COVID19/Coronavirus Disease 2019: Find the latest updates and information here.

Coronavirus | COVID-19 News & Information

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Are you worried you might have the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Use this free tool to determine your risk of having the disease and what the next steps are.

While there are reports and speculations about the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (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. COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory disease that started in Wuhan, China, and now has spread to multiple countries including the United States.

We are following closely the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and working with 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.

Updates

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

How it spreads

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we ask that you contact us at (785) 354-6000 prior to coming to the Stormont Vail Emergency Department or any Cotton O’Neil clinic so that we can facilitate the safest care.

Prevention

There is currently 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 hygiene 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.

Infection

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

  • Stay home except to receive medical care. We ask that you call (785) 354-6000 and inform one of our operators that you have novel coronavirus-like symptoms, so we can more readily prepare to treat you.
  • Separate yourself from other people.
  • If available, wear a face mask.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
  • Monitor your symptoms and inform your doctor if your condition worsens.

COVID19 - Call Before You Go_Web_360x200

Questions and Answers

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses commonly infect humans and many animal species. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new strain that has not been identified before in humans. Common signs of COVID-19 include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing problems. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that affects both humans and animals. Rarely does an animal infected with the virus spread it to people. However, some forms including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to humans.

The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-toperson. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum, and some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while others are less so.

This novel coronavirus in particular seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in certain affected geographic areas (also known as “community spread”). Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Reported illness have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) always recommends everyday preventive actions to help slow the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wearing a face mask if you are displaying symptoms of illness.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water regularly.

The CDC has put together steps to help prevent the disease from spreading. If you believe you have COVID-19:

  • Stay home except to receive medical care. If you are seeking medical care at a Stormont Vail Health facility, we ask that you call before you go (785) 354-6000 and inform one of our operators that you have COVID-19-like symptoms, so we can more readily prepare to treat you.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • If available, wear a face mask.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
  • Monitor your symptoms and inform your doctor if your condition worsens.

Cancelled Events

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