Kenagy, MD

Dear Community Partners,

Stormont Vail Health’s Incident Command approved a number of policies and procedures today to address the special circumstances and potential risk that coronavirus and COVID-19 brings to our region. While none of us wants to be facing the circumstances we currently have before us, we are working to protect our staff, patients, visitors and communities.

The Incident Command team is now overseeing Stormont Vail Health’s daily operations and preparations in relation to the pandemic.

A number of the new policies and processes being communicated today involve staff procedures in a COVID-19 environment and changed processes for interactions with external groups.

Visitor Policy

A revised Visitor Policy will implement new visitation requirements, effective Wednesday, March 18, and until further notice. As an overview, the policy:

-Highly discourages any visitors over the age of 65 and those individuals with heart disease, lung disease or diabetes from visiting the hospital or accompanying a patient at one of our clinic or ambulatory locations.

-Requires any visitor to a Stormont Vail facility to check-in and be screened for symptoms and travel history per Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

-Restricts access to the Topeka hospital for visitors to three entrances. They are the Main Entrance at the North Tower, the South Tower, and the Emergency Department. The Surgery Parking Lot Entrance and the Outpatient Entrance at the south end of the building will no longer be open to the public.

-Places restrictions on the number of screened visitors per patient in all hospital departments, Emergency Department, clinics and ambulatory areas. Visitation hours for the hospital are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For the majority of these areas, the limit is one visitor per patient. (See Policy for detail.) Social distancing (maintaining a distance of 6 feet from other people) is encouraged. In Surgery and Cath Lab areas, there are no visitors allowed in recovery areas.

-There are exceptions to the restrictions for end-of-life patients, pediatric patients and patients needing language services.

-Any visitor that meets the criteria will not be allowed to enter the facility. If a visitor is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they will be triaged based on our COVID-19 process. The person will be asked to return to their car or home and “call before they go” to start that triage process.

The Visitor Policy is approved Tuesday, March 17.

Labor Pool Policy

A new Emergency Events and Labor Pool Activation Policy provides guidance during unexpected events or emergent situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy outlines processes for the organization to follow to maintain sufficient staffing levels to ensure continuation of patient care, treatment and services during emergencies. The policy outlines the process of activating a Labor Pool, how it will be operated, and needs assessed.

A Temporary Work from Home Procedure has been activated.  With this process,  leadership can consider moving employees to a home work environment in the event of an emergent situation as approved by the respective vice president or senior vice president.

The policy is effective Tuesday, March 17 and it has been activated.

Personal Protective Equipment

We continue to monitor and control the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) usage as we have seen an increase in use. Our utmost goal is to protect our providers and caregivers and to do this we need appropriate PPE. We are working diligently to get additional supplies through our community and government partnerships.

New Employee Orientation

We will continue to have new employee orientation, but will begin spacing those in attendance to maintain social distance. Hiring of new team members is critical to ensure we have appropriate resources to meet patient needs.

Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy

Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy has limited lobby space and will not allow customers to remain greater than 6 feet apart from each other. To keep the community and patients safe, we have decided to close our lobby and offer full service through the drive-through.  This will allow our patients to remain in their own personal space while continuing to receive our complete pharmacy services. We ask for your patience during this time, and will make every effort to ensure your wait time in the drive-through is minimal.

Please feel free to call ahead to check on prescription completion, cost, pick-up time, etc. to facilitate efficiency with this new process. Our phone number is 785-235-8796.  Currently due to delivery demand we are experiencing delayed deliveries up to 48 hours.

Additional Operations Changes

-Visits from Catholic Eucharistic ministers have been discontinued in the hospital until further notice.

-Changes in the Sunflower Terrace Cafeteria, physician’s lounge and Food Connections are being developed, with more “grab-and-go” meal options. In the cafeteria, there will be more space between seating areas.

Community Classes and Events

All Stormont Vail public events and screenings, including HealthWise programs, are being cancelled or postponed. All in-person HealthWise services will be discontinued. Changes include:

  • HealthWise Exercise Classes Canceled and to resume May 19.
  • Child Birth Classes will be done virtually through May 19.
  • March 18 - WATCHMAN Community Event - Canceled
  • March 20 – Manhattan Go Red for Women - Postponed
  • April 4 - Skin Cancer Screening Events - Canceled
  • April 13 – HealthWise Senior Supper – Canceled
  • April 16 – Health Care Decision Day – Canceled
  • April 19 – Just What the Dr. Ordered benefit concert - Canceled
  • April 23 – Celebration of Life – Canceled
  • May 1 – Sports Physical Day – Postponed
  • May 11 – HealthWise Senior Supper - Canceled

Vendor Restrictions

Effective immediately, vendor access to our facilities will be restricted unless a vendor is working on an active case, installation or repair. Restricted access will continue through May 15. We will provide updates prior to that time. All vendors must check-in through the RepTrax system.

Stormont Vail Health has a tremendous team across all of our clinics and hospital, and the staff is working to provide the best in care to our communities as we prepare for this situation.

Thank you,

Dr. Rob Kenagy

Stormont Vail Health has put an Incident Command structure into place to be prepared for the spread of novel coronavirus and COVID-19. The structure goes three people deep within each department to ensure we have 24-hour coverage. The Incident Command team is meeting twice a day to review policies and procedures to continue our preparedness and pivot as novel coronavirus and COVID-19 makes its way through our communities. All health system decisions and communications must be approved by incident Command, and staff is being asked to work with their leaders to push things up to Incident Command for approval. We will be sending out communications daily to ensure the latest information is disseminated to our patients, visitors and staff.

We know there are a lot of questions regarding staffing, the 14-day quarantine, visitors, etc. As the policies around these are developed we will communicate them out to you. Effective immediately, all events across the health system have been canceled through May 15. This is to prevent large gatherings of people and the spread of the virus. In addition, volunteers over the age of 65 will be asked to stay home and not come in for their shifts as they are at higher risk.

It is important that everyone practice social distancing for the next several weeks. Social distancing is staying at least six feet from other people when you have to be around them. All meetings are being conducted via Skype. If meetings are not necessary and we’re unable to do them via Skype, they will be rescheduled. This will include the organization’s daily Administration Huddle.

Starting Tuesday, March 17, patients who have followed the Call Before You Go algorithm and meet the criteria for testing, but do not need to be hospitalized, will be asked to go for drive-through testing at a  temporary Express Care location at 920 S.W. Washburn. This temporary Express Care Clinic will be the testing site for all non-urgent COVID-19-like symptoms. With this, we will be closing the Corporate View Express Care location as that staff will be at the new Washburn Avenue location.

Routine visits and elective procedures for patients 65 and older or with a history of heart disease, lung disease or diabetes will be postponed until at least May 15 absent a clinical urgency determined by the attending physician and patient. If a patient needs to be seen they may contact the office and we will make an effort to provide care virtually. In an effort to service our population, other patients outside of the defined risk may be contacted to schedule sooner.

Over the next several weeks we will be communicating a lot of information to our communities and our team members. Please take the time to review each email and all new policies and procedures. This is a very fluid situation and many of our policies can change quickly to meet the needs of our communities and ensure we are responding appropriately. If you have any questions, please let your contact at Stormont Vail know to get it to the Incident Command to be addressed.

I am extremely proud of all of the Stormont Vail team members for their flexibility and patience as we respond to this pandemic. Their ability to respond professionally and quickly will allow us to remain safe, provide high-quality care and keep our communities informed.

Thank you,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

As we continue to prepare for when coronavirus and COVID-19 come to our region, we want to ensure that we provide you with some important updates and policies at Stormont Vail Health.

  1. Business Travel – Effective immediately, there will be no non-essential business travel by Stormont Vail staff for the next 60 days. All current travel plans will need to be canceled. Operating Committee will approve all essential travel.
  2. Personal Travel – We are highly discouraging any travel by our staff to any of the countries currently on CDC’s level 3 warning list, which includes China, Iran, South Korea and Europe as well as hot spots throughout the United States where COVID-19 is currently found.
  3. Supplies – It is important that we be good stewards of our supplies, especially personal protective equipment (PPE) items such as gloves, gowns and masks. Our staff will use the policies and procedures in place to determine if PPE is required.
  4. Testing Criteria – Stormont Vail has adopted the testing criteria and guidelines from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
  5. Patient Privacy – Respecting the privacy of our patients is of utmost importance as we respond to this pandemic. It is important to remember all HIPAA policies and as we move through this pandemic.
  6. Construction – Over the next three weeks, construction will be taking place on 7 South in the South Patient Tower to adapt an additional 16 rooms into isolation rooms. Operating Committee made the decision to complete this construction to ensure that we are prepared if we see an influx of infectious patients.

It is a matter of time before this virus makes its way to us, staying updated with the facts of what is happening in our community and region is vital to our continued success. We will continue to provide updates each week to provide those facts.

Thank you,

Robert Kenagy, M.D.

The novel coronavirus and COVID-19 has made its way to Kansas with one confirmed case in Kansas. We are closely monitoring the situation and staying in communication with the Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. I want to reiterate that we are prepared when the virus comes to our region. Infection Prevention and Control and Patient Care Services will be providing a just in time training to patient care team members in both the hospital and clinic settings around standard precautions, donning and doffing of PPE and isolation and triage procedures.

We are meeting daily to stay updated on the situation as well as regular meetings with our COVID-19 Task Force that includes Supply Chain, Patient Care Services, Emergency Management, Infection Prevention and Control and more to ensure that we continue to prepare our teams. Concerning supplies, our health system is prepared with personal protective equipment. We will be placing updated signage in all of our public entrances to encourage patients to put a face mask on if they have COVID-19-like symptoms. The health and safety of our team members are of the highest priority to us as we move forward through this.

As this situation evolves, we will provide regular updates to our team members, stakeholders and community.

Since late January, Stormont Vail Health, Shawnee County Health Department, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and other community partners have been carefully following developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Emergency Management and Infection Prevention and Control teams have been working alongside the Stormont Vail Operating Committee to assess our anticipated needs and how we will respond when this virus comes to Kansas. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kansas, however with the disease’s prolonged incubation period of up to 14 days and ongoing travel within the U.S., we expect this to change within the next several weeks.

The KDHE Laboratory is now able to complete the testing for COVID-19. At this time, testing is limited to individuals with an illness consistent with COVID-19, specifically fever and lower respiratory symptoms, AND one of the following:

  • A history of travel from China, Korea, Japan, Italy or Iran within 14 days of onset of symptoms.
  • Close contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 with the onset of symptoms within 14 days of contact.
  • No source of exposure identified, but fever and severe acute lower respiratory illness (pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization and without an alternative explanatory diagnosis (such as influenza).

Tests for patients at low risk of exposure and who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 are not available at this time. Stormont Vail is following guidelines set by the CDC and KDHE to assess exposure risk and for appropriate management of movement restrictions or home quarantine. As momentum builds, it is important to remember that this virus will affect individuals differently. Patients who are positive for COVID-19 but able to manage their symptoms without medication may be asked to self-isolate in their homes.

We are asking that if you have symptoms of COVID-19, specifically a fever and lower respiratory illness, and are seeking medical attention that you call (785) 354-6000 before you go to one of our Cotton O’Neil clinics or the Stormont Vail Emergency Department. The staff will work with your Cotton O’Neil provider or an Infection Prevention and Control Specialist to assess the possibility of COVID-19 and provide you with instructions for evaluation and care.

The Infection Prevention and Control Specialists are available 24/7 to provide expert support to all Cotton O’Neil providers regarding presumptive diagnosis, testing, safety precautions and infection control requirements.

Attached is the Call Before You Go Process map, which is best practice to avoid the possible spread of sickness. In an effort to keep everyone as healthy as possible, this is how calls related to the novel coronavirus will be routed and triaged by Telecom, Cotton O’Neil clinics and Health Connections.

The Covid Health System Preparedness Plan is the process flow we will implement if a patient who may be infected with COVID-19 comes to Stormont Vail Hospital or one of our Cotton O’Neil Clinics. This process plan will ensure we can continue providing optimal care to everyone, including those who come to us with COVID-19 symptoms or diagnoses.

While there are reports and speculations about the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to reassure the Kansas communities served by Stormont Vail Health that we are prepared to care for you and your families in the event this virus enters the state. COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory virus that started in Wuhan, China, and now has spread to multiple countries including the United States.

We are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local and state health departments, our partners in emergency medical services and other agencies. We are ensuring we have ample supplies, dedicated staff and appropriate hospital treatment rooms and equipment to care for any patients with COVID-19.

We have created a protocol for the identification of patients potentially infected with COVID-19. Prior to entering the doors of our Topeka hospital or clinics throughout northeast Kansas, patients with COVID-19-like symptoms are asked to call first for a phone consult for us to gather specific patient health history and recent travel information. The number to call is 785-354-6000. If it is determined that the patient has potential COVID-19, a care plan will be developed for appropriate treatment in an isolated hospital room or quarantined area to prevent further exposure to others.

Our staff is working diligently to prepare for the potential arrival of COVID-19 in our communities. We have an interdisciplinary operations team that is responsible for creating protocols for screening and caring for patients in our ambulatory and hospital locations. The potential COVID-19 pandemic is a situation that is extremely fluid and can change at a moment’s notice. We pledge to be informative and transparent to our constituents as plans are changed and adapted to new developments. Please watch for future readiness updates.

How You Can Prepare for COVID-19

Team members of Stormont Vail Health have been preparing for the potential arrival of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in Kansas. We have formed several interdisciplinary committees working on operational and logistics plans, staff educational programs, communications efforts and incident reporting oversight. Our priority is the safety of our communities and our team members. Stormont Vail is working closely with community health partners, in-house experts and using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

You can also prepare in the event novel COVID-19 is identified in a community near you. Many of these suggested health tips also are appropriate for staying well during the regular cold and influenza season.

What precautions should you be taking?

Currently, there is no vaccination for COVID-19 and experts say virtually no one has immunity from this new virus. It is important that you practice regular personal health to protect you and your family from the spread of germs. Good prevention practices include:

  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then dispose of the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • If you are sick and must go out, try to keep a distance of 6 feet between you and others.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms reported by those who have tested positive for COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough

If you have traveled to an area that has been reported for known infections of the COVID-19 or have recently been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider if symptoms occur. It is important that you contact your provider with any of the reported symptoms before you arrive at a clinic or hospital. This ensures that precautions will be taken to examine you in the safest environment for everyone – you, other patients and health care staff. At Stormont Vail Health, we ask that you call 785-354-6000.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

Remember “call before you go.” Symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to that of influenza. Before you leave your home to go to your healthcare provider’s office or the hospital, Stormont Vail asks that you call for a phone screening. The number to call is 785-354-6000. The call will help us determine the most appropriate treatment for you and to determine whether you need further screening, treatment, hospitalization, isolation or quarantine.

What will Stormont Vail do if a patient is suspected of having COVID-19?

Stormont Vail has set up procedures to identify those at risk and to keep the patient and others safe. If indicated, patients may be isolated and samples collected and sent to CDC for testing or the closest approved testing facility. During this time, patients will receive supportive care as they would for other respiratory viral illnesses. As milestones are made in the availability of testing, team members and the community will be updated. We understand that communication is critical and the organization will provide regular updates on COVID-19 initiatives and community impact of the virus to both internal and external audiences.

HealthWise Exercise Classes Cancelled as of 3/17 - To resume 5/19
Child Birth Classes will be done virtually thru 5/19
3/18 - WATCHMAN Community Event - Cancelled
3/20 – Manhattan Go Red for Women - Postponed
4/4 - Skin Cancer Screening Events - Cancelled
4/13 – HealthWise Senior Supper – Cancelled
4/16 – Health Care Decision Day – Cancelled
4/19 – Just What the Dr. Ordered benefit concert - Cancelled
4/23 – Celebration of Life – Cancelled
5/1 – Sports Physical Day - Postponed
5/11 – Senior Supper - Cancelled